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Jovey

Language of Xian

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Jovey

Hello Everyone,

I'm new here and

am a beginner at the starting line will very much appreciate your help.

I am from the US on the east coast and am wanting to know about

writing in Chinese so that I can write to my friend in Xian.

I recently wrote to her using Chinese words spelled in the English alphabet from an on

line dictionary service, to my big surprise she can not read this. So now I am using the

Chinese Characters that symbolize the words I had been spelling, she is a little hard to

understand some times as we communicate by the Chinese Simp figures.

I wrote someone else in Bejing snd they replied no they could not understand the

Characters, I am using Chinese Pinyin:, so can you tell me what should I be writing in to

speak with someone from Xian ?

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imron

In mainland China, they write with simplified Chinese characters. If you were going to write using English letters, then you would write in Hanyu Pinyin, which is the way of writing the pronunciation of these characters.

So, if you are writing Chinese characters and they don't understand, then the reason is more than likely caused because what you are writing doesn't make sense. This is almost certainly because you are just looking up characters in the online dictionary without realising that you can't just combine them to make sentences in the same order as the English words. Also, when you look things up in the dictionary, sometimes, you might not be choosing the most accurate word.

Perhaps if you post an example of what you are trying write, including what you think it should mean, we can help you point out what the problem is.

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roddy

An alternative is just to write in clear, simple English - they will probably have access to better English>Chinese dictionaries than you do.

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missyou

Chinese is not so easy to learn as English.

Chinese order and logic are both very different from that of English.The fist thing you can do,I think,if you can't live in a Chinese environment,is to read Chinese article,through which you can master the Chinese expression.Chinese can't live without its figure,pingyin in Chinese is only a tool for master the figure's pronunciation.

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Jovey

To each and everyone of you,

missyou, roddy, and imron

may I say thank you much.

I will read your comments and advice over with enthusiastic interest,

and am pleased to have this.

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Jovey

ChineseCharacterRefDear.jpg

I was writing the word qin, and was using it to mean dear, I guess I was doing the wrong thing, huh ?

Well for now let me ask you, can I write using the pictorial symbols ?

Will these be understandable to my friend in Xi'an ?

If so which ones do you reccomend, Trad. or Simp.

Jovey

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missyou

Glad to help you.

If your firend locateed in China mainland not Hongkong or Taiwan,I recommend you to use simp.

In fact,most people in mainland today only can use simp,especially to the younger.Hardly can one use the Trad except some of those olers over 60,though we all can read and understand its meaning.

I am not sure the identity of whom you write to in your social intercourse.If he/she is just your friend,you should not use "Dear","亲爱的" in Chinese to your friend.But if it's your girlfriend or boyfriend,you can use "Dear" to express your close relationship.Because "亲爱的"in Chinese only can use to the one who keep close relationship with you,such as your lover,but it's not appropriate for your friend.To friend,you can greet him/her with its nickname directly.

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Lu

Chinese is not quite so simple that you can just replace every word in English with an equivalent in Chinese and that's it.

'Dear' in English can be used to start pretty much every letter; not so in Chinese. To friends, you would start a letter with:

[Name of friend]:

Ni hao! [rest of letter]

If you can type characters, so much the better. Simplified characters are used on the mainland, traditional on Hong Kong and Taiwan. But if you can't write characters, you can write in pinyin if your friend is from mainland China. (If they are from Taiwan, this is were you give up and just write English.)

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Jovey

Hello Lu,

Thanks for your feed back,

I am really full of all the questions someone who is just finding out what Chinese language is about, so I hope I am not trying your patience to much !

Concerning;

If you can type characters, so much the better. Simplified characters are used on the mainland, traditional on Hong Kong and Taiwan. But if you can't write characters, you can write in pinyin if your friend is from mainland China. (If they are from Taiwan, this is were you give up and just write English.)

You speak of typing characters, I am presently at the point where I still do not have the software and am still trying to find out what I will be using and which will be the best suited for my purposes.

I am curious to know, . . if I have a software where I am able to type characters, . .and since, a single character may represent a word or more than one word, than will my key board be the same as I am using now ? if so then at what key stroke will the character be typed.

I guess the same question would apply for the symbols, (little question marks) for the Chinese simp.

Another question I have is, . .when my friend receives my letters in China and it is translated by the translation service from English to Chinese, and she receives, it in Chinese simp. (little question marks),

when she translates it using a translation software, . . then what does it transfer into, . . what will she be looking at to read my letter ?

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Lu

Software for typing Chinese: many versions are available. A common way of typing Chinese is when you type the pinyin (ie ni hao), and the computer converts that into Chinese characters (ie 你好). This can be done on an ordinary western-style keyboard. For specifics on how to get this on your computer, I refer you to the computer forum. It's not at all difficult, but I can't explain it. (If you can't read the characters after my second 'ie' above, you also need some certain software installed on your computer.)

Translation software has its uses, but it should not be used for translating letters, at least not if you want the outcome to be understandable. (For an illustration, go on the internet, pick any article in a language you don't understand, and put it through a translation machine to turn it into English. Chances are you'll get the gist of what is written, but there will also be a lot of gibberish.) Translation software should not be used for letters and such communication.

Not sure what you mean by your last question, but I'll try to answer anyway. If your friend has your letter translated from English to Chinese, the end result will be a letter in Chinese, and as she is on the mainland, in simplified Chinese characters.

