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Gharial

Stroke order in 里 and 黑-like characters

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Gharial

(Sorry if this one's been asked before/done to death already, I tried searching but drew a blank...)

Quick question: after "closing the box" in characters such as 里 and 黑, do you

1) prefer to draw another horizontal stroke below the box (i.e. draw something like 旦) before drawing the vertical line through and out of it, or

2) prefer to draw that vertical line before that horizontal stroke?

I probably slightly prefer option 1) because it makes it easier to get the vertical stroke's length right (option 2 can result in a character that is too tall, especially for 黑) and chimes with the stroke order for 十 etc, but then I also note the "conflict" with 甲 etc, that e.g. nciku goes for option 2, and that option 2 seems a bit quicker to write.

I guess I picked up option 1 from the Character Text/stroke-order guidance for the original Colloquial Chinese course, but it might've just come naturally to me.

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Hofmann

I have looked into this. My conclusion so far is that in 楷書, 土-like things are always written horizontal, vertical, horizontal. This makes estimation of the length of the vertical stroke easier, which makes the character look neat, which is a basic goal in 楷書. In 行書, if 土 occurs at the top of a component, it is h-v-h. If it is inside or below over components, it is v-h-h. (e.g. 寺 is h-v-h-... and 田 is v-h-(corner)v-v-h-h.) In cases such as 隹, the last five strokes in 行書 can be h-v-h-h-h or h-h-v-h-h. This makes writing easier and/or more legible. 田蘊章 is one of the most well-researched scholars on Chinese writing and he uses this method, but I have been wondering whether or not the 行書 stroke orders can be applied to 楷書, as it is almost always the case the 楷書 stroke orders are the same as 行書 stroke orders.

In order to get the correct stroke order for certain characters, one will often have to do some research, which entails more than just looking it up in a reference. If you're interested, I recommend watching the video series on Chinese writing 每日一題每日一字. I don't always agree with him, but it's the best resource for laypeople I've found.

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Gharial

Thanks for the reply, Hofmann. I guess my opinion (such as it is) on this would be that basic resources (especially those for westerners) should stick to kaishu rather than more cursive handwriting, for reasons we've both mentioned (i.e. the kaishu makes it easier to get the vertical length right and thus helps make the average person's hanzi look neater). In my awful quasi-cursive messy hand I believe I'd write the last 5 strokes of 隹 as h-h-h-v-h. :D

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skylee

Edit - post deleted.

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WestTexas

I've been studying Chinese for four years and I still don't really understand what the point of stroke order is. TBH unless you are studying calligraphy it seems like a waste of time. Learning the strokes is useful because it helps you understand the characters better and use a radical chart, but I don't really see the purpose to spending any amount of time practicing the stroke order. Maybe someone can enlighten me.

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xiaocai

May come handy when you want to type a character that you don't know how to pronounce on a mobile phone.

@OP:

Personally I write as described in option 2. No particular reason, just feel it is easier to speed up if I write in this order.

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Gharial

Oh, believe me, WestTexas, I'm not too bothered about it myself (beyond general guidelines such as "top before bottom", and knowing what is usually treated as the very first stroke in especially a basic item*), but I do feel obliged to provide detailed stroke orders for certain tricker items in the reference materials I'm writing (e.g. the 'Guide to Simplified Radicals' that I've posted in a thread with that name, and in which at a rough count 34 out of its 188 items have and probably needed the stroke-order guidance supplied), and like you say, one needs to be left in little doubt about certainly the basics if one is to use radical charts and count strokes reasonably efficiently; then, there are the general motor-skills into increasing familiarity-memorization arguments etc, and the more cursive stroke orders (re. the info that Hofmann's provided) that will, well, help one to write cursively/that bit faster (if that's what a learner is wanting to do).

*So one thing I found it a bit surprising was when Yin & Rohsenow (in their book Modern Chinese Characters) stated that there are in fact two ways to write the component 厂 , and that it was therefore difficult to be dogmatic about it and it didn't really matter (I mean, I've never seen a dictionary index classify it as "left before right" rather than "top before bottom").

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chevil

@WestTexas

Also, as hinted at by the OP, using the correct stroke order has consequences for the way your characters look (in case this is something you care about). Generally speaking, using the correct stroke order will in theory get you closer to the 'idealized' proportions of a character (and if it doesn't, then practicing enough with the correct order will ;) ).

By the way, I draw the vertical stroke before the horizontal one (option 2), although I didn't know that this is technically 行書 -- I thought this was the standard 楷書 stroke order which didn't conform to first principles.

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Gharial

Thanks for all the replies! :)

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