Questions about the Chinese characters, called Hanzi, about their characteristics and everything that relates to them.

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30
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7answers
5k views

How many characters do I need to learn?

How many Chinese characters would I generally need to learn to be able to handle most text in typical every day circumstances? How many would be required to be considered fluent? Are there any good ...
3
votes
2answers
142 views

Phrases with most popular characters?

I found a table of characters (about 3000) in which most popular characters go first. Here are first 20: 我的 高的 是的 目的 的确 不 不是 人 在 有 他 这 中 大 来 上 国 自个 到 说 道 子 为 和 and I would like ...
4
votes
3answers
318 views

What does 自个 mean: “since a” or “onself”

As a title, I have found to meanings for 自个: "since a" or "oneself", what is correct and how to translate it?
7
votes
6answers
9k views

Does 危机 really mean both crisis and opportunity?

A lot of people, mostly those who haven't studied Chinese, like to claim something along the lines of "In Chinese, the word for crisis 危机, also bears the meaning of opportunity." This is usually ...
1
vote
1answer
170 views

减/減 (Reduce/Subtract/Decrease/Diminish): What's it got to do with water?

So here we have 冫+咸 (or 氵+咸) = 减(減). 减(減) means something along the lines of reduce/subtract/decrease/diminish or what have you. What has water got to do with this though? Logically one would ...
3
votes
2answers
164 views

Number of unique characters in the X most common words?

I assume this would be wouldn't be too hard to calculate with a proper database, but does anyone know the number of unique characters/morphemes used in the 5000, 10000, 30000, etc. most common words? ...
5
votes
4answers
309 views

Searching for characters by parts

Are there any online or computer dictionaries that allow searching for characters by any sub-part of the character? Occasionally it I see a character the parts of which I can already type. But I ...
12
votes
5answers
705 views

Is any simplified character also a traditional character?

I don't mean traditional characters that weren't simplified, thus being the same in traditional and simplified. What I ask if there is any simplified character which in turn has the same form of ...
6
votes
3answers
583 views

How are the terms for “male/female” and “man/woman” divided exactly?

I know that daughter in Chinese is 女儿, and son is 儿子. A little side-question: Why isn't "son" 男儿? My main question is this one though: apart from son and daughter stated above, what are the ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

When and why is right to left writing used?

I have encountered characters written horizontally right to left on signs (at the top of a gate) and on vehicles. When is this used and why? Was this more common in the past? Are the individuals ...
3
votes
2answers
787 views

Etymology of 奴隶 (Slave)

I vaguely remember hearing somebody make observations about the word 奴隶 (slave). I would like to verify the impressions of the person who was speaking as being factual or just his impressions. What is ...
6
votes
1answer
167 views

General guidelines for learning stroke order

A friend asked me for a brief description of the general guidelines for writing Chinese characters. What are the simplest ways to describe those "rules" that apply across most characters?
8
votes
3answers
176 views

Why does the radical for water and ice often look so weird

When I see the radical being used in 洗 and 凉 in some books or even sougou. They break it up into a broken radical that looks nothing like it. Is it one of those things that are related only to ...
3
votes
3answers
284 views

What character is this? (yu2)

The book "A First Course in Literature" from Shaddick uses this character: In the vocabulary section it is explained as "TV to cross; to exceed". But I can't seem to find this character anywhere ...
7
votes
2answers
287 views

Character and meaning for the 四川话 sentence-ending particle 'ga'?

Scholars of Chinese will have a lot of work to do in the next 100-200 years, because eventually academics will take notice and want to document the self-emergent standardization of orthography for ...
5
votes
2answers
550 views

Looking for very common dialect words which have no Standard Mandarin Chinese hanzi characters

I'm basing this question on several assumptions, so if they are wrong please say so as an answer: Written Chinese is mainly used for Standard (Mandarin) Chinese. Mostly other Chinese languages ...
23
votes
8answers
1k views

How do we choose the correct characters for a westerner name?

