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The earliest texts with 乒乓 I can find is vernacular novels of Ming dynasty. 《西遊記》 Journey to the West as an example: 如此二三日，又聽得後宰門乒乓乒乓，磚瓦亂響。——Chapter 10 他掄槍舞劍，一擁前來，照行者劈頭亂砍，乒乒乓乓，砍有七八十下。——Chapter 14 乒乒乓乓，好便似殘年爆竹；潑潑喇喇，卻就如軍中炮聲。——Chapter 16 “乒” and “乓” are used together as onomatopoetic in history. :)
Generally putting XX is fine unless formal. People use that a lot orally. X is usually pronounced as 叉, but can vary based on region. Formally and also very commonly for missing name is using 某. 王某 (someone with surname 王 and one-character given name) 王某某 (someone with surname 王 and two-character given name) 某某/某某某 (very general, someone with unknown ...
□ (white square) is used to indicate that some characters are missing or unrecognizable. Each white square correspond to one such character. See 虚缺号的用法.
么 has lost most of its lexical meaning in modern usage, but it appears to have originally been derived from the word 物, meaning 'thing'. Chinese by Jerry Norman, pp. 119-20 makes mention of the etymology of various modern words featuring 么: In an insightful article, Zhāng Hùiyīng (1982) has shown that shénme 什么, the standard modern word for 'what', comes ...
In 春秋左傳 (722/468 BCE). http://ctext.org/chun-qiu-zuo-zhuan has the statement 楚失華夏. Huaxia used to denote tribes that later became the Han people, and later the term shifted to symbolize China. Hua is the beautiful clothes worn by the Chinese, xia is for the grandness of the culture. 「中國有禮儀之大，故稱夏；有服章之美，謂之華。」《春秋左傳正義》 References: Wikipedia: Huaxia ...
There is a better link to the article that is quoted above in this post on Sina Blog, which will let you search the whole article in your browser. The article mentions the use of 合音字 in Qionglai and related Sichuan dialects, i.e. one character writing two syllables. Examples the author gives include “不晓” 写作 “表”，and “那样” 写作 “浪”. Possibly 娘 is simply a 合音字 ...
乒 is onomatopoetic, like bang! or crack! 乓 is a complementary character to 乒, to denote 乒乓 table tennis, ping pong. They are not used in classical Chinese. 乒 may be used in older vernacular texts, but all modern usage is about table tennis, if zdic.net and Wenlin are to be trusted.
As Claw says, 去 is the historical character for it. This could come from 文白异读, that is, literary/colloquial readings. That would make sense, because colloquial readings are often either more innovative, or are a throwback. Another option would be borrowing it from another variety, e.g. Cantonese keoi.
Here's a partially supported theory. I hope someone comes up with better evidence: The closest translation of 什么 into 成都话 is 啥(子) = sa˩˧ tsɿ˥˧. I believe that the 娘 in question is actually 哪 in a certain context. For evidence, I give the following example. 怎样 is 哪个样(子) = naŋ˥˧ ko˩˧ iaŋ˩˧ tsɿ˥˧. I don't have the foggiest clue why 哪 is only in some ...
You can practice handwriting on a copybook. Though some thinks that the writings in a copybook is not true Chinese calligraphy, copybooks are enough for handwriting practice. Beginners usually start from writing Zhengkai (正楷). After mastering Zhengkai, you can practice semi-cursive script (行书). Remember to choose a right pen for you and turn on enough ...
If you want to have a quantitative answer you can look at the commulative character frequencies of larger Chinese text corpora. If compiled a list of the most common Chinese characters here (using this code). There you can see that if you know the 100 most common characters, you can recognize one third of the characters on Wikipedia. If you know the most ...
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