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

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3
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3answers
173 views

What is na4zi4pang2 (pinyin) in the decomposition of na4 (那)?

The New Practical Chinese Reader introduces the following decomposition: na4 (那) = na4zi4pang2 + yi4 (阝). I understand that 阝 represents radical 163 (yi4). Na4zi4pang2 (pinyin) looks close to ...
21
votes
11answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
412 views

What is a one-character translation of the English word “Freedom”?

I've been trying to find a single-character translation of the word "freedom," but I can't seem to find one anywhere. The best translation I can find is, of course, 自由, which seems to be a fairly ...
11
votes
4answers
512 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
985 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. ...
4
votes
2answers
142 views

Why was the rice radical added to 气 to form 氣?

气 is an ancient character that has roots in an oracle bone pictogram, but according to this, the rice radical was added in the Tang dynasty to form 氣. What were the reasons for this? What does 气, ...
5
votes
3answers
458 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
493 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
214 views

How to differentiate “radical plus 0 strokes” characters?

There are (at least) six characters that consist of radical 102 plus 0 strokes: 田 由 甲 申 甴 电 In each of the variants the middle vertical stroke is made shorter, longer or twisted at the end. Is there ...
3
votes
1answer
181 views

Were the choice of characters in compound words based on their intrinsic meaning, or are their meaning derived from their use in compound words?

It is sort of a chicken and egg question. Before I started to think (maybe too much), I just assumed that Chinese characters had their own independent meaning and got chosen in certain compound words ...
1
vote
1answer
146 views

Can somebody identify these characters?

Could somebody help me identify these two characters? The meaning of the first one should be "point" or something similar, the second one looks to me like a combination of 月 and 爭, but I couldn't ...
9
votes
2answers
413 views

Fast-written forms of 草书 characters

Are they frequently used? Which one of the three is applied more often: is it the 章草, the 今草 or the 狂草? Are they different in comparison with the 行書? Are there any online resourses to learn more ...
2
votes
4answers
348 views

Can whether a character is simplified or traditional depend on the context it is used in?

Are there any characters which are considered simplified in some contexts (where there would be a corresponding traditional character), and traditional in other contexts?
5
votes
3answers
237 views

Learn the characters at the same time as the language?

Should I learn Mandarin basics first through pinyin and worry about the characters later, or should I learn them together? Pros and cons?
5
votes
2answers
879 views

Adding tone marks to characters

I'm looking for a way of adding tone marks above characters. It's fairly easy to add Pinyin with tone marks, but I want to add only tone marks. I want to use this as a teaching tool, because even ...
9
votes
4answers
460 views

Why does 首饰的饰 have the 饣radical?

According to my sources 饣 means "food" or "eat". Since when do people eat jewelry?
6
votes
3answers
233 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?
6
votes
1answer
171 views

Is the traditional character for 雪 the same as itself?

Is the traditional character for ? Or are both and considered the same character (汉字) with simply different font styles?
5
votes
2answers
156 views

Is there a list of characters specifically used for western proper nouns?

When learning country/place names or reading about non-Chinese people in the media I see the same characters used for similar phonemes (see these celebrities). What rule or list do the writers follow ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Writing Chinese Characters is Sloppy

Since learning Mandarin through Rosetta Stone, Youtube videos, and friends, I've begun to keep a journal of mandarin characters and phrases. I first draw the character, along with the pinyin and ...
3
votes
3answers
485 views

What are the relative literacy rates in for simplified and traditional characters?

I'm trying to decide whether it would be better to use traditional or simplified characters for an iPhone game I'm making. If something is written in traditional, how many people will be able to read ...
5
votes
1answer
162 views

Character layout in calligraphy e.g. with respect to a quotation from Confucius

I recently attended a brief introductory workshop about calligraphy at a Confucius Institute. The instructor, who also teaches at the local university and is both a calligrapher and painter from ...
3
votes
2answers
193 views

Does anyone know what is the characters means (丁財貴寿)?

Does anyone know what is written on the image? I tried to find out what is it, and got 丁財貴寿 (丁财贵寿), but not quite sure enough. I tried to find the meaning of the words but seems can't find it or I ...
3
votes
1answer
181 views

Does anyone recognize the characters written here?

Does anyone recognize the characters written here? I've tried to figure it out but still can't understand what is written there, since I've just recognized the rightmost character, 天. It's a carving ...
5
votes
1answer
79 views

What is the difference between 濱 and 瀕?

Another pair of homonyms with similar/identical meaning. A dictionary check gives me this: 濱 (1) 水邊。如:「河濱」、「海濱」、「她喜歡在湖濱散步。」 (2) 靠近。如:「濱臨」、「濱海公路」。 瀕 (1) 水邊。如:「河瀕」、「江瀕」。 (2) 臨近、迫近。如:「瀕臨」、「瀕危」。 This ...
7
votes
2answers
227 views

What is the difference between 升, 陞 and 昇?