Since there are many characters that share a common pronunciation and sometimes also the same tone, how do we properly choose which character best represents our name? Is it totally arbitrary or are ...
24
votes
11answers
2k views

Etymology of the Chinese number characters (一二三四五六七八九十百千)

Main Question: What is the etymology of the Chinese number characters (一二三四五六七八九十百千)? Related question: Why isn't 四 four lines? (the origin of 一 二 三 四 五 六 七 八 九) I decide to write a ...
1
vote
1answer
139 views

Tips to remember pronounciation of these words: 旅,斿,施,旋,族?

I often misread these words and got mistaken between each other: 旅 = Lǚ 斿/游 = Yóu 施 = shī 旋 = Xuán 族 = zú as each of them doesn't have related phonetic indicator that I can use as clue to remember ...
6
votes
2answers
264 views

奇 is a strange character

Lost Etymology 奇 ( jī | qí ) is a character that means strange but the etymology appears to have been lost. At least as far as I can tell after researching offline books, zhongwen.com, and ...
3
votes
3answers
112 views

Are these two Chinese words the same ( 更容易,才能)

Could someone tell me if these two words in the image below are equivalent? The top word I grabbed from an image, the bottom word I am creating in photoshop by typing in what I believe is the correct ...
3
votes
1answer
168 views

why 秋千? Where does the name come from?

Had a look around in my dictionaries wondering if anyone has any input as to why a 秋千 is 秋+千, what's the significance?
0
votes
1answer
398 views

Letters for chinese wedding invitation

I'm looking for the (traditional) Chinese letters for 'he fu tong qing' (pin yin transcription), which should mean something like 'the whole family invited' in the context of a wedding invitation.
2
votes
1answer
99 views

Which is the additional stroke added to 末 and to 未? significance?

I'm curious whether the shorter stroke or longer stroke are the extra strokes added to 木 to form the characters 未 and 末? And do these strokes have a semantic significance? I learned that 本 has the ...
7
votes
5answers
3k views

Take away (when ordering food): is it 带走 or 打包?

I was told that when you are ordering food you can say either 带走 or 打包. However, when you are not ordering food and you mean "take this away", then you use 拿走。 Is there a difference in context or ...
0
votes
1answer
128 views

Learn Chinese Step 2: Characters. Are there any good tips to learn the writing and make sense of these square characters? [closed]

Many Mandarin Chinese teachers claim that the step 2 for Learning Chinese is: Learning Characters, I know many learners skip this step and just focus on conversational skill, Q1: How different would ...
0
votes
1answer
214 views

Heisig's Learning the Hanzi books

Has anyone used the Heisig Remembering the Simplified/Traditional Hanzi? I've read that the traditional version is better. Any recommendations on whether it's better to use traditional book and then ...
17
votes
4answers
708 views

Reading handwriting

How can I get better at reading handwriting? Are there fonts that look like it, or web sites with examples for practice? Are there some common shortcuts that people take when writing by hand?
12
votes
6answers
1k views

How do Chinese speakers pronounce unknown characters?

I'm wondering what do Chinese speakers do when they are reading aloud and encounter a character they don't know (sometimes it happens, isn't it?). In phonetic languages, there is a possibility to ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Table of Chinese characters taught in primary school, grouped by grade

Is there a table like this for Chinese characters, that lists which Chinese characters are taught for each year of primary school? (I'd like to learn Chinese, so this would be a great source of ...
6
votes
3answers
239 views

What's the difference between 蝦 and 鰕?

I found there are two characters for "xia1" (ghra as in Middle Chinese), 蝦 and 鰕. Could someone explain what the difference is?
4
votes
3answers
2k views

How many characters do Chinese pupils know at different ages?

I'm looking for data that would let me estimate how much written language young Chinese at different ages know, in terms of number of characters they can read/write. Examples of materials that would ...
7
votes
2answers
607 views

How does CJK Decomposition compare to the Wikimedia Commons Chinese characters decomposition data?

I found two public databases that describe the composition of Chinese characters. 1 - CJK Decomposition Data 2 - Chinese Characters Decomposition on Wiki Commons I can see how the formats they use ...
2
votes
2answers
337 views

Are “好饱了” and “好包了” both correct?

