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I know nothing about the Chinese language but, while we ate in a Chinese restaurant with lots of Chinese symbols around me, I asked myself if these symbols could be built up from elementary lines or forms (like our words are made up out of 26 letters). Is that the case?

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explanation in modern day research:

we use components (部件), to "build up" chinese characters; and there're 1316.

http://chardb.iis.sinica.edu.tw/system_intro.jsp

basically, we have 8 types of stroke (筆畫) to compose each component.

about the "structural relations and configuration regularity" of components, have a look of this page; in english and traditional chinese:

http://other.allad.com.tw/chinese2/teacher_e.php

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