Does Chinese have sets of phrases that cover both basic and complex strokes that are memorizable?


Within Alphabetic based languages we would be able to practice handwriting using a pangram


Victor jagt zwölf Boxkämpfer quer über den großen Sylter Deich

When zombies arrive, quickly fax judge Pat

This way we can practice writing in a real application because it utilizes the full alphabet of a given language

"Eight Principles of Yong" (image below) does contain the basic strokes but it's as useful for handwriting practice as writing out the alphabet in alphabetic based languages. Good for learning the basics but not practical once you start writing out fully qualified sentences.

Eight Principles of Yong

"Thousand Character Classic" was another piece I found but it's impractical to use as there is no way I can memorize

Lastly I found the question "How to improve my Chinese writing" to be very useful but only to the extent of how to critic ones own handwriting not so much on what to write out to review

Definitions used

To qualify the difference between basic and complex strokes below is picture of the Unicode CJK standard for strokes

enter image description here

1 Answer 1


I think you've pretty much answered your question. No there is no exact equivalent - an easily-memorised group of phrases that you can write repeatedly, to practice handwriting. There are two options:

  • For basic practice of writing strokes, Eight Principles of Yong is fine; you may even practice one stroke repeatedly, for example if you were doing brush calligraphy
  • To practice getting the shape and positioning of strokes/characters right, it is necessary to practice with a large corpus. Thousand Character Classic is a good option but you can substitute with your favourite poem or article. The point is to practice writing strokes and radicals that are different shapes and sizes, and getting their proportions right.
  • 4
    This depends on the situation, but if we're dealing with second language learners, I'm not sure using the classic is a good idea, because it contains many characters that aren't very useful today (昃, 羌, 柰, etc.). If we're going to practice handwriting, I suggest writing something the learner can actually understand and which is useful beyond handwriting itself. So, copying anything in modern Chinese would be much better, in my opinion.
    – Olle Linge
    Oct 16, 2013 at 3:29
  • To add on to @OlleLinge's point I clarified it need to be memorizable because it would be repeated over and over, 永 only covers the 8 basic and writing out the Thousand Character Classic over and over would be like teaching someone to write english by transcribing every odd page of the dictionary. It's to much of overkill
    – 50-3
    Oct 16, 2013 at 5:26

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