There is probably no subject on earth concerning which more misinformation is purveyed and more misunderstandings circulated than Chinese characters (漢字, Chinese hanzi, Japanese kanji, Korean hanja) or sinograms.
--Victor Mair
from the foreword to Ideogram, by J. Marshall Unger

Most of what most people think they know about Chinese -- especially when it comes to Chinese characters -- is wrong. This website is aimed at contributing to a better understanding of the Chinese languages and how romanization can be used to write languages traditionally associated with Chinese characters (such as Japanese, Korean, and especially Mandarin Chinese).

Through the generosity of many authors and publishers, this site offers an extensive selection of readings related to how Chinese characters do (and don't!) work, how romanization has been regarded, how the Chinese languages differ, how regarding Chinese characters as "ideograms" or "ideographs" is incorrect, and related topics.

For most people, the first title to acquire is probably The Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy, by John DeFrancis. This book has done more than any other to dispel misunderstandings about Chinese, especially those concerning Chinese characters, including the Ideographic Myth, the Universality Myth, the Emulatability Myth, the Monosyllabic Myth, the Indispensability Myth, and the Successfulness Myth. I very much hope many of this site's visitors will seek out and read this work and indeed all of the books on the list of recommended readings.

For recent additions and other news, see this site's blog, Pinyin News!