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

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6
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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?
6
votes
2answers
287 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
200 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?
6
votes
2answers
526 views

着 vs 著? Is it the same

Is 着 the same as 著? Can I interchange them, for example: Is 這位着名的歌手的名字是__ The same as 這位著名的歌手的名字是__ (put a name in "__")
6
votes
3answers
610 views

Is “ 事出必有因 ” the most accurate translation for “ everything happens for a reason ”?

Is " 事出必有因 " the most accurate translation for " everything happens for a reason "? If not, what is it? Thanks!
6
votes
2answers
266 views

Is there an authoritative reference for the stroke order of simplifed characters?

It seems various people often have various ways to write the same characters. For instance, I have seen the radical "忄" being written in three different ways (left, middle, right; left, right, middle; ...
5
votes
3answers
483 views

What's the difference between 江 and 河?

My daily newsletter contained the following sentence: 长江是中国最长的河。 According to the dictionary, 江 and 河 both mean "river", but they seem to be used differently. Am I right in assuming that 长河是中国最长的江 ...
5
votes
1answer
585 views

勇 character on soldiers' uniforms in movies

I don't know much about Chinese military history, but I do see this character appearing on historical uniforms (fictitious or actual) worn by soldiers in movies, some are set in the Qing dynasty some ...
5
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4answers
328 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
592 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
139 views

Character 瞓: where did the pronunciations come from?

The character 瞓 is a Cantonese character meaning "sleep". It is pronounced xùn in mandarin and fan3 in Cantonese. I was wondering how two so different pronunciations (I would expect xun to match syun ...
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3answers
273 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
1answer
243 views

An unknown Traditional Chinese character on a decorative piece for Lunar New Year

I'm a East Asian preparing to celebrate the Lunar New Year and have found this piece of decoration. The Chinese character on it is, I'm pretty sure, a Traditional one, literally full of strokes and ...
5
votes
1answer
124 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
195 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
84 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 ...
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3answers
93 views

Character classification by type

Can anyone point me to an online resource that lists characters by classification? I.e., I'm looking for a list of characters that are generally considered pictographs / complex and simple ideographs ...
5
votes
3answers
182 views

或: how did “region” become “either”?

The character 或 is used today for the meanings "or", "either", "maybe", and "perhaps". Historically, it had the meaning of "region", and it is this meaning that characters like 國 and 域 derive from. ...
5
votes
2answers
175 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
99 views

When was 华/華 first used as a reference to China?

E.g. as in 中华 or 华语, and other similar words.
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3answers
622 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
185 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
176 views

Do you write every character? [closed]

I have been studying Chinese for a few months now. I am using some software to test my knowledge of the characters. Sometimes I do not recognize every character of a word but I can still derive the ...
4
votes
2answers
589 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 ...
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 ...
4
votes
3answers
341 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?
4
votes
2answers
163 views

How to describe 陈省身's name

Shiing-shen Chern, 陈省身 (1911--2004), is a famous geometer. When taking about him with Chinese people who do not study math and have not heard of him, how can I best describe which characters 陈, 省, ...
4
votes
2answers
92 views

What is the original meaning of 匈 (besides “chest/breast/thorax”)?

The Wikipedia article on the 匈奴 gives a literal translation as 'fierce slaves'. Did 匈 mean 'fierce' in former times? What is the etymology of this character?
4
votes
3answers
277 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, ...
4
votes
1answer
390 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
116 views

Interpretation of second character

Here's a picture I have found on flickr, taken in an outdoor museum in South Korea. I can only recognize the 1st, 3rd and 4th characters: 寶X山房. 寶 is probably not the variant written on the wooden ...
3
votes
7answers
2k 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
2answers
841 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
124 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
3answers
423 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
82 views

How Many Characters Are There Where The Radical Is The Same As The Main Component?

How Many Characters Are There Where The Radical Is The Same As The Main Component? Example: 字海网:  字海网: 𧙿 This question is definitely answerable as there are only a certain amount ...
3
votes
3answers
290 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
632 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
226 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
3answers
225 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
189 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
183 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
4answers
113 views

What is the meaning of 么?

If you want to say "This dog," you'd say, "这只狗". If you want to say "This thing," you'd say, "这个东西". If you want to say, "This much," you'd say, "这么多". I understand the reasons for the 只 and the 个, ...
3
votes
1answer
197 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
339 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
291 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
229 views

Does anyone know the meaning of this character (𣟂)?

The only things I found about it is its vietnamese reading "khuôn" and that it is used in 𣟂𩈘 (meaning "face").
3
votes
1answer
77 views

Is the Chinese character “蒙” being associated with Mongolia and ignorance coincidence?

In the translingual section, Wiktionary mentions that the Chinese character 蒙 has a variety of meanings: to cover ignorant suffer fourth hexagram of the I Ching Mongolia - radical composition ...
3
votes
2answers
151 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 ...