ORIGIN OF SINOGRAMS
(History of the written language)
The oldest texts were engraved on the so-called ¨Jiaguwen¨ (甲骨文):which were turtle shells and ox bones used for osteomancy. These date from between 1500 and 950 B.C., during the Shang dynasty.
Chinese writing is composed of about 6,000 sinograms called Hanzi(汉字), of which only about 3,500 are commonly used. Each has one syllable by reading.
In 1949 the government of the People’s Republic of China adopted simplified Chinese sinograms (简体 Jianti) as the official writing system. This system replaced complex sinograms with simpler ones. Thus, writing with non-simplified sinograms is called traditional Chinese (繁体 Fanti), and is used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Malaysia, as well as in Chinese communities around the world.