Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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Dialect Characters
(2,214 words)

In as far as the varieties of Chinese often referred to as “dialects” are written, two different systems are used: Chinese characters or an alphabetic system (Klöter 2005). This article only discusses the use of characters to write non-standard varieties of Chinese.

Every major Chinese dialect has a number of morphemes that for one reason or another (see below) cannot be written in a straightforward way using standard characters, and are therefore written with what we call “dialect characters” (fāngyánzì 方言字). In a narrow sense, dialect characters are Chinese characters th…

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Rujie YOU, “Dialect Characters”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 20 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_00000124>
First published online: 2015

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