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Questions tagged [writing]

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

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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
  • 1,023
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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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
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
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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
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
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
2 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is there an official stroke order for each character?

I’m a learner of Japanese for now some years, and I really like kanji, or chinese characters, and I’ve recently taken some interest in the Chinese language though I don’t intend to learn it. My ...
Martin's user avatar
  • 21
2 votes
2 answers
11k views

Spacing Guidelines for Modern Chinese Writing

Given that Chinese characters don't need to have any spacing between them (from here), in that they don't need whitespace between words, or even between paragraphs or chapters, then you could just ...
Lance's user avatar
  • 1,246
1 vote
3 answers
246 views

Can 上 always be used like English ” ” (i.e.: same as above)?

In English parts or fragments of sentences can simple be duplicated with ditto marks, here's an example from Wikipedia: Black pens, box of twenty ..... $2.10 Blue ” ” ” ” ..... ...
Mou某's user avatar
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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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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
  • 10.2k
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
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
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
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
5 votes
1 answer
579 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
2 answers
352 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
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
1 answer
258 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
  • 1,246
3 votes
1 answer
107 views

Are Characters customized in different provinces due to dialectal differences?

In other character-based writing systems such as Chu Nomh, Kanji, and Hanja, there are customized characters due to regional dialects. Has this occurred with Simplified at all? Or has the government ...
Qiangong2's user avatar
  • 199
3 votes
1 answer
289 views

When did 像 become the 'proper' form for "to be like"/"to resemble"?

A book I have from 1987 uses 象 to mean "to be like"/"to resemble." For instance it defines 粗沙沙 as: 形容感觉不细腻,象沙一样粗糙 Nowadays this would be considered a wrong 错别字. The book, though, is only thirty ...
Mou某's user avatar
  • 36k
1 vote
2 answers
1k views

If you can use Chinese nouns as verbs, or vice versa

In English you have words like "badge" which are typically a noun, but they can also be verbs, "They need to badge in" to use their keycard to get in. Shortly, "Badge in please". You can have other ...
Lance's user avatar
  • 1,246
1 vote
2 answers
447 views

Is the layout of the Chinese characters relevant to the meaning?

I am new to Chinese but have seen documents where the layout of the characters seems to fit certain patterns, and I'm wondering if it is significant in some way. For example, one is this: 是以成神,名曰石拆神,...
Lance's user avatar
  • 1,246