Most Chinese characters consist of more than one component, i.e., 合體字[hé tǐ zì] compound characters. For example, the characters 柑([gān], mandarin orange) and 森([sēn], thick forest) are made up of two (i.e., 木 and 甘) and three (i.e., three 木) components respectively.

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Chinese characters can be analyzed into one or more components 部件[bù jiàn]. The simplest case is those characters of only one component, i.e., 獨體字[dú tǐ zì] simple characters. These early-formed characters were made to represent the syllable in speech directly using the outward appearance of the things that they stand for.

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Unlike English, Chinese characters are so-called square pictographs or ideographs. The following is shown as a comparative Chart of Chinese and English.

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