41

You're right that most of the time, you use a computer or cell phone when "writing" Chinese characters. In fact, many Chinese will tell you that - beside their own name (used as a signature) - they almost never write any Chinese characters by hand. Today, writing Chinese characters is more for memorization than for practical purposes. You might know a few ...


30

I think it would be easier to learn Chinese after learning Japanese and vice versa, because too many Chinese characters are used in Japanese. I would like to talk about this from three points. Pronunciations Usually, in Japanese, one character has 2 types of pronunciations, "音読 おんどく ondoku or 音読み おんよみ onyomi" and "訓読 くんどく kundoku or 訓読み くんよみ kunyomi". The ...


25

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 ...


23

I think you are right in your desire to put as much time as possible into the speaking and listening aspects of Chinese. But there are various reasons why it's important to put in the effort to learn Chinese characters, even though the initial investment of time is quite large. As others have explained, passive recognition is no substitute for active ...


21

You can use a SRS (Spaced Repetition System) software, I personally use Anki to create a deck of study cards and I review them on my mobile phone. I also recommend Memrise. 2014 update: I still use Anki, but combined with Google Images Search and Forvo: When I make new flashcards, I'll add the writing (hanzi & pinyin), its pronunciation (from Forvo) ...


17

I generated a bunch of files for some flashcard software that uses spaced repetition to help you learn efficiently. It's still a lot of work to memorize the flash cards, but I don't know of anything easier. In total, I generated 32614 cards with 4166 characters and 18385 words. They are divided into separate files, each with about 100 cards in it. You can ...


15

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 ...


14

There is nothing in the linguistic research that proves that writing the characters physically improves one's ability to recognize them in context (as in reading). If that were true, physically handicapped people who cannot write or speak would not be able to read or comprehend language, and clearly that is not the case. Virtually all of the "evidence" ...


13

Apart from the Kanji/Hanzi, that they (partly) have in common, concerning the written part, there is nothing that can really help you with the other language: Chinese is pretty much SVO, Japanese is SOV; Chinese has tones, Japanese has no tones. When speaking, sentences do have a certain "tone", but not phonemic, i.e. it doesn't totally change the meaning; ...


12

It would be worthwhile for you to read over what people say in this question: Would it be bad to only speak to a child in a language in which you are not completely fluent? It raises some interesting points. The top answer from Javid Jamae provides the following points: Spend as much time as you can around native speakers (family, friends, church, temple, ...


12

Generally, there are two types of characters: "compound characters 合体" and "single component characters 独体". And there are four character building methods: "pictogram 象形","ideogram 指事"、"indicatives 会意","phono-semantic 形声". "Single component characters 独体" are characters that derive from "pictograms 象形" or "ideograms 指事". e.g: pictogram: "人" means ...


12

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 ...


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

There is an American guy (I think) who teaches people how to speak Taiwanese on Youtube. He even teaches the native Taiwanese people how to speak 闽南语. You can see the videos here. EDIT: Looks like the playlist is dead. This is the guy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJo2OHi6hgs


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

I found PART of the Japanese language easier to learn after studying Chinese. Japanese has two basic strains, an "indigenous" strain, which its own hiragana and katagana script, and the "Chinese" based strain, in which the Japanese adopted the Chinese Hanzi as "Kanji" for many words, as well as a pronunciation similar to the Chinese for those words. (...


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

Go to the most reliable source -- order the Maryknoll Fathers' set of 3 textbooks with CDs. While it is not exactly comprehensible input in its best form (it's predictible, since it's a book and the order doesn't change), it is the best set of materials currently available, and certainly the most comprehensive. If you have the patience to work through all ...


8

I would like to answer this question with an analogy to English. In English, You may not learn how to spell the word, and you could only rememeber the pronunciation and the meanings for every word, so you can "speak" English,but you can't write them down or read them. I believe in old times, when few people could get well educated, this might happen (in ...


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

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

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

There is one main difference between children's books and adult foreign textbooks: Adult foreign textbooks are designed to give foreigners the best chance to communicate in simple everyday circumstances. Children's books start with the very basics and require longer to get to the same place, however they provide you a much more solid base and a far wider ...


7

The great firewall being between you and the servers doesn't help, but the main reason is that they only have servers in China, not a distributed content network (CDN) like most of the sites you might regularly access (Google, Youtube, Facebook etc) so that the distance between you and the nearest server is quite great. You should also be aware that they ...


7

How can I learn how to pronounce names of Chinese students? Short of learning Chinese? Avery suggested learning how to read pinyin. However, this ignores the problem that there are sounds in Chinese that do not exist in English. For instance, following some consonants, pinyin "u" is pronounced like the German "ü". Pinyin "sh" and "x" are both pronounced ...


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 ...


6

I learned Chinese through children's books as a child. I've suffered from NOT using children's books in other languages. What has happened in those languages is that I've learned a lot of "technical" terms, and can hold my own in "advanced" discussions. Then I trip over some grammar point or some every day phrase that every 10-year old native speaker knows. ...


6

One advantage of learning how to handwrite characters is that it makes it easier to distinguish similar-looking characters in unfamiliar contexts. If you can't handwrite you might still be able to correctly read known words like 快乐 and 决定, but if you encounter a new word such as 决心 it's sometimes hard to tell whether the first character is kuài or jué (...


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 ...


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