26

I found the same situation, living in China for quite some time, and unlike some other people who have answered, I understand exactly what you're asking. It was quite annoying to try to learn new words when the native speaker just tells you the meaning of 3 characters together and doesn't know or can't explain each character's meaning. I think the answer is ...


16

Children usually go to grade 1 at the age of 6 or 7 in China. According to "全日制义务教育语文课程标准", the character number that children should learn is: Grade 1 to Grade 2: can read 1600 characters, and write 800 characters; Grade 3 to Grade 4: can read 2500 characters, and write 2000 characters; Grade 5 to Grade 6: can read 3000 characters, and write 2500 ...


13

Chinese characters and phonetics You say: Unlike English, Chinese is not a spelling language, which means there is no hint from the characters for pronunciation!!! Luckily for us, that's not true! Actually, by some estimates, almost 90% of characters have a phonetic component to them. To understand what that actually means, you have to know how characters ...


12

If you're only going one week, just learn some Mandarin. The advantages of learning Mandarin is that there are a lot of free resources, cheap and useful phrase books, and most people you will run into will understand Mandarin. I've been studying Minnanhua (spoken in Fujian and pretty much mutually intelligible with Taiwanese) for about a year and I ...


12

There are Chinese-language-only reasons like the many mutually-unintelligible dialects/topolects, the huge difference between spoken and written Chinese languages, but this doesn't explain why subtitling is ubiquitous, even when the entire show is in perfect Mandarin. This is because subtitles are somewhat required under PRC state authorities, so there are ...


11

Learn Chinese I could just assume you mean that you want to learn to speak Mandarin Chinese, but I'd like you to take a moment to share what you mean by "learn chinese." Since it will likely be the hardest thing you've ever tried to do, I'd recommend you consider the following: Mandarin is the most popular dialect and the official language spoken ...


10

Popular perspective : “猫熊”变“熊猫” 抗日战争期间,在重庆举办了一次动物标本展览,正式对公众展出了“猫熊”这种动物的标本。当时人们写汉字的顺序还是从右到左,可是写“猫熊”时,却依了英文的书写顺序,从左到右了。结果,“猫熊”让观众念成了“熊猫”。这次展览,是熊猫首次在大众面前亮相,影响很大,“熊猫”之名也传播开了。 [ In 1940s, at an exhibition of panda specimen, the name of panda is written from left to right as 猫熊 in accordance with the English name. But at that time people were used to reading ...


9

This is a difficult questions, since most people are quite religious about this topic. For some reason they prefer one over the other and say this one is the best one to learn first. Learning Chinese characters takes a huge effort and most need many years for that, however once you know one set learning the other one is relatively easy. Wiki says that ...


8

Some reasons I'm surprised weren't mentioned above: 1) Written stroke order is still the primary system for looking up characters in a dictionary! Yes, you can break them down by radicals & composition, but if you don't know stroke count/order (because you've never written them yourself) you'll likely fail to find what you're looking for. 2) If you ...


8

try "http://www.wannalearn.com/" search "chinese" "http://www.openculture.com/freelanguagelessons" scroll down to "chinese" section "https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Main_Page"


8

You can find some bookstores near the Elementary Schools (小學). If you see some signs like 國小參考書, go to find 參考書 (references) or 評量題 (examinations) for the first or second grade (一、二年級). 參考書 include the teachings in the textbooks and some Q&A. 評量題 have only Q&A. You should know that all of them are totally in Chinese, no English. (Ask your ...


7

I personally believe that every character has its function in the sentence, but not all characters have a "translatable" meaning. Many characters, when they are added to the sentence, don't change the literal meaning of the sentence, but may create an emphasis or introduce a certain emotion, and there is no English equivalent to this phenomenon. Maybe that's ...


7

Children go to grade 1 at the age of 7 and when they graduated from the primary school (grade 6), they should know at least 2500 characters, and the target made by the China Ministry of Education is as follows: grade 1~2: learn 1600 characters grade 3~6: learn 900 characters about your 3rd question, I think it should be the time for Chinese lessons, there ...


7

This list roughly groups the 5568 most common characters over the nine years of compulsory education in Taiwan. You didn't specify if you were looking for simplified or traditional, but since I only know of this one source and it's traditional, that's what I will recommend. It should be noted that this isn't an official list of what pupils should learn, but ...


7

I found this report provided by the institution that runs the Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK). The report was about the tests that took place in year 2010, which was ten years ago, so things may have changed a bit, but I think we can still get a general idea from it. According to the report, before November 2009, HSK had three levels: elementary, intermediate ...


