How do Chinese characters work? Ive studied them for a while and it seems like there just random. Surely there must be more to them. They must have some kind of connection to each other. Ive heard all these terms like; classifier, radical, allograph etc. Im terrible at linguistic terminology.
Also, whats the difference between Classical and Vernacular Chinese?
Note to get around day to day Hong Kong/Taiwan and Macau (Chinese uses simpled text) you need to know 1500 characters, you can read a newspaper with this many. High school educated children will know 3000-5000. Highly educated types will know 10000 or so. And judging by how many aimed at adults how to write Chinese or you're confusing words in Chinese type programmes on TVB Chinese people are by no means experts too!.
I think the book fun which Chinese characters may help you here, as it explains things quite simply i.e. the origins of the word and also how to write them and context. This is down loadable if you search for it.
Essentially you get pictographs so the Chinese character looks like what is means.
Actually this is a bad example Horse is better 馬 turn your head round and it sort of looks like this
Next you have ideograms where the word represents an idea the simplest of these are numbers
1 = 一
Or for example Up and down
But then you can combine them into all sorts of meanings
木 tree 森 Forrest (i.e. three trees)
Classical Chinese was sort of a hodge podge of everything before this, before various forms of standardisation. Which was further enhanced by the communists. Since before the communists (and still so) there are so many different regional variations it was a big hodge podge.
Tbh I would compare it to like Hadiths in Islam where older texts are interpreted by modern scholars, as Muslims can read the Koran but find it difficult and confusing thus many turn to Hadiths (there is a funny one about the hand of the thief shall be marked, some people have interpreted this as chop off)