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The Number of Chinese Characters
Beginner Level (What is it?)
Source: aboutchina.com
 

Number of characters

Dictionary

Period

Date

3,300

Cangjiepian, Yuanlipian, Boxuepian

Qin

221-206 BC

9,535

Shuowen jiezi

Eastern Han

100 AD

16,917

Yupian

Liang

543

26,149

Guangyun

Northern Song

1011

32,200

Hongwu zhengyun

Ming

1375

47,043

Kangxi zidian

Qing

1716

48,000

Zhonghua da cidian

ROC

1916

56,000

Xiandai Hanyu da zidian

PRC

1986-90

Although around 56,000 characters have been accumulated in Chinese, only a few thousand are needed to write Modern Chinese. A large part of the 56,000 characters (40 percent) are variants of a same character (yiti).


Number of characters

Coverage rate (per cent)

500

80

1,000

91

2,400

99

3,800

99.9

5,200

99.99

6,600

99.999

 

 
 
 
 
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