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edelweis

audio (or written) description of characters?

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edelweis

This probably (?) does not exist, but I'll ask anyway:

does anyone know of a resource for audio files that describe character composition?

i.e. someone saying (in Chinese!) "character X has radical Y on the left and phonetic component Z on the right side" for a whole bunch of characters.

Possibly also word "spelling" i.e. "word XY is composed of (explanation of character X) and (explanation of character Y)"

Also does such a thing exist in written form? (I could get someone to read that in Rhinospice)

And what keywords should I use to google such a resource?

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radioman

Interesting concept. Not exact but a bit like the turtle book "Learning Chinese Characters" but without the audio. I am curious how you would listen to and study this audio?

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edelweis

I am not sure what exact use it can be :mrgreen: but I think that people who are taking uni classes in China hear the teacher explain such things in Chinese daily... Basically I'd like to think/learn about character structure in Chinese, not in my native language, in order to help communication with Chinese speakers when someone needs to write a character but does not know which one it is, or does not know how to write it. (and also to minimize the use of a language other than Chinese during my daily self-study).

Perhaps I could make do with a few sentence templates (for character description) that I could fill out with the help of an etymology dictionnary... what sentences are commonly used in Chinese for this purpose?

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radioman

Sorry, that should have said "Tuttle Book ... "Learning Chinese Characters", and while not exactly what you are describing, Learning Chinese Characters seeks provide a way to memorize the pieces. I personally think it is useful.

As for Chinese component references, I really don't know where you would find that.

For what it's worth, just addressing Chinese writing components, how to write, etc., I have found nothing that beats Pleco Dictionary. I communicate with my teachers and other students by bringing up the dictionary entries and the Character information on my iPhone. I am not sure how to call all the specific components of the character, but I sure can show them the character on the iPhone and have a discussion about the different parts.

The good news is that Pleco is available on a lot of of different platforms (iPhone, Android, Palm). But any of these devices (as well as the Pleco software) will cost a new user some money.

Anyway, if you find all the references in Chinese, I would be interested in getting the list.

Good Luck.

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Gymnosopher

Sounds a little like when I'm trying to write out my characters, get stuck on one and ask my girlfriend for a hint - to which she'll say there's a dao on the side or a mu on the top etc, which can jog my memory into the rest of the character or if not continue to write it all this way. I actually find it pretty useful as doing this allows me to avoid cheating and taking a peek at the character so just makes the trying to remember a little easier, and also if I forget it again later I can sometimes remember what she said about it.

If that's the case it would be something that would be similar to character etymology on yellowbridge or zhongwen which are both great tools though don't go as far as describing the character. Other than that it's just a case of saying the names of the chinese strokes in the stroke order, though due to all the flash animations I don't know if this is something readily available!

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abcdefg

One does something similar to this for the disambiguation of similar sounding characters, especially over the phone when you can't "write on your palm." Don't know of any reference resources, written or audio. I usually make it up on the fly. Wouldn't be surprised if most native speakers do the same. (I'm not a native speaker and could be wrong.)

Was trying to explain "which Liu" I meant in the name 刘佳 not long ago. I said 文字旁的刘。The person I was talking with (on the phone) paused then said "Oh, you mean 刘备的刘。" Seems to kind of go that way. Doubt there are rules.

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Gymnosopher

Re distinguishing characters by giving them in context this does seem to be what Chinese do too - especially when talking about the characters in their names. Perhaps for learning Chinese if you know a word by ear but not the characters that make it up someone could tell you other words that you may know that also hold these characters, or if trying to explain a character you can't write you could give it in a word/sentence, though that doesn't seem to be what you're looking for.

Also, if you're interested my attempt at googling this was to search for 'simplified chinese character composition description' (perhaps you could also try stroke order description or component description) and aside from a bunch of books for sale I came across this site called archchinese which I'd never heard of before. It is a $2/month subscription service which seems cheaper than some other resources, though I'm not in the market for buying, and seems to offer a lot of features. Particular to your request they have some screenshots which seem to be called 'character details' though I don't know how similar this is to the free etymology sites I posted above.

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semantic nuance

@ edelweis: This 常用國字標準字體筆順學習網 is not exactly as you described, but it does have audio clip to describe the radical of a character with how many strokes it is composed of. Hope it helps!

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edelweis

thanks all - I'll have a look at those sites.

regarding the sentence templates, I guess I'll have to do some research about Chinese terminology such as 形声

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Areckx

You may have to start browsing through Chinese BBs/Forums because most Chinese materials online are Chinese only, only discussed in Chinese, never mentioned in English unless we randomly find it or are pointed there by a friend.

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edelweis

hi - sorry, I've been rather busy lately - thanks for the link and advice, I'll look into that. I did start lurking on the 对外汉语交流 douban group a while ago, should have kept reading it, and perphaps asked my question in there... will do next weekend.

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Michaelyus

For a scholarly overview of this: Allen JR (1992) I will speak, therefore, of a graph: A Chinese metalanguage. Language in Society 21:189-206 doi:10.1017/S0047404500015256, discussing various strategies there. But I agree that it is relatively unexplored, and something that would only be discussed in-depth in Chinese. Is there a good name for this phenomenon in Chinese? Having "the Chinese meta-language" