The written form of Chinese is an area of profound difference between the East and West. There are twenty six letters used to write fluently in English, but Chinese uses over 5,000 distinct characters. Still, the same characters can be used to record languages that are as different from one another as French is from Spanish.
If the differences between Western languages and Chinese are not enough to pique your interest, then think about internal characteristics of the Chinese writing system. Characters written over 2,000 years ago can be read as if they were written yesterday; nevertheless, the shape of the characters has changed in certain places at various times, and today there are many different styles of writing that are still used. Chinese calligraphy is more than just a way of writing stylishly, it is also a form of high art. To say all this speaks nothing of the countries around the Middle Kingdom such as Japan and Korea, that adopted its writing system despite its seeming mismatch with their spoken languages.
If you are intrigued, choose on of the topics below to discover more about the written word of Chinese: