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Chinese characters: Stroke order, etc.

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Chinese characters: Stroke order, etc.

Postby 1%homeless » Fri Jan 09, 2004 7:10 pm

Since there are a few here that are actually interested in Chinese, I am posting this great site up. The problem with learning Chinese characters for beginners is just not learning the proper stroke order, but the proper direction. It's difficult to show the proper stroke direction in books. One book put the numbers at the beginning edge of each stroke. It can sometimes be ambiguous. There are websites about Chinese characters but I haven't found a free place that is as good as this. But once in a rare while, this USC site has mistakes or I disagree with the stroke order.

http://www.usc.edu/dept/ealc/chinese/ch ... /index.htm

This is another site, but not as good, but it at least gives you something to compare to because there are different ideas about stroke order, especially with idiosyncratic characters.

http://philo.ucdavis.edu/zope/home/txie//azi/page1.htm

I recommend this site too. Deconstructing Chinese characters to their smallest components is the best way to memorizing them. Also, learning Chinese character etymology helps with memorizing and is less boring than repetition. A warning though, some interpretations are disputed or not etymologically correct. But it's still useful for deconstructing characters, and that is why I highly recommend it.

http://www.zhongwen.com/

Here is a good book to start with character etymology. Don't bother finding it in Amazon or the usual places. It’s hard to find.

http://www.chinabooks.com/Merchant2/mer ... ode=COCHCH

Here is another etymology book, but with less characters than the book above. However, this book has more character examples for each character and you get a better visual sense of the history of the characters. (not easy to find):
Wang Hongyuan, The Origin of Chinese Characters. Sinolingua, Beijing.

I also highly recommend this book for complete general orientation and learning approach to Chinese characters (also not easy to find):

Modern Chinese characters
Yin Binyong, John S. Rohsenow.

Sheesh, I think this is enough for now, but if you need more than above then contact me. I’ll point you out to a few more books.
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Postby mingshey » Sat Jan 10, 2004 1:28 am

http://zhongwen.com/ has been my online reference for chinese characters. The link to Dictionary Web is very useful. Also you can see a common version of Tao Te Ching and the song of Mulan there.
Nice to see this site here. :D
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Postby Episcopus » Wed Jan 14, 2004 1:15 pm

Why was it that when I posted an excellent chinese tones site in this forum my post was deleted :cry:

Anyway, I do have that Zhongwen dictionary in its physical form. It's hard to use because in my phenomenal chinese character guide, by Johan Bjorksten, it tells one how to use the traditional chinese dictionary. But this zhongwen is not the average chinese dictionary. It's supposedly easier but I can't figure our how to use it...ah well...I'll wait until I know more characters and radicals :wink:
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Postby 1%homeless » Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:03 am

Episcopus wrote:Why was it that when I posted an excellent chinese tones site in this forum my post was deleted


Haha. You seem to get deleted a lot. Some one doesn't like you very much. :) Anyways, you should post it up again on this thread.
It's supposedly easier but I can't figure our how to use it

Actually, I can't really tell the difference between using that genealogical dictionary and a regular dictionary. It is as easy or as frustrating to use as a regular dictionary.

I can't remember how Bjorksten explained using chinese dictionaries, but I don't remember it being too helpful because I just remember mainly relying on Modern Chinese Characters (by Yin Binyong) for understanding chinese character organizations in dictionaries. Anyways, I use Bjorkstens book more as a fountain pen caligraphy book. I wish there was a more in depth fountain pen caligraphy books in english though...
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Postby chad » Thu Jan 15, 2004 8:04 am

sorry, can you please fill us in on how those dictionaries are unusually organised? they're not the standard radical + stroke count organisation of traditional dictionaries? cheers, chad. :)
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Postby 1%homeless » Thu Jan 15, 2004 7:52 pm

Well, the genealogical dictionary is organized not by just radicals but also by character composition. So in the genealogical chart, it is ordered from radical, to character component (if possible), to characters, to combined characters, and so forth to ludicrous complexity. You know the radicals are organized by stroke count, but also the character components, characters, and combined characters should be organized by stroke count too in their respective category. Notice that I said “should”. Look at kou (mouth) radical for instance. In the chart, the character components aren’t ordered by stroke count order. If you look at ma (horse) radical it seems like the chart is ordered by stroke count, but then the ma with the insect radical is out of place... and maybe other things are out of place too... But I’m looking at the website right now; my book was returned to the library. :) I highly doubt there is any real organization by stroke count in those genealogical charts. Really, I rarely ever use the chart to look for things. Again, I just mainly use the index. In the index if they have the same number of strokes... haha, I forgot... there isn’t one approach to organizing same stroke count radicals/characters.

Character/radical composition is usually side to side or top and bottom. With radicals, you have to learn stand alone form (index form) and the form they take when composed in characters/components. That is why when you look at the character composition explanations, the components/radicals sometimes don’t seem to match the character’s components/radicals. They can have more than just one composed variation as well. Also, they are different just because humans like to vary things. :)
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Postby mingshey » Thu Jan 15, 2004 11:36 pm

There is a tip that can help you pick out the radical in a character. In the traditional orthography the radical is written a little bit smaller than the rest of the character. When there is a character composed of two characters that each can be thought a radical, it is very probable that the smaller one is the radical there.
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Postby Episcopus » Fri Jan 16, 2004 12:36 pm

Well, to be honest, fountain pen or not, all I wanted to do was write chinese characters and it's doing just that thus far!

I was really shocked at the deletion of my links. I seriously don't know why they were deleted. Were they irrelevant? Yet this is an Outside link forum.

http://www.163asia.com/Pro_CD1n2/cepronunciation/pronunciation/try2.html

Navigate through the site to find tones, here's the initials page which is my favourite. They have many tone examples which is helpful.
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Postby Keesa » Fri Jan 16, 2004 1:15 pm

Perhaps it was deleted by accident?
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Postby Episcopus » Fri Jan 16, 2004 3:25 pm

Probably because this forum is an outside Greek/Latin link forum; but if this were truly so, this topic itself should have also been deleted. :?
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Postby mariek » Fri Jan 16, 2004 5:05 pm

I think this thread would be more appropriate in the "Open" board... but I can't seem to find a way to move it there. :? :(
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