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Are there any resources / how-to sources about how to write Chinese characters faster than normal while still being readable? It took me forever to take note while in class.

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try Google 硬筆字+行書 –  AngelLeliel Apr 15 '13 at 2:06
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@AngelLeliel or instead, they could maybe ask on some kind of question and answer site for experts, language enthusiasts, and people who have an interest in the Chinese language..? :P –  Cocowalla Apr 16 '13 at 5:15
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2 Answers

In restaurants (茶餐廳) in Hong Kong, the "waiters" also face this problem because writing in a formal and clear way takes too much time. They developed methods so that they can take orders faster:

  • Write words with other words that has the same pronunciation.
    For example, instead of writing the word 「飯」(faan6), they would write 「反」(faan2) because they both have similar pronunciations.

  • Draw symbols instead of words.
    Instead of writing 「叉燒」, writing 「╳燒」takes less time and is still readable.

  • Try to write with less strokes. Instead of writing a stroke by another, try this:
    enter image description here

  • Use a mixture of Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese: (applies to people who are outside of mainland China, mainly for users of Traditional Chinese)
    Eg: 我是一個好生。

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Why not just go the whole nine yards and use Simplified all the time? After all, it was designed primarily for ease of writing. –  congusbongus Apr 15 '13 at 0:39
    
Nice answer, you may like to clarify your last point which applies to users of traditional Chinese characters who know a bit of simplified Chinese. @Cong Xu, I doubt traditional Chinese users can make the full conversion to simplified without the help of some tools. –  Question Overflow Apr 15 '13 at 2:10
    
Great! Thanks for the image - good way to demonstrate. I only write simplified Han zi. I bought some books that provide fast-hand writing han ci to practice/ copy the characters but don't like that person style. –  Meandering Apr 15 '13 at 2:39
    
@CongXu - Simplified characters often create confusion, for example, can you tell what does means? It also creates misleading characters such as 游戏. means to swim (nothing else), but now it seems like you are playing games while swimming. –  Derek 朕會功夫 Apr 15 '13 at 3:13
    
@Derek I don't find the shorthands and misleading or confusing; I'm sure most people are fine with what means too. –  congusbongus Apr 15 '13 at 4:36
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Learn the simplified characters. That's what they're there for.

IMHO, they aren't easier to learn. But they ARE easier to write.

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I would argue whether they are easier to write or not. Simplified characters take less time to write, but I think for non-native speakers the relationship between the radicals and the character helps them to remember the strokes and character better than simplified characters. –  Michael Lai Apr 24 '13 at 6:34
    
@MichaelLai: I was talking about the physical "writing." You're referring to "character recognition," which is really more part of "reading." –  Tom Au Jan 14 at 16:04
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