Is There a Chinese Alphabet?

Day 4 Sunday July 30, 2017


There was no Chinese alphabet in the sense of an English alphabet until we put together a list of Chinese characters that visually resemble English letters. We then released both this “Chinese Alphabet” and other real Chinese phrases in iOS apps. Guess which one was more popular? My silly invention became something useful. Do you know why?


It turns out that many non-Chinese speakers who are intrigued by Chinese characters just want to learn a little bit of Chinese for fun in a few minutes, and do not want to spend years to actually acquire the full language. Most people just don’t have the will or time for that. There are many other important things in their lives.


Our Chinese Alphabet became an answer for this unmet need. Suppose you were to learn our Chinese alphabet: You can quickly remember 26 characters that visually resemble English letters and use them to write anything you want and it looks like Chinese and consists of 100% authentic and positive or neutral Chinese characters from day one. It works like a secret code that can puzzle untrained eyes.


Chinese character: 升
Chinese character: 月
Chinese character: 內
Chinese character: 戶
Chinese character: 升
Chinese character: 月
Chinese character: 日
Chinese character: 王
Chinese character: 大
From there, if you want, you can gradually learn additional characters that are related to the first 26 and expand your knowledge to 36 characters, and even to 100 and more. Each Chinese character has a “radical,” think of English building blocks like prefixes and suffixes, that gives you hints of what category and meaning it might have. We carefully choose characters and explained different radicals. As a result, you can get a good sense of thousands of Chinese characters in a short time.


Many Chinese language vigilantes rightly pointed out that “It’s nonsense. There is no Chinese alphabet!” I appreciate their comments and dedication to teaching people “real” Chinese, but there is a place and use for a fanciful Chinese alphabet. It makes access to Chinese fun and interesting.


The Chinese Alphabet is Called Hanphabet


Last week I came up with a new name: Hanphabet. Therefore, Chinese Alphabet is now called Hanphabet. It’s like an English alphabet, but Chinese. Chinese characters are called hanzi. Therefore, this Chinese alphabet is called Hanphabet.


Good Characters Announces the First Major Revision of Chinese Alphabet


In version 1.0 of Chinese Alphabet, we used 三 (Chinese character for 3) to represent E and 七 (Chinese character for 7) to represent T. Now, I want to remove Chinese numbers from the Hanpabet because we want you to learn Chinese numbers after starting Hanphabet without causing confusion. So E will now be 王 instead of 三; T, 大 instead of 七.


Other changes: B will now be 日 instead of 官; Q, 只 instead of 已; M, 而 instead of 冊.


Hanphabet, for Chinese you can read!


Fiction Ideas


Maybe someone can write a fiction novel where in the year 2030 China conquered the world and demanded that everyone write English “with Chinese characteristics.” Or, in an opposite scenario, in year 2037 America reluctantly absorbed China after ten San Francisco bound North Korean nuclear missiles flew the wrong way and destroyed Beijing. America added 50 more stars to the flag. Chinese Hanphabet then becomes the first step in helping Chinese write English.


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