An atom consists of an electron, a proton and a neutron. A Chinese character consists of radicals and components.
There are 118 officially registered chemical elements in the periodic table and 214 generally recognized radicals in the Chinese language.
Each chemist should know the periodic table, each Chinese learner should know how to decompose a Chinese character into radicals and components. The Chinese radicals and components added one to another to produce new characters. To understand this process one should know the decomposition of the Chinese characters.
Decomposition of the Chinese Character 小 xiǎo ‘small’
小 xiǎo small
亅 jué hook
八 bā eight
NB. Synonyms: Structural analysis of the Chinese characters, Breakdown of the Chinese characters, Chinese characters split.
For more information about the Chinese character decomposition please check The Chinese Character Decomposition Guidance