As a child starts to learn Chinese, it is often an amazing experience to see Chinese characters as a symbol of a beautiful picture. Interpreting characters stimulates the child’s imagination and allows him or her to experience a language different from any other in the world, with both its depth and simplicity. It is true that complete comprehension and full usage of Chinese is not an easy task, as many American students will attest. However, true mastery of the Chinese language lends a joy to the learner. The diligence and consistency provides him or her with a view of a dynamic world. In a way, Chinese, in its traditional, age-old form, is dynamic because one extra stroke to a character changes its entire meaning.
Chinese is an art, and as an art form, it is deeply rooted in the beauty of the world. The star is the birth of a sun (星); a tree within the confines of walls indicates the hardship of a struggle (困); dawn is the sun rising above the horizon (旦). These combinations of characters to create more complex characters are both a logical and creative way to describe the world. Writing a character in Chinese is similar to painting a portrait. In all the Romantic languages, the foundation is man-made, but Chinese reflects the true condition of the earth and nature. Learning the art of Chinese not only opens a door to a world of ancient culture and literature, but it is also a way to truly express the world and oneself through language.
This beautiful artwork, strong in both shape and meaning, can only be preserved in its original form—as traditional Chinese. Knowing these Chinese characters is a way to remember and experience the past five thousand years of Chinese history. This unique asset, a bountiful insight and mother lode of wisdom, lends to our civilization great potential for the future, if we but put it to good use.