May I ask what method you are currently using for studying Chinese?

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Jovey

Since I know nothing about what I am doing except trying to read and write chines so that I can sometime in the near future communicate with my friend. I am trying various dictionaries with translation machines etc. trying to find the common denominator as to her exact language of communication.

In the past I have planned on installing software, but I am still searching and trying to learn what I am going to need.

My feeling is that if I can first figure out what I can accomplish without the software, so much better for me to understand what I will be needing and doing in the future.

I am still trying to grasp the concepts of what we will need.

Let me rephrase one of my last questions, is there a software that will

type out a character,(pictorial symbol of a word in Chinese), when I type a word ?

Basically I have an understanding that I can use a software to type out,

as you have suggested, . . A common way of typing Chinese is when you type the pinyin (ie ni hao), and the computer converts that into Chinese characters (ie 你好)., . .

However I have not yet used this, and . . . my same question applies, . . since each symbol, (pinyin-?) may mean a word, . . then this suggest that when I type a single letter when writing a word on an Enlgish typewriter, . . then the software must wait until the word is complete before typing it correct ?

I just want to get a little familiar with what to expect so that I can understand a little better.

Let me ask you this, since I can only see, (ie 你好), when reading your message, and I need a software, will I then be printing words using the English alphabet, i.e. (ie ni hao), such as that ?

Do the people on the mainland read this or do they read the pictorial characters, (other than 你好), i.e. (scrolled characters) ?

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imron

If she is in Xi'an then writing in simplified characters is all you need to do. The easiest input method to use is the Google Pinyin IME. Click on the big blue button to download it. If you only see question marks ??? or boxes when you visit that page, then you will also need to install Chinese fonts. See here for details.

but I am still searching and trying to learn what I am going to need.

If you want to write to her in Chinese, then you will need to learn the language. No amount of dictionaries or translation software will help you with any amount of accuracy if you don't know at least the basics of the language.

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Jovey

ok Imron, Thank you, very much !

I am sure that this will be very helpful.

In the mean time, . . . . let me ask you this, what is wrong with on occasion using the

Chinese, may I say (hieroglyphics), the form of original writing scroll figures, these have meaning expressed in the Chinese language and translated into English so that they are understandable to me concerning thier meaning.

Why can I not use these to write messages by pasting them in a literate sequence ?

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imron

It's better to say characters instead of hieroglyphics.

You can't paste it as a literal sequence, because English and Chinese use different word orders and sentence structuring. It will work for very simple sentences, but for anything more complicated, it will fall apart and the person will have a hard time understanding you.

For example, if I copy and paste the Chinese text from the page I linked to above into an online translator, this is the output:

Smart Google Pinyin input method five characteristics:

* Intelligent sentence: the word accuracy of the election, you can be smart to understand the intention of a long sentence, the phrase is appropriate.

* Pop vocabulary: integration on the Internet popular vocabulary, popular search affiliate, rich powerful phrase.

* Network synchronization: You can use habits and personal dictionaries simultaneously in the Google Account, a walk with your personalized input methods.

* Push Search: spelling input light at the same time a button quick search. Input method combining search box double benefit.

* English Note: English, and only a few letters of the former input, the input method automatically prompts you may be looking for the word.

It makes some sense, but not much.

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Jovey

imron,

I will read what you have posted with interest, . .

but I am not sure you are understanding me, I am meaning I will not post to a translation machine, I will send the scroll words as they are in the literate sequence. Example;

Smallisbeautiful.jpg

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imron

Like I said before, Chinese and English have a different word order and sentence structure. Although what you are doing will possibly make sense for small things, for many things it will simply be random and incorrect.

Have a look at this page. It is the result of Chinese people doing what you are doing (looking up words in a dictionary and putting them together), except that they are going from Chinese to English instead of English to Chinese. Why do you think that your attempts will make any more sense to a Chinese person?

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Jovey

imron, . . .

ok, thanks, I get the message, Let me study your posts over and see if I can move on.

Jove

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dsrguru

Jovey, I think your confusion stems from a misunderstanding of the Chinese writing system. It is true that Chinese characters represent meaning rather than pronunciation (that's actually not entirely true, but I mean in contrast with phonetic languages), so you might be under the assumption that the characters operate irrespective of spoken language. This is not true at all, however, and in practice, written Chinese is really just a word-for-word (or shall I say syllable-for-syllable) transcription of spoken Mandarin. You can't write Chinese by translating English word-for-word because Chinese grammar is different from English grammar, among other reasons. You're results would be worse than imron's Chinglish examples.

If you really want to write to your friend in Chinese, you have two main options: learn Chinese or ask us to help you translate English sentences into idiomatic Chinese. If you don't have time for the former, I know members of this forum would be happy to help you translate.

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Lu

Jovey, studying with a dictionary and a translation machine is in all likelyhood not going to teach you Chinese. I strongly suggest you get yourself a textbook, and if at all possible also a teacher. I'm afraid you're completely underestimating how different Chinese is from English.

Try really studying from scratch, that could give you a much clearer idea of what Chinese is. Even if you end up not going through with learning it, you will have learned a lot about the concept of foreign languages, since from your posts I get the impression that you never studied a foreign language.

The 'symbols' of Chinese are generally called characters.

Good luck!

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Jovey

Lu,

Unfortunately for me, you are right, but fortunately for me, I have your good advice.

Hope to be back to report some progress soon.

Thanks

Jovey

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