Questions tagged [characters]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
1
vote
1answer
106 views

Complete end-to-end reference guide

I was wondering if there is for chinese language a web site similar to the following made for japanese language: http://www.imabi.net http://www.guidetojapanese.org They are both a reference for ...
2
votes
3answers
221 views

How do Chinese students write words whose characters they haven't learned?

To clarify, I mean Chinese schoolchildren who may, for whatever reason, need to express a word that they haven't learned the character for, e.g., 餐 in 晚餐. Would they use pinyin, like 晚cān, or ...
2
votes
2answers
185 views

What is the relation between 寨 (zhài, “stockade, stronghold, fort”) and 塞 (sài, “place of strategic importance; pass; fortress”)?

Most dictionaries say 寨 = 塞 + 木, but on its face, we could just as easily have 塞 = 寨 + 土.
9
votes
2answers
4k views

Stroke order database

I'd like to provide SVG, or at least GIF stroke order diagrams on my website. Is there a database similar to the Japanese KanjiVG, but for Simplified and Traditional hanzi? If not, is there a free ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do some Chinese characters for animals not use the radical 犭?

why some Chinese words don't use the rule of prefix?
2
votes
2answers
230 views

Ordering and grouping of Chinese characters

I'm learning Cantonese (native Danish speaker, I use traditional Chinese characters) and I'm compiling a list of characters that I've learned. I have two questions about creating this list. Since (...
2
votes
1answer
81 views

What is the difference between the different words for street: 街,路 etc?

Some street names end with 路 and some with 街. I was curious to know if there is any difference in the meaning of the two words. When I look them up in a dictionary both say "street". Are they the ...
3
votes
1answer
130 views

How do I know whether to write the written character or printed character?

I'm often finding differences in the printed form of the character than the written form, and I'm not sure which one to use. For example, in 窗, the typed character sometimes contains legs 儿, but the ...
1
vote
2answers
296 views

减/減 (Reduce/Subtract/Decrease/Diminish): What's it got to do with water?

So here we have 冫+咸 (or 氵+咸) = 减(減). 减(減) means something along the lines of reduce/subtract/decrease/diminish or what have you. What has water got to do with this though? Logically one would ...
1
vote
2answers
244 views

What's the relationship between 暖, 爱 and 愛?

I was curious when I noticed that 暖 contains the character 爱, so I thought that in the traditional form, it would have 愛, the traditional form of 爱. But it appears that 暖 has the same form in both ...
14
votes
3answers
820 views

Why is 月 used when speaking about anatomy?

One thing I've been curious about while learning Chinese is the use of 月 in many 汉字 representing anatomical features (for example, 脸, 腰, or 腿). What is the etymology of the use of 月 as a radical?
0
votes
2answers
144 views

Is it ok to use 他 as a gender neutral personal pronoun (instead of 她) when the subject is known to be female?

Is it ok to use 他 as a gender neutral personal pronoun (as it used to be before 她 was introduced) even if I know that the subject is female? Example: 他是我妹妹 vs 他是我妹妹
7
votes
4answers
422 views

Is there an authoritative list of most frequent to most infrequent pronunciations for individual Chinese characters?

I'm working on a dictionary tool that provides, as an auto-assist, transcription of Chinese characters into corresponding (Modern Standard Mandarin) pinyin+tones on a naive, character-per-character ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

What's the translation of 这是瘤売肉?

I'm a Chinese Novel translator and and I'm sort of having problems translating this: 这是瘤売肉。
-4
votes
4answers
2k views

When searching in Chinese, why do things always come up in traditional characters?

I noticed that after a few attempts using google to search in Chinese, every result I was getting was written in traditional characters (even despite me searching in Mandarin, simplified characters). ...
4
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
26
votes
5answers
2k views

Why isn't 四 four lines? (the origin of 一 二 三 四 五 六 七 八 九)

A common experience of beginner hanzi students is their raised hopes and expectations when they learn 一 二 三 - "what a wonderfully elegant language!" - which are promptly crushed when they encounter 四. ...
0
votes
3answers
103 views

What is the oldest retracable meaning for the character/word 臾?

臾 (yu2) in classical Chinese means "for a while". I assume "for a while" was not the original meaning this character was associated with in the time when it came, by what mysterious brain activity ...
2
votes
1answer
130 views

Glyph origins: are explanations in such dictionaries authoritative or just later vague interpretations?

I know this topic has been discussed in quite a few questions post on this site. My question concerns the 'authoritativeness' of such glyph origins based on the decomposition of characters. Here's ...
10
votes
1answer
698 views

How is the Kanji character 豚 related to the chinese 猪 / 豬

The Chinese character for pig is 猪 / 豬 (zhu1) In many Japanese restaurants around Hong Kong I've seen this somewhat different character 豚 which appears to also mean pig. How would you say it in ...
34
votes
11answers
6k views

Etymology of the Chinese number characters (一二三四五六七八九十百千)

Main Question: What is the glyph origin of the Chinese number characters (一二三四五六七八九十百千)? Related question: Why isn't 四 four lines? (the origin of 一 二 三 四 五 六 七 八 九) I decide to write a Q&A-...
1
vote
2answers
271 views

Is there any website of where I can look up the origins of a Chinese character? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What etymology dictionaries are available? What was this online dictionary's name with ancient traditional and simplified characters and etymology? I always wanted to see ...
4
votes
1answer
151 views

Etymological character reference [duplicate]

Is there an authoritative etymological reference for characters? It looks like all books I'm reading about Chinese characters have their own explanation. To me, all of them seem reliable, but I ...
4
votes
2answers
732 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 becomes ...
4
votes
2answers
189 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?
0
votes
1answer
154 views

Why is 遞 = (辶 + (厂 + 虎))?

