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38
votes
9answers
9k 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 ...
18
votes
14answers
2k views

Techniques for learning and retaining characters

For many of us, memorizing characters is a difficult thing. In Chinese, just because you can speak the word doesn't mean you can read it. Just because you can read it doesn't mean you can write it. At ...
18
votes
4answers
910 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?
13
votes
2answers
986 views

How do native speakers structure their essays?

When analyzing Chinese speeches or essays, I often have difficulty understanding how their the authors organized their ideas. In North America, for example, a common template for writing an essay is ...
12
votes
5answers
6k views

How to improve my Chinese writing

When someone has grasped the basic concepts of writing Chinese there comes a point where handwriting starts to look plain or mechanical. From what I have seen the lines look very straight and like ...
12
votes
1answer
360 views

Lowest pixel resolution needed to support Chinese?

We are creating a product which has an small embedded OLED display (64 x 48 pixels). We would love to support Chinese in this product and wonder what is that smallest resolution that would be needed ...
12
votes
2answers
854 views

How are blanks indicated for placeholders in Chinese (like ???)

In English, in the middle of a sentence if data is being left blank (such as an unknown date, or a name to be filled in at a later time), commonly you see ???, ___ (underscore(s)), or -- to mark this. ...
10
votes
9answers
3k views

I'm dying to learn Chinese [closed]

I'm new on this website and my only objective is to get some answers. But the main question I have is How and where to start learning Chinese? How to begin?
9
votes
6answers
827 views

How gender specific in writing is the character 他

A couple of years ago I wrote this comment below an answer: On mainland China 他 is used for both male and female. I've only seen 她 used as a stylistic thing for advertising and some old formal ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

How to (hand) write Chinese characters faster

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 notes while in class.
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Are there differences in writing between Chinese languages, such as Mandarin and Shanghainese

There are already many questions about the different spoken languages that can be called Chinese. This question on the other hand asks about the written one(s?). Well, to start, is the written ...
7
votes
1answer
361 views

What are the different kinds of poems in Chinese?

In the question "Are there poems in Chinese that rhyme?", a debate started about what is considered a poem in Chinese. The texts I presented — 《三字經》 (Three Character Classic), 《百家姓》 (The Hundred ...
7
votes
1answer
186 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?
6
votes
2answers
744 views

Proper letter writing etiquette

I've recently been writing a lot of letters in Mandarin and I have several questions regarding the form. Chinese has many salutations in letters. For the most part, is it okay just to use 亲爱? If ...
6
votes
3answers
215 views

Thought Experiment: Twitter Character Limits

This is hopefully a fun question that is a little bit off the standard path. It's meant to elicit a light conversation but nevertheless one that illuminates fundamental characteristics of Chinese as a ...
5
votes
2answers
155 views

Bottom component of 青 and 䏍

When learning how to write, I had always assumed that the lower component of the left component 䏍 of 能 was just a lower variant of 月. A couple of days ago, however, I decided to look it up, and I ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Written Cantonese input?

Although traditionally Cantonese speakers just use standard Chinese (mostly Traditional in my experience) for writing and reading, written Cantonese does exist as you can read about in this Wikipedia ...
5
votes
4answers
365 views

written characters: yuē vs rì

I have some troubles in distinguishing written characters 曰 yuē (to speak) and 日 rì (sun). Although they singularly look different on computers (maybe yuē look a bit wider, while rì is taller), I find ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

Input of Simplified Chinese on Windows

What options are available for input of simplified Chinese on Windows computers? Is it possible to draw characters using a mouse or stylus, or perhaps input using speech recognition?
5
votes
1answer
415 views

When is it appropriate to use 亲爱的?

In English it perfectly fine in a business context and for someone you have never met before to use Dear XXXX at the beginning of a letter or email. This causes some difficulty when moving to another ...
5
votes
2answers
168 views

Writing direction on seals

I am experimenting with an online seal generator, the text I have entered is 一千五百 and I have noticed that the characters go first from top right to bottom right, then from bottom left to top left. Is ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the normal forms of valediction in Chinese?

For example, how do they normally sign off letters? We normally use 'Yours Faithfully' or 'Your Sincerely' but we might not be so formal in emails and instead just 'Regards'. What is standard ...
4
votes
1answer
76 views

Braille and Chinese Input

Is it possible to use a Braille keyboard to input chinese with the pinyin input method? How could a blind user ever be able to choose the right character combination if they cannot see it? The words ...
4
votes
1answer
189 views

Are authors of Chinese fantasy novels able to create names for fictional creatures/races?

Like Dr. Seuss' Wickershams and Wockets; Final Fantasy's Bandersnatches and Moogles; or Dr. Who's Daleks and Chronovores, English works of fiction (most commonly fantasy) often contain fictitious ...
4
votes
2answers
101 views

Learning written forms of dialects

I've looked for this question on the site but can't seem to find it. I'm interested in learning Chinese, well, Cantonese specifically, and I want to focus on both the written and spoken components. ...
4
votes
1answer
135 views

Job requirements for typing Chinese

Many government positions in Taiwan have typing speed requirements. In Taipei city job announcements I've found which mention this requirement, the minimum runs from 40-60 characters a minute. This ...
4
votes
1answer
289 views

Where can I find Codecademy for Written Chinese?

