Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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Telegraph Codes
(2,629 words)

Chinese telegraph codes (Zhōngwén diànmǎ 中文電碼) are symbolic languages used to render Chinese characters amenable to transmission within an international telegraphic network that, at its inception, permitted only the transmission of letters, numbers, and a highly limited number of symbols.

In April 1871, a telegraphic cable between Shànghǎi and Hong Kong was put into official operation, connecting the Qīng empire to the rapidly expanding international network (Baark 1997:82). Two decades earlier, individuals began to explore the possib…

Cite this page
Thomas S. MULLANEY, “Telegraph Codes”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 31 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_00000414>
First published online: 2015

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