Questions tagged [writing]

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

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46
votes
9answers
19k 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 ...
25
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15answers
4k 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 ...
22
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4answers
2k 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?
17
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2answers
8k 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 ...
15
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9answers
20k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
995 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. ...
11
votes
5answers
9k 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.
11
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3answers
620 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
10
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3answers
4k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
3k 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, ...
8
votes
1answer
34k 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?
8
votes
1answer
255 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?
7
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2answers
378 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
7
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1answer
662 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
735 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k 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 "...
5
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4answers
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 ...
5
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3answers
221 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, ...
5
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6answers
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?
5
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3answers
196 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. ...
5
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
739 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
133 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". ...
5
votes
1answer
399 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
245 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
196 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. ...
4
votes
6answers
6k 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?
4
votes
1answer
149 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;...
4
votes
1answer
193 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
242 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. ...
4
votes
1answer
258 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
388 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
127 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
236 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 ...
3
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
565 views

Why is 开 written within a 门 in this sign (without being written 開)?

This sign is in the hallway near our lab. I believe it says: 南开大学:现代光学研究所 Nánkāi dàxué: Xiàndài guāngxué yánjiū suǒ But the 开 is written inside a 门. I thought it would be a traditional ...
3
votes
2answers
151 views

How did three characters for _de_ emerge?

I understand that there are three characters for de depending on the usage: 跑得快 快地跑 快的车 Would anyone know how it evolved into different characters when the purpose and pronunciation are similar?
3
votes
2answers
690 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
261 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
442 views

How widely used are 印章 compared to signatures?

印章 appear all over chinese works, especially in the past. Most noticeably in documents relating to business and arts, companies and individuals would use seals in place of signatures. In modern ...
3
votes
3answers
208 views

Phonetic clue of characters in languages or dialects other than Mandarin?

Many characters are made up of a semantic and a phonetic part. Is the phonetic part only valid with regards to Mandarin pronounciation? Or not even for Mandarin in all cases? Or does it work with ...
3
votes
2answers
211 views

Cannot recognise a chinese chracter handwriting

Can anyone else tell me what the last character is please?
3
votes
1answer
49 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'...
3
votes
3answers
318 views

Does cursive script have any order logic?

I think most people know the basic rules of character writing, like from top to bottom, left to right, etc., but it seems that the rules don't work at all when it comes to cursive writing. Question: ...
3
votes
1answer
583 views

What is proper way to WRITE “knock-knock”?

What is a proper way to write knock-knock (the sound of knocking in the door) in Chinese?