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30
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
697 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?
15
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 ...
12
votes
2answers
585 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
10
votes
9answers
2k 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?
8
votes
6answers
501 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
2answers
1k 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
264 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
166 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?
5
votes
4answers
903 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
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
301 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
301 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

How to (hand) write Chinese character 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 note while in class.
4
votes
3answers
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
219 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
401 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
2answers
79 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
144 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
4k 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
3answers
126 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
3answers
70 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
63 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
256 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
178 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
2k 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
267 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
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
145 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)?
1
vote
4answers
118 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
93 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
212 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
51 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
98 views

What does this sentence mean in this hand writing?

What does this sentence mean in this hand writing? Thanks!
1
vote
0answers
48 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
236 views

Are there words in Mandarin written by characters for other words that mean the same thing?

For example, in written Chinese 给 is used a ideograph for "to give" and is read with whatever the word for "to give" is in the various languages, even if the word is not cognate or in any way related ...
0
votes
4answers
122 views

Logic behind the strokes of complex characters

I am learning Chinese now, and we've been introduced to Chinese characters as 'pictograms'. I understand the logic behind some characters, like 口 mouth to and 人 person. But, what about complex ...
0
votes
2answers
126 views

chinese essay review? [closed]

I just started to learn Chinese a few years ago but I find essay-writing especially difficult. For example, the following essay took me about 45 minutes to an hour and I was told that it had poor word ...
0
votes
1answer
84 views

What are ways to create “simplifed” Chinese characters?

Most Chinese characters have two parts, a radical and a phonetic. So different ways to simplify them might include the following: 1) Simplify the radical, retain the phonetic. Example: 调 2) Simplify ...
0
votes
3answers
168 views

Is there such a thing as a run-on-sentence in Chinese?

In Chinese articles I often find these long, never-ending, main-point-less sentences. For instance check out these three sentence-paragraphs from this news article ("请给90后创业者多一些宽容") ...
-2
votes
2answers
79 views

Help Editing Short Monologue [closed]

Is anyone willing to help me edit this monologue for grammatical errors? If so, I would really appreciate it. I have also included the pinyin in case it helps to understand what I meant. I have chosen ...
-2
votes
2answers
160 views

Need to know how to type specific kanji found in image

I am making a website for a friend. He has a (very) low quality logo for me to use. I want to remake the logo but it contains kanji. I do not know how to read kanji so I do not know how to remake ...