Archaic ChineseArchaic Chinese - The languages of the Far East developed independently of those of the ancient Near East. However, though independent, they had a similar origin. That is, they descended from a pictographic language, known as Archaic Chinese, much as hieroglyphs were pictographic. The earliest known example of Chinese writing is found on Chinese oracle bones, which, just as the name implies, are oracles written on animal bones and/or turtle shells. They date from the Shang Dynasty from about 1200 B.C.. Unlike the Near East, the ancient Chinese never developed a true alphabet. Instead, later forms of Chinese evolved more along the lines of how hieroglyphics evolved into hieratic, where logograms were later developed to replace the pictographs in order to simplify the writing system. Today's Far Eastern languages which descended from this Archaic Chinese (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.) are grouped together as part of the Sino-Tibetan language family.