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Questions tagged [characters]

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

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1k views

Learn the characters at the same time as the language?

Should I learn Mandarin basics first through pinyin and worry about the characters later, or should I learn them together? Pros and cons?
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Is there a difference between 復習 and 複習?

Both words have the same pronunciation, and cdict and some other dictionaries list them as variants of each other. I note that when I try to type it on Google Pinyin Chinese IME, 複習 comes up and 復習 ...
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“Four-part” composition of characters

I would like to compile a list of characters where you can draw two lines in a + shape, running through the center of the character to cleanly separate it into four "components." Some leeway must be ...
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Why do some Chinese characters for animals not use the radical 犭?

why some Chinese words don't use the rule of prefix?
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What is na4zi4pang2 (pinyin) in the decomposition of na4 (那)?

The New Practical Chinese Reader introduces the following decomposition: na4 (那) = na4zi4pang2 + yi4 (阝). I understand that 阝 represents radical 163 (yi4). Na4zi4pang2 (pinyin) looks close to ...
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或: how did “region” become “either”?

The character 或 is used today for the meanings "or", "either", "maybe", and "perhaps". Historically, it had the meaning of "region", and it is this meaning that characters like 國 and 域 derive from. ...
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Why does 他没看书 use 没 and not 不 in this dialogue?

I was reviewing some old Anki cards that I created from HSK Standard Course 1 by Jiang Liping and I came across this dialogue: A: 喂你在做什么呢 B: 我在看书呢 A: 大卫也在看书吗 B: 他没看书。他在学做中国菜呢 A: Hello, what are you ...
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For which senses of simplified 制 would I use the traditional form 製?

Simplified characters do not always mirror their traditional counterparts one to one. Sometimes you have a simplified character where some of its senses have one traditional form and some have another ...
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417 views

Stroke order for 印

I've seen two different stroke orders for this character: and Which one is more "correct" or widely used? It seems to me that the fourth stroke in the latter picture is incorrect, and that it ...
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1answer
138 views

What is the difference between 濱 and 瀕?

Another pair of homonyms with similar/identical meaning. A dictionary check gives me this: 濱 (1) 水邊。如:「河濱」、「海濱」、「她喜歡在湖濱散步。」 (2) 靠近。如:「濱臨」、「濱海公路」。 瀕 (1) 水邊。如:「河瀕」、「江瀕」。 (2) 臨近、迫近。如:「瀕臨」、「瀕危」。 This ...
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Why is “xiang4” in 摄像 and 照相 different from each other?

Why is "xiang4" in 摄像 and 照相 different from each other? Other similar words are: 相片、相框、录像、影像、相机、摄像机 The xiang in each word seems have same meaning but with different form. Is that because 像 ...
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Character classification by type

Can anyone point me to an online resource that lists characters by classification? I.e., I'm looking for a list of characters that are generally considered pictographs / complex and simple ideographs /...
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Dictionary for Vietnamese to Chinese characters

I wanted to know if there are dictionaries (online or books) indicating the equivalent of Vietnamese syllables into Chinese characters. I do not search for Vietnamese to Chinese translations, but ...
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Mnemonic or Glyph Origin for 御

I can't fiugure out suitable mnemonic for 御. Does someone has a good idea?
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740 views

Wubihua / Traditional Chinese / Open-source index

I have been looking for an open-source index of Chinese characters (Traditional) indexed by the Wubihua (五筆劃). I have found only partial lists (up to four digits), and only for Simplified. I know ...
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Difference between 佈 and 布

Can anyone help me clarify the difference between 佈 and 布? If I'm not mistaken, this is only relevant for traditional characters since 佈 has been simplified to 布. A dictionary lookup for 佈 shows that ...
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1answer
994 views

How to display CJK Extension F?

The CJK F block is displayed on the wikipedia page CJK Unified Ideographs Extension F: I've tried updating Babel Han but they themselves say: Total Coverage Characters / Percentage CJK ...
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Pairs which are of the form AB / BA

I need help with 实现 v.s. 现实 and 罪犯 v.s. 犯罪. I find it hard to remember the distinction between these pairs which are of the form AB / BA. Can anyone help me grasp the underlying ideas/logic/feeling? ...
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186 views

When was 华/華 first used as a reference to China?

E.g. as in 中华 or 华语, and other similar words.
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Character layout in calligraphy e.g. with respect to a quotation from Confucius

I recently attended a brief introductory workshop about calligraphy at a Confucius Institute. The instructor, who also teaches at the local university and is both a calligrapher and painter from China,...
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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 ...
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Is 邏輯 a phono-semantic matching of the English word logic?

Wiktionary has the following entry for the etymology of 邏輯: Phono-semantic matching of English logic. However, the Chinese Wikipedia entry states the following: 當代中文一般採取音譯方式,將其譯為邏輯。 Which ...
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Meaning and use of ideograms around “language” : 说,话,语

I just arrived in this warm community and am glad to find a stackexchange about Chinese language. I merely began to learning Chinese and find it really exciting, yet many of uses and conventions are ...
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Is there any evidence that 90% of characters are phono-semantic compounds?