Recently, my wife has been learning to program JavaScript using Codecademy. I like how it walks people through exercises step by step, and builds up concepts, etc. All the marking is automated, and ...
3
votes
2answers
569 views

What is the correct measure word for 问题 (question)?

I'm not sure if I should say 一件问题 or 一项问题. I know I can get away with 一个问题, but I'd like to know the "correct" measure word. Note: I would like to use the tag measure-word, but I can't. I used ...
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
3answers
163 views

How to indicate “long pronunciation” in writing in Chinese?

In English I can change "what the heck" to something like "what the heeckkkkkk" when writing in order to show that the pronunciation of "heck" is being dragged out. When writing Chinese characters, ...
3
votes
2answers
118 views

How To *Write* The Northeastern ‘ber lou’?

A long time ago a Northeastern friend of mine showed me how to write ‘ber lou’ using 汉字. ‘ber lou’ being the northeastern equivalent of 额头. I have since forgotten how ‘ber lou’ was indeed written. ...
3
votes
2answers
150 views

What are the real obstacles of romanizing Chinese characters?

Most people will say it is because there are too many homonyms in the Chinese language. But when I realize that homonyms do not bother people very much in oral communications, I begin to question this ...
3
votes
1answer
8k views

Why 福 is often used upside down?

On Chinese houses, people often place scriptures for luck, health, wealth, etc. Often, they use the word 福 [fú] turned upside down, like this: What is the reason for it?
3
votes
2answers
155 views

How widely used are 印章 compared to signatures?

印章 appear all over chinese works, especially in the past. Most noticeably in documents relating to business and arts, companies and individuals would use seals in place of signatures. In modern ...
3
votes
3answers
163 views

Phonetic clue of characters in languages or dialects other than Mandarin?

Many characters are made up of a semantic and a phonetic part. Is the phonetic part only valid with regards to Mandarin pronounciation? Or not even for Mandarin in all cases? Or does it work with ...
3
votes
1answer
202 views

Why 奇蹟 (and not 奇迹) In Simplified Texts

I often run across the word 奇蹟 in simplified texts written just like that: 奇蹟. For example: Yes has an article entitled: 【上帝之子】全美票房创18亿台币奇蹟. Here's an excerpt also with said writing (emphasis ...
3
votes
1answer
362 views

Understanding different Chinese writing styles

Aside from the standard printing style of Chinese (what is referred to in this wikipedia article as regular script), what are the main styles that are in modern use? When looking at different styles ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Windows 8 Chinese Input: Trackpad and Stylus

When using a laptop touchpad to input Chinese via handwriting on Windows 8, I either have to double tap or press down in order to write. On a MacBook, I just write without needing an initial double ...
2
votes
5answers
980 views

How to translate “In conclusion”?

I'm practicing writing short articles in Chinese, but I'm not sure how to say "To conclude" or "In conclusion". I can't seem to find an appropriate translation. What is recommended?
2
votes
2answers
272 views

How to write “BiángBiáng麵” using pinyin?

Alternatively, can you write the character by strokes (that the pinyin input recognizes it and that the character can be found among all the other stored characters)?
2
votes
2answers
98 views

Resources for the Chinese section of the Gaokao?

The entrance examination for universities in mainland China includes a Chinese section. I'm looking for three things about this. 1) A source for questions that have been asked in previous years. For ...
1
vote
4answers
161 views

How do you learn and remember 左 and 右?

Because 左 and 右 are so similar in the shape, I am wondering how do you learn and remember them? I need a good method to teach.
1
vote
2answers
396 views

Capitalization in Chinese

Many languages have uppercase and lowercase forms. English for example has lowercase a and uppercase A. Letters written in uppercase are known as being capitalized. Chinese, also, does have a form of ...
1
vote
1answer
131 views

written characters: bèi vs jiàn

I have two books displaying different meannings for characters that look the same to me: What is the difference (if any) among the character for "bèi" (shell, money) and "jiàn" (to see)?
1
vote
1answer
296 views

Learning Chinese using traditional characters [duplicate]

I believe in Taiwan people use traditional Chinese characters for writing whereas in China they use simplified characters. Assuming this information is correct I'd like to kindly request suggestions ...
1
vote
2answers
48 views

Name underlining (whole word or just part of it?)

This one question is similar, but doesn't quite answer what I am asking here. If I have a name + title (as in 张老师) how would the underlining work? Would I have to underline the whole word ("张老师") or ...
1
vote
2answers
475 views

Is there a definitive list of countries that use traditional chinese and those that use simplified chinese?

I have checked a number of websites, and although most agree about the main countries that use traditional and simplified Chinese, I am not sure about countries where there are mixed populations of ...
1
vote
1answer
106 views

What does this sentence mean in this hand writing?

What does this sentence mean in this hand writing? Thanks!
1
vote
0answers
50 views

What are some good (native) Chinese online message boards & forums? [closed]

One of my favorite ways to practice writing is by posting to discussion and Q&A forums, like Quora and StackExchange. Are there platforms similar to that in China? Or how can I find Chinese ...
1
vote
0answers
51 views

Learning to read Chinese but not speak [duplicate]

Are there good resources for learning Chinese from the ground up with a bias torwards reading and not speaking. For me the ability to read would be much more useful. Pronunciation is the hardest part ...