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Most easily mistaken Chinese character


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Basically, anything with a bird radical confuses me---mostly because I cannot remember bird characters if my life depended on it ( it's literally as though they are only stuck in my listening/speaking vocab, so I draw a blank when I actually see them)--these in particular: 鸽 鹤 鹳 . (which I basically messed up again on this practice exercise # 9 )

鸩 i think is the only one I can remember fairly well (other than 鸡,鸭 and those common everday ones)...probably just because it popped in 三国 so many times and tends to leave more of an impression ...I mean ' legendary bird whose feathers can be used as poison / poisonous / to poison sb' what other bird character can beat that..

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拣/捡 are very confusing to me... they have the same pronunciation, same radical, and their meanings are confusing to me. Seems like most people are posting visually confusing characters but to me ones like 拣/捡 are more confusing

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't know why but I can't differentiate the usage of 盡 and 儘 (they are the same in simplified Chinese). Half an hour ago I was writing a press release and I had to look up these two words AGAIN. :wall

PS - In fact I guess I know why - they have similar meanings and similar pronunciations.

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  • 3 weeks later...

ok..i have some 'impossible' characters. i mean characters that i have studied and memorized over and over again and they still give me problems when i read them in a new text or in a new context because for some reason they just don't register. id like to start by mentioning my personal..err..favorites.

1. 特 持 待

2。 挂 佳

3。 究 穷

4. and it wouldnt be complete without 遍 谝 犏 扁 褊。。。。bian pian i mean wow...

so, what characters frustrate you the most?

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I've encountered quite a number of these, but the characters I find the most annoying right now are 摶 and 搏.

However, I think decisive action usually clears any misunderstandings and/or problems. If you're using any kind of spaced repetition software, you have to stop just repeating these characters if you find that they don't stick. Anki has a nice leech feature that suspends cards once you have answered them incorrectly a certain number of times. What I do then is to look at those characters closely and create some useful way to separate them. Simply reviewing them a hundred times is horribly inefficient.

I've written more about handling troublesome characters here.

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  • 2 years later...

One is a little wider than the other, but the meanings and pronunciations are different!


rì vs yuē


日 vs 曰



日 as in 生日


曰 as in 曰本語版 (edit: WRONG SPELLING, should have been 日本語版)

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曰 is more commonly known from Classical Chinese texts appearing before a quote.  For instance:


、 學而時習之、不亦說乎。有朋自遠方來、不亦樂乎 (etc)


"曰本語版" looks like a misprint to me 本語版 (riben yu ban) means "Japanese language Version"

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You are correct, lol, " 曰" was a misprint. I thought the meaning was "this language version" but in reality, it should have been "japanese language version"  since that hyperlink took me to a japanese, not chinese, page.


I found the misprint in this page: http://www.digitaldialects.com


And, thank you!

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I would have to disagree, these are not 2 identical characters they are obviously different.


As you say the meaning and pronunciation are different.


There quite a few that are very close but are in fact different.


There is this one 人 and 入.


And this one 孑 and 子


There quite few more but those are just some quick examples.


This is the kind of thing that learners need to be careful of.

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