遞 is most commonly used, nowadays, to mean "to pass" -or- "to give". Here's the definition of its simplified counterpart 递 given on zisea: ①传送,传达:传~。投~。~送。~交。~眼色(以目示意)。呈~国书。 ②顺着次序:~补。~变。~增。~减。...
5
votes
2answers
285 views

丼: why is “well” also “bowl of food”?

丼 is an ancient variant of 井, which means "well" (as in the water kind). What's curious is that the former seems to also mean "bowl of food", at least in some dictionaries: 汉典: English bowl ...
15
votes
2answers
950 views

Are 乒 and 乓 used in classical chinese?

乒乓 is the modern word for ping pong, based around onomatopoeia (and similarity to 兵 for phonetic element) and, as some people claim, shape. I was wondering if this shape explanation is true, or little ...
1
vote
4answers
1k 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
199 views

Does 宝 have its own history separate from 寶?

I was trying to figure out the characters for Sapporo, the Japanese beer, the other day and found: 七宝 was one of the translations for it. My initial reaction was to search 「七寶」 in my Japanese ...
1
vote
1answer
151 views

What are the etymologies of 局 and 局面?

As far as I know 局 applies to everything which demands crooking ones body. A job behind a desk almost always means you are sitting with your back bent: A small office is 局, a chess game is 局, a game ...
4
votes
2answers
739 views

Why is the character 漢 built in such a weird way?

漢 is the character meaning "China" or "Sino-". It supposedly ultimately derives from the name of the river Han. I understand why the water radical is present there, but I have no idea why the ...
0
votes
2answers
94 views

Is there any compilation/resources/dictionaries on the transformations of how simplified characters came to be?

I had the same question as the OP of What is the story or reason of how 龙 came from 龍? and I like visuals given by Stan. The hardest part for me in Chinese is remembering the strokes of these ...
2
votes
2answers
347 views

What is the purpose of the 賣 (卖) component in the character 讀 (读)?

Most sources I can find say that 讀 (读) is a phonosemantic compound (形聲), where 言 is the semantic component and 賣 is the phonetic component. However, the pronunciation of 賣 (mài) does not resemble 讀 (...
0
votes
2answers
217 views

What is the origin of the character “糬” seeminly only used in “麻糬” to translate a Japanese word which doesn't use either character?

I was just given some mochi by a Taiwanese host in Kaohsiung. So I decided to look up the local word and found "麻糬" máshǔ. It's a transliteration of Japanese "mochi", which is written 餅 in that ...
2
votes
2answers
540 views

Why does 写 not have a dot on top?

Many hanzi have a roof on top, including a dot. From the HSK2 list, we have: 客 家 字 完 室 安 它 The commonly used hanzi 写 is unlike these because it does not have a dot on top. Chinese-tools.com ...
1
vote
3answers
223 views

Radicals vs glyph origins (specifically for character 肚 in 肚 子)

I am trying to learn some vocabulary and am looking at the radicals to help me remember. The problem is, the radicals in some characters don't seem to make sense to me at all. In 肚, the two radicals ...
2
votes
1answer
121 views

Why is 伴 used for buddy?

Is it true that 伴 comes from the word, 半(half) and thus can be interpreted as (significant other person)?
0
votes
1answer
119 views

Difference between 傍晚 and 晚上 and their etymology

As in the title. Are there any cases when these two are interchangeable? If yes, when? What are the nuances that distinguish them? It would be great if one can tackle the etymology of the two.
0
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the best way to memorize Chinese characters?

I think the best way to memorize Chinese characters is learning Chinese character decomposition! See how it is easy to remember Chinese characters with the help of a simple analysis of the character ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

How can I search for a Chinese character when I see it on a picture?

Like, when I see a Chinese character in this picture: What is the best way to find more information about this character (unlike English, there're only 26 letters, and I can type them and google. ...
-2
votes
2answers
92 views

how many characters should i learn? [closed]

How many characters should the absolute beginner learn and how many years does it take to learn? I read that number between 3000-4000 characters, but I do not know how everyone with the same number ...
1
vote
1answer
103 views

Three Chinese characters (?) on the entrance of the History Museum of Ho Chi Minh city

Since visiting the museum, I've been very curious about these three characters (shown below). I've unsuccessfully tried to search it on the Internet. Their pretty calligraphic style is one of the ...
8
votes
2answers
263 views

What is the part without the radical called?

For example, these characters have different radicals: 根 跟 恨 狠 But the part of the characters minus the radical is the same. Does that part (艮 in this case) have a name?
25
votes
5answers
7k views

How can one determine the radical for a given character?

Many times, when reading Mandarin, I will happen across a character that I don't know. Usually, the radical along with some context will clue me into the meaning, but if I can't determine the radical, ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

The examples make no sense (translation)

I have a kid's book for learning "378汉字.“ Each page has six or eight entries, each comprising a photo, the character, and what I suppose is an example of use. But none of the examples make any sense....
1
vote
3answers
123 views

Stroke practice

Is there a sentence in Mandarin either traditional or modern that uses all the strokes. Similar to " The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" used to teach typing
1
vote
3answers
316 views

Can I always write the 艹 (grass radical) with three lines only?

The 艹 (grass radical) is present in for example 歡 and 貓 and 喵 In some fonts it's rendered as two separate crosses 十十, in some as one horizontal line with two vertical lines crossing it. Can I always ...
14
votes
5answers
15k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
244 views

Why can't I write the character 台 in my pinyin input method?

I'm on Linux and using Sunpinyin and Linpinyin input methods. In both, when I input "tai" I never get any suggestion of the character that I somethimes want: 台. I must be doing something wrong, but ...