Questions tagged [writing]

Questions related to written Chinese. Note: there are separate tags for 'handwriting' and 'characters'.

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52 votes
9 answers
24k 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 ...
Cocowalla's user avatar
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26 votes
17 answers
5k 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 ...
mugetsu's user avatar
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23 votes
5 answers
13k views

Lowest pixel resolution needed to support Chinese?

We are creating a product which has an small embedded OLED display (64 x 48 pixels). We would love to support Chinese in this product and wonder what is that smallest resolution that would be needed ...
TheGrovesy's user avatar
23 votes
4 answers
3k views

How can I get better at 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?
Don Kirkby's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
8k 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 ...
Village's user avatar
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17 votes
8 answers
25k views

How to improve my Chinese handwriting?

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 ...
going's user avatar
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13 votes
3 answers
7k 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 ...
Falko's user avatar
  • 395
13 votes
2 answers
1k views

How are blanks indicated for placeholders in Chinese (like ???)

In English, in the middle of a sentence if data is being left blank (such as an unknown date, or a name to be filled in at a later time), commonly you see ???, ___ (underscore(s)), or -- to mark this. ...
sqrtbottle's user avatar
  • 1,445
12 votes
7 answers
2k 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 ...
going's user avatar
  • 10.2k
12 votes
5 answers
12k views

How to (hand) write Chinese characters 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 notes while in class.
Meandering's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
760 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 ...
Tang Nawen's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
59k 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?
Be Brave Be Like Ukraine's user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
2k views

written characters: yuē vs rì

I have some troubles in distinguishing written characters 曰 yuē (to speak) and 日 rì (sun). Although they singularly look different on computers (maybe yuē look a bit wider, while rì is taller), I find ...
Starnuto di topo's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
5k 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 not, ...
TrustedDeveloper's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
282 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?
Don Kirkby's user avatar
  • 3,357
7 votes
2 answers
463 views

Bottom component of 青 and 䏍

When learning how to write, I had always assumed that the lower component of the left component 䏍 of 能 was just a lower variant of 月. A couple of days ago, however, I decided to look it up, and I ...
Jonathan Gleason's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
Alenanno's user avatar
  • 6,485
7 votes
2 answers
840 views

Why would this insect pest poster in Taiwan have phonetic characters (Zhuyin) on every Chinese character?

In my Biology SE question Identify this large, beige or pine cone-colored squareish beetle and/or the pine cone it's on? I included a snapshot of a poster I saw when hiking. I was told that it advises ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 403
7 votes
4 answers
644 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 ...
timginn's user avatar
  • 91
6 votes
3 answers
3k 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 "...
pwnall's user avatar
  • 193
6 votes
6 answers
3k 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?
Cocowalla's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
3k 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 ...
going's user avatar
  • 10.2k
6 votes
1 answer
893 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 ...
Question Marks's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
302 views

Are there text-based online roleplaying games which can be used for practicing Chinese writing?

Many years ago I played Cantr II. It's a text-based role playing game, but it's different to most: the aim of the game is not to "level up" or kill monsters. In fact there's no specified "goal". ...
Becky 李蓓's user avatar
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5 votes
6 answers
3k views

Is it viable to write Chinese in emoji?

I know this may be an absurd question. It's just a silly curiosity of mine. If I have a sentence like "the horse walks to the mountain to eat apples," which I very clumsily translate (...
Carlos Arturo Serrano's user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
2k 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 ...
Zann Anderson's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
257 views

How to indicate "long pronunciation" in writing in Chinese?

In English I can change "what the heck" to something like "what the heeckkkkkk" when writing in order to show that the pronunciation of "heck" is being dragged out. When writing Chinese characters, ...
michaeljan's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
290 views

Braille and Chinese Input

Is it possible to use a Braille keyboard to input chinese with the pinyin input method? How could a blind user ever be able to choose the right character combination if they cannot see it? The words ...
Jack Maddington's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is it correct to say the standard for written Chinese is Mandarin, regardless of dialect (e.g. Cantonese)?

I've looked for this question on the site but can't seem to find it. I'm interested in learning Chinese, well, Cantonese specifically, and I want to focus on both the written and spoken components. ...
Sigma's user avatar
  • 153
5 votes
2 answers
3k views

Writing direction on seals

I am experimenting with an online seal generator, the text I have entered is 一千五百 and I have noticed that the characters go first from top right to bottom right, then from bottom left to top left. Is ...
imrek's user avatar
  • 7,188
5 votes
1 answer
555 views

What is a non-gender specific way to specify a group of people when writing Chinese

If you write 'they' (tāmen) in Chinese characters, you have to be specific about the gender: 他们 / 她们 / 它们 All of them mean 'they' but what do you use if you mean a group mixed with men and women?
M. Gruber's user avatar
4 votes
11 answers
3k 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.
PdotWang's user avatar
  • 4,130
4 votes
6 answers
769 views

Why native speakers always say "一块钱" and write "一元钱 "instead of "壹圆钱"?