There are some characters in Chinese which give me severe headaches, especially those that have the same pronunciation and mean more or less the same thing. I have learnt three characters which are ...
20
votes
7answers
816 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
193 views

Visual puns and phrases

Some characters are visual puns: 尜 (小大小), 尖 (小大); others are a phrase written as a single character: 膥 (未成肉), 籴 (入米), 汆 (入水), 奀 (不大). What are some other characters which fit into these categories?
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2answers
122 views

Is there any website of where I can look up the origins of a Chinese character? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What etymology dictionaries are available? What was this online dictionary's name with ancient traditional and simplified characters and etymology? I always wanted to ...
8
votes
1answer
244 views

Is there a difference between 夂 and 夊?

Looking at the list of Kangxi radicals over at Wikipedia, I just noticed something I haven't noticed before. Radical number 34 (夂) and 35 (夊) are virtually identical. I write these radicals in the ...
7
votes
1answer
201 views

How is the Kanji character 豚 related to the chinese 猪 / 豬

The Chinese character for pig is 猪 / 豬 (zhu1) In many Japanese restaurants around Hong Kong I've seen this somewhat different character 豚 which appears to also mean pig. How would you say it in ...
2
votes
1answer
329 views

How useful are the kanji in reading Chinese? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it easier to learn Chinese after learning Japanese or vice versa? I'm learning Japanese, and I'm going to learn all of the jouyou kanji, which is about 2000 ...
14
votes
2answers
537 views

Words referring to the shape of Chinese characters

Some words in English use (capital) letters to describe the shape of the object to which they refer: A-frame, C-clamp, I-beam, O-ring, T-shirt, T-intersection, T-bone, U-turn, V-neck Chinese ...
3
votes
2answers
178 views

Simplification of 蘭(兰)

I've always been curious about the process of simplifying 蘭 to 兰. I'm not really familiar with the simplification process, but this one is shocking to me. From what I've seen (I've studied only ...
3
votes
1answer
310 views

Wubihua / Traditional Chinese / Open-source index

I have been looking for an open-source index of Chinese characters (Traditional) indexed by the Wubihua (五筆劃). I have found only partial lists (up to four digits), and only for Simplified. I know ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the most complex simplifed character?

I'm interested in simplified only for this question - which simplified character retains the most complexity, defined by having the highest number of strokes? To clarify: I'm after the most ...
1
vote
4answers
223 views

Does 上嗨 work as a pun for 上海?

While riding the subway in Shanghai last week, I glanced at the TV playing some commercials and saw what looked like a slightly off spelling of the city's name (上海). I could not get a very good look ...
2
votes
2answers
243 views

What is the top part of 姜 and why does it differ?

If you look at the character 姜, it seems like the top part is ⺷ and the bottom is 女, however some sources, Chinese-Characters, HanziJS and Wikimedia Commons show the phonetic radical as 羊. I'm the ...
1
vote
3answers
331 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
157 views

Difference between 佈 and 布

Can anyone help me clarify the difference between 佈 and 布? If I'm not mistaken, this is only relevant for traditional characters since 佈 has been simplified to 布. A dictionary lookup for 佈 shows that ...
3
votes
2answers
294 views

Deciphering a seal

I have a friend who bought a buddha figure on a Chinese market. On its bottom there is this seal, written in seal script, that has an original size of 1.5cm × 1.5cm. Any idea what it means? The ...
8
votes
5answers
633 views

Is there a site that can split characters into radicals?

For example, let's examine character heaven. It has a Ren radical (men). And then we add a strip to become Tha (big). And then we add another strip to get heaven. Now, is there a site to do so? I ...
7
votes
2answers
243 views

What characters are on this ceramic jar?

What characters are depicted on this old jar? My (art-)sources have all different opinions: "fu2 shou4 an1 kang1" or "fu2 lu4 shou4 xi3" or 4 x shou4 or "fu2 shou4 kang1 ning2" and all without telling ...
9
votes
2answers
149 views

Is there a rule that tells what characters can be omitted?

I have a habit of using too many characters when I speak and write. For example: 我回我的家。 我的 is not needed, and we can simply say 我回家。 Is there a grammar rule for when to cut characters? A ...
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 ...
9
votes
3answers
443 views

What's the actual difference between 文 and 语?

Both mean "language" with some other related meanings. A friend of mine told me that while 文 refers more to the written language, 语 is more related to the spoken one. Is this a difference and is it ...
7
votes
2answers
261 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 ...
7
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
211 views

What and where is the connection between 压岁钱 and the character 岁 that appears in it?

During the Chinese New Year celebration, one of the various traditions is to give money to younger people in red envelopes. Usually they are given from elderly married couples to younger couples or ...
5
votes
4answers
254 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 ...