2019 Student Research Conference:
32nd Annual Student Research Conference

Evolution of Calligraphy Tools and Materials in China, and their Relationship to the Chinese Language


Michael J. Reeves
Gregory Richter and Dr. Liulin Zhang, Faculty Mentors

Historically, certain axial or key events promote changes in both written and spoken languages: written and spoken forms of language have a direct connection, and evolve somewhat  concurrently. (Change in the written language may lag after changes in spoken languages.) This was first promulgated by Ferdinand de Saussure in his Course in General Linguistics (Geneva, July 1915).
However, there is a class of languages that do not appear to have a direct connection between what is denoted by Saussure as the Signifier (spoken form) and the Signified (entity referred to).
Chinese is one such language whose orthography is based upon a lexicon of characters that have no apparent systematic phonological connection, and as a result, each character or word is unique. Chinese is even more complex because context, tone, and combinations of characters play roles in creating a completely new character with a completely different meaning (Signified) and sound (Signifier) association.
The poster will demonstrate how the Chinese characters have evolved from Neolithic times to the present, and what events forced these changes.

Keywords: Chinese, Linguistics, language, calligraphy, tools, materials


Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 1-1
Location: SUB GEO
Time: 3:00

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