"好饱了" and "好包了" both seem to be used to mean "I'm full". I'm pretty sure that "好饱了" is definitely correct but they both get lots of Google hits and if I combine the search with the English "full" ...
7
votes
4answers
620 views

Origin of beautiful kingdom and hero kingdom

Why in Mandarin chinese, USA is beautiful kingdom and England is hero kingdom?
1
vote
2answers
109 views

what kind of gematria systems are there in chinese?

since in china culture , there is a lot of materials about astronomy and supernatural methods so i interested to know about Gematria as exist in most of languages ... like this : Gematria Calulator ...
11
votes
4answers
561 views

足: why is “foot” also “enough”?

足 is an ancient character meaning "foot". However, it also means "enough" or "sufficient", and this second definition is also very old. Consider this excerpt: 兵甲已足。——诸葛亮《出师表》 This is from ...
7
votes
4answers
620 views

Where can I find a list of commonly mistaken characters?

I want to quickly identify potential mistakes created by OCR software. Where can I find a list of all Chinese characters that visually look very similar and might often be confused?
8
votes
1answer
509 views

Analog of Hong Kong grade level for Chinese characters?

The Unihan database lists a kGradeLevel for each entry. This is the primary grade in the Hong Kong school system by which a student is expected to know the corresponding character. Is there a similar ...
2
votes
3answers
171 views

Naming siblings with same sounding chinese characters [closed]

I would like to name my baby daughter "嫣" which is written as "yān", per pinyin. However my elder daughter's name is "彥" which is pronounced as "yàn". Is it considered taboo to give my daughters the ...
22
votes
7answers
987 views

Can Chinese readers scan large amounts of text faster/more accurately than their alphabet-using counterparts?

I was browsing one day and came across this comment in this discussion(italics mine): I feel English is a reading language, if you are reading an English book, you watch the word and make sound in ...
-1
votes
2answers
149 views

how do you type a Chinese Character in computer? [closed]

What software do most of you using for typing Chinese characters, and is it developed by someone Chinese? I am using Sougou.
3
votes
2answers
206 views

How common are three-character or five-character words/terms in Standard Mandarin?

People often regard Chinese, including Standard Mandarin, as a monosyllabic language. Classical Chinese apparently was a monosyllabic language, where words consisted of a single syllable (a single ...
3
votes
3answers
222 views

Which characters typically occur only within names?

Does anyone know where I can find a list of characters that are, at least in common usage, found only as a component of names (especially of persons) in modern Chinese? I have in mind characters such ...
3
votes
3answers
399 views

“Four-part” composition of characters

I would like to compile a list of characters where you can draw two lines in a + shape, running through the center of the character to cleanly separate it into four "components." Some leeway must be ...
10
votes
2answers
643 views

In Chinese typesetting, is there a version of Lorem Ipsum?

I know relatively little about typography but I know that Lorem Ipsum or other similar bodies of text appear a lot in the world of typesetting. Because Chinese characters are pretty much square, is ...
5
votes
1answer
123 views

For which senses of simplified 制 would I use the traditional form 製?

Simplified characters do not always mirror their traditional counterparts one to one. Sometimes you have a simplified character where some of its senses have one traditional form and some have another ...
20
votes
4answers
1k views

Why isn't 四 four lines? (the origin of 一 二 三 四 五 六 七 八 九)

A common experience of beginner hanzi students is their raised hopes and expectations when they learn 一 二 三 - "what a wonderfully elegant language!" - which are promptly crushed when they encounter 四. ...
8
votes
2answers
211 views

Does “坊” also mean “square”, “plaza”, “piazza” like “广场”?

Where I am in Kunming there is a square that seems to go by two names: 金碧广场, Jīn bì guǎngchǎng, "Golden Square" 金马碧鸡坊, Jīnmǎ bì jī fang, "Golden Horse and Green Rooster Square" When I look ...
5
votes
3answers
580 views

Teaching Pinyin and Characters together vs Teaching Pinyin then Characters

I'm designing a curriculum to teach middle school students elementary Chinese. When I started learning, I began with Traditional Chinese characters and pinyin together on day one. I'm not so sure the ...