The 1 RMB notes has the Chinese word "壹圆". In spoken Chinese, I hear many native speakers say "一块钱" instead of "壹圆钱"。In written Chinese, I have seen "一元钱" more than "壹圆钱". My questions: In spoken ...
Zuriel's user avatar
  • 2,005
4 votes
2 answers
233 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. ...
Mou某's user avatar
  • 35.9k
4 votes
4 answers
3k views

What are the normal forms of valediction (signing off letters and emails) 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 ...
jaffa's user avatar
  • 856
4 votes
3 answers
769 views

How are Chinese people taught Chinese Hanzi?

I don't study Chinese at all, nor have any plans to, I just wanted wanted to ask a basic question on how Chinese people learn Hanzi. I study Japanese, so I study Kanji, which is the use of Chinese ...
ワニの瞬間's user avatar
4 votes
6 answers
9k 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?
TheRealFakeNews's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
11k 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)?
user76935's user avatar
  • 361
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

How do non-Mandarin speakers type Standard Chinese Writing System?

As far as I know, people in Hong Kong speak Cantonese but use Mandarin when writing official documents or homework using Mandarin. 粤语白话字 is not allowed in such cases. How does this work? Does this ...
炸鱼薯条德里克's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
247 views

Different first stroke forms of 月 (yuè)

There seem to be two different forms of the first stroke in 月 (yuè). When the character stands alone by itself ("moon"), then the stroke seems to bend to the left after going straight down, ...
Forgotmypassword's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
515 views

What are characters called when they have three of the same radical used?

I sometimes encounter characters like 鑫, which is made of three 金 radicals, or 龘, which is made of three 龍 radicals. What are they called and is there a reason for their existence? Ive tried looking ...
user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
255 views

What did the original Tao Te Ching use for punctuation?

When you look at the Chinese versions of the Tao Te Ching online (here, here, and elsewhere), there are periods (。), commas, semicolons, question marks, and exclamation marks! 道可道,非常道。名可名,非常名。無名天地之始;...
Lance's user avatar
  • 1,216
4 votes
2 answers
350 views

Should tone sandhi be written in pinyin?

Tone sandhi is a phonological change occurring in tonal languages, in which the tones assigned to individual words or morphemes change based on the pronunciation of adjacent words or morphemes. ...
marcanuy's user avatar
  • 655
4 votes
1 answer
62 views

Most appropriate word for proxy/substitute/surrogate

Please forgive my lack of knowledge of Chinese. I'm doing book research and am looking for the most appropriate word for 'proxy' in the sense of a substitute or surrogate. For the sake of clarity, let'...
valoukh's user avatar
  • 143
4 votes
1 answer
521 views

How to write your original (non-Chinese) and Chinese name, jointly

What is the most appropriate way to write both your non-Chinese, as well as your Chinese name, in one text line combined, e.g. at the bottom or top of a document. Clarification: by this, I mean that ...
O0123's user avatar
  • 385
4 votes
1 answer
298 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 is ...
Mou某's user avatar
  • 35.9k
4 votes
1 answer
712 views

Job requirements for typing Chinese

Many government positions in Taiwan have typing speed requirements. In Taipei city job announcements I've found which mention this requirement, the minimum runs from 40-60 characters a minute. This ...
wpt's user avatar
  • 4,345
4 votes
3 answers
143 views

Are [ɚ] and [ər] interchangeable for (儿化) er-hua?

I've got different resources doing different things for er-hua, e.g.: 包儿 resource material #1 [pər] resource material #2 [pɚ] is [ɚ] and [ər] interchangeable for (儿化) er-hua? I would hazard ...
Mou某's user avatar
  • 35.9k
3 votes
2 answers
451 views

What does 甘蝦 mean when used as an answer to 保重? (Taiwan)

On Taiwanese Facebook page I read a conversation under a post from a hospital. A lot of people of course write 保重 (get well), and the poster answers 甘蝦 to all of them. When looking up this in a ...
PetaspeedBeaver's user avatar
3 votes
7 answers
5k views

My Chinese Character Writing 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 ...
Cody's user avatar
  • 133