Writing Chinese Characters - Stroke Order and Types

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Many Chinese learners complain about the difficulty in writing Chinese characters.  People have no clue about how and where to put the first stroke, or what order should be followed when writing the Chinese characters. Actually all characters are composed by simple strokes,  and there are only a few rules when writing them. Once you know the rules, writing them is fun and easy! In this article I will discuss two simple concepts when writing characters: 1 - the types of strokes when ...

Watch out! Pronouncing Chinese Correctly and Common Mistakes

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Watch out! One criticism that many Westerns have about Chinese is that everything sounds the same. There is some truth in that complaint given that “shì” (one of the most common sounds in Chinese) takes up 41 pages in a standard Chinese dictionary. Chinese is a very contextually dependent language, meaning that the exact same sounds can have a completely different meaning when used in a different context. As a tone based language, pronunciation is definitely the most important part of ...

Chengyu - Chinese Idioms - Cultural Facets

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Chinese Idioms 活到老,学到老  (成语) An idiom is a figure of speech that isn’t taken literally. For example, in English we have idioms such as “don’t let the cat out of the bag,” and “to have a cake and eat it too”, when we are not really talking about letting cats out of bags, or eating a piece of cake. There are numerous proverbs, sayings and idioms in every language. But why do I want to devote a whole article to Chinese idioms if it is such a normal linguistic phenomenon? Because, in ...

Traditional and Simplified Characters - Learn Chinese

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TRADITIONAL AND SIMPLIFIED CHARACTERS Written Chinese is a pictographic language in that each character or "letter" of the language depicts a word rather than a sound. Traditionally, the characters were the same for all readers. However, in the 1950s China instituted an overhaul of the language, creating a Simplified character set and making the use of the Simplified set mandatory throughout the country. The government has promoted Simplified characters for use in printing along with an ...