How exact is Chinese writing? What I mean is – if the writing is (as I understand) in pictures, are they open to wide interpretation so that the meaning a piece of writing varies according to who is reading it?
You know, this really does expose the level of my ignorance about Chinese writing. I’m reading Analysing Prose by Richard A. Lanham, specifically the chapter on Parataxis and Hypotaxis, and in it the author quotes a school textbook: ‘Writing with an alphabet us much easier than writing with picture forms, as in Chinese, the oldest system if writing still in use.’ My entire understanding is based on this statement and a vague impression of the exquisite little line-drawings that seem to constitute Chinese.
So, yeah, are these pictures so amenable to different definitions, senses, explanations, denotations, connotations, interpretations and explications that, when combined in a sentence, this can lead to different interpretations of the overall meaning of Chinese stories by different readers?