I've heard this claim a lot, from Chinese teachers in real life, and on this Wikipedia page, where the claim "At present, more than 90% of Chinese characters are phono-semantic compounds" lacks a ...
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Why use combined characters that have the same meaning?

(rèn shí ) both characters means ( to know)and when combined it still have the same meaning. So why can't I use only one of them ?
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Can a character be simplified or traditional depending on the context it is used in?

Are there any characters that are considered simplified in some contexts (where there would be a corresponding traditional character), and traditional in other contexts?
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Meaning of 翼 in 不翼而飞

The Chinese idiom " 不翼而飞" contains the character 翼 meaning wings, but how could one fly without wings? Here 不翼 = 无翼 ? I'm confused. I am aware of the fact that the saying means "vanish into the air ...
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663 views

Why are many Chinese characters almost symmetrical but not exactly symmetrical?

For example:西,南,而,憂,覚,蔸,悪,間,見,寓,凳,血,寠,and many others. Shapewise, they are almost symmetrical but not exactly symmetrical. Why are they not created as symmetrical characters? After all, symmetry is ...
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278 views

What is the meaning of 子 in words like 菓子(과자), 帽子(모자), or 獅子(사자)?

I'm learning Sino-Korean vocabulary at the moment and have noticed that many words seem to end in a '子' that doesn't seem to add much semantically to the other character in the word. What should I ...
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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 ...
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What does “kwukyel” mean in regards to Chinese language characters?

My Pleco always tells me two little hashes on the top of 汉字 such as. 兑 are "kwukyel". Can anyone point me to a reference that explains this term as it relates to Chinese language? ps -- I ...
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What is the top part of 姜 and why does it differ?

If you look at the character 姜, it seems like the top part is ⺷ and the bottom is 女, however some sources, Chinese-Characters, HanziJS and Wikimedia Commons show the phonetic radical as 羊. I'm the ...
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504 views

For the character“冒”,is the top part “日” or “曰”?

For the character"冒",is the top part "日" or "曰"? In general, are both "日" and "曰" used as a radical at the top of some characters? How to distinguish them?
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What are the characters on this seal?

What are the characters on this seal? Flipped image for easier reading:
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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 ...
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What does 自个 mean: “since a” or “onself”

As a title, I have found to meanings for 自个: "since a" or "oneself", what is correct and how to translate it?
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与世 How best translate in english

could please someine help me making sense of the following two hanzi characters 与世? Literally it would mean "and the world" but for me it does not fit into the following idioms : 与世无争 yǔ shì wú ...
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What are the relative literacy rates in for simplified and traditional characters?

I'm trying to decide whether it would be better to use traditional or simplified characters for an iPhone game I'm making. If something is written in traditional, how many people will be able to read ...
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How to describe 陈省身's name

Shiing-shen Chern, 陈省身 (1911--2004), is a famous geometer. When taking about him with Chinese people who do not study math and have not heard of him, how can I best describe which characters 陈, 省, ...
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Which characters typically occur only within names?

Does anyone know where I can find a list of characters that are, at least in common usage, found only as a component of names (especially of persons) in modern Chinese? I have in mind characters such ...
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Saying 'doubled' in Chinese 一倍 vs 两倍

I stumbled upon these 2 sentences: 这个城市人口比十年前增加了一倍 这个城市人口比十年前增加了两倍 The city’s population has doubled from a decade ago I though 倍 always multiplies the number standing in front of it, it seems ...
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How are the two versions of 別 / 别 used?

I've noticed that 別 / 别 have two slightly different variations. Is there any difference in how the respective variations are used?
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How do I type in a Chinese character that I don't know how to pronounce?

I often want to be able to type a character that I don't know how to pronounce. I've read online that most input systems let me type a "u" and then be able to type a radical in. This has had little ...
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Deciphering a seal

I have a friend who bought a buddha figure on a Chinese market. On its bottom there is this seal, written in seal script, that has an original size of 1.5cm × 1.5cm. Any idea what it means? The ...
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What and where is the connection between 压岁钱 and the character 岁 that appears in it?

During the Chinese New Year celebration, one of the various traditions is to give money to younger people in red envelopes. Usually they are given from elderly married couples to younger couples or ...
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Help please me find out what this means

I’m looking to find out what this means. Please help was handed down to me from my family
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砲響: were there cannons in ancient China?

After reading Romance of the Three Kingdoms, I was surprised to see a lot of references to 砲響 (the sound of cannonade). Here's a few examples: 嚴綱鼓譟吶喊,直取麴義,義軍見嚴綱兵來,都伏而不動;直到來得至近,一聲砲響,八百弓弩手一齊俱發。 ...
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Why do some Chinese characters have multiple simplified variants?

According to Unihan database some Chinese characters have multiple simplified variants. For example the Chinese character 鍾 have 2 simplified variants: 钟 and 锺 How it could happen? What is the ...
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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?
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Is there a list of characters specifically used for western proper nouns?

When learning country/place names or reading about non-Chinese people in the media I see the same characters used for similar phonemes (see these celebrities). What rule or list do the writers follow ...