6

When I was in Jiangsu province (and later, Shanghai), I was interested in learning Shanghainese and other Wu dialects. Unfortunately, there aren't that many resources, and a lot of the ones that do exist are low quality (No IPA, crazy made up romanizations, pronunciations indicated with characters, etc.) Here are a few things I found and my thoughts on them (...


6

I agree with others who say you should work with a native speaker to help you with pronunciation. However, having a grammar book will be immensely helpful as well, since many native speakers are often unaware of their own language's grammar (many will often say "that's just how you say it" without knowing why; I've also heard native speakers assert that ...


6

Your pronunciation is correct. This is a common mis-pronunciation in many places in China, not just Shanxi. In fact, this is so common that nearly every modern Chinese input software supports so called "模糊音"(ambiguous pronunciation). The user can config if this function is enabled. Here's a screenshot of the config in Google Pinyin software: As you can ...


6

You might come across the phrase 虛詞 which literally means "empty phrase" but refers to function words. I've heard people describe them as "meaningless" especially function words in classical texts but of course they have important grammatical functions. As for lexical terms, each character had a well defined meaning in Old Chinese but nowadays many of them ...


6

You can use 买进 and 卖出 to reduce the chance of being misunderstood. 买,卖 and 借 are the most bewildering Chinese words in modern commerce. He who can coin some new words and popularize them will be our hero. We just treat '十' as the goods you want to sell ^_^, the character without 十 for buy. by the way, when 买卖 is used for verb (i.e. 参与买卖的双方 participants of ...


5

I would suggest taking a look at skritter.com. You can directly check out their demo on their site. Skritter is a website helping you to learn and memorize Chinese and Japanese characters. It uses the spaced repetition algorithm to get your Character retention to about 90%. Skritter basically shows you the pinyin and asks you to write the character stoke ...


5

Most of the answers involve SRS, rote and methods. I use Anki. I have thousands of words in my deck. I've tried rote. They work but they're mind numbingly boring. Here's my take. Read. Read a lot. What's the use of memorizing if you're going to spend so much time memorizing, no practical usage? Read things you're interested in. Not just from books, but from ...


5

Actually it's true that every character have their own meaning. But many of foreigner can't understand every character without merge into sentence. So, probably they would just answer it NO MEANING. But as a person who are very linguistic, they can answer what it mean and completely answer what it's mean. For foreigner, even they know it can mean what, but ...


5

There is a key difference between learning the language as a native speaker, and learning the language as a second language. Native speakers of all languages invariably learn speaking and listening skills first, and only start to learn reading and writing at school, after the age of about 3 or 4. Learning a language as a second language, reading and writing ...


5

There is not much of this available even at bookstores within China. There is even much less for non-background speakers in English. I personally have been lucky enough to get a book from Peking University Press titled "Practical Suzhou Dialect" which also includes English. I tried searching online however this appears to be a one-off. However, you could ...


5

Old post, but those answers make the language hobbyist in me cry, so... Are you willing to pay for the privilege? If you are, I recommend Complete Cantonese from Teach Yourself, Basic Cantonese from Routledge, Colloquial Cantonese, and if you want something fun to start with then the Berlitz Cantonese phrasebook with CD. And a heads up, you want something ...


5

Here's an image shows the evolution of 賣/卖. Pay attention to the picture (B), it appeared at the Qin dynasty, and take the 買/买 as its phonogram part, so 賣/卖 has the same pronunciation with 買/买, and take the word 出(out) at the top of the word, which means sell out sth to get money. And at Han dynasty, 出 became 士 (picture (C)), and then at Tang dynasty's ...


4

Oh. As Taiwanese I am in full support of the traditional Chinese. Simplified Chinese looks like garbage-- Each Chinese character has its origins, and if you can learn systematically the extra strokes are not intimidating at all. The simplified system cut out many characters such that their meaning is not directly related to the character, just the phonetic, ...


4

There isn't much in terms of (good) teaching materials for Canto, unfortunately. The best/least crappy is probably CUHK's Yale-China Chinese Language Centre (CLC)'s coursework, but it is not publicly available -- ie you have to attend the classes to get your hands on the books and CDs. I would anyway recommend against attempting to learn the basics of ...


4

I'm not sure what your question is. As a native speaker, I think the words you refer to are function words (虚词), which have no direct meaning but has the function of organizing the sentence. The words have direct meaning are notional words (实词).


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