Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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Shuōwén jiězì 說文解字
(6,761 words)

The Shuōwén jiězì 說文解字 [Explaining the unit characters and analyzing the compound characters], often referred to for convenience simply as the Shuōwén, is a 1st-century-CE character dictionary, the chief purpose of which is to explain the graphic structure of individual characters. The explanations that it presents are based on a first-level analytical classificatory scheme that accounts in principle for the structure of the Chinese writing system as it was understood at that time. The dictionary was compiled by the…

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William G. BOLTZ, “Shuōwén jiězì 說文解字”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 24 January 2022 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_00000379>
First published online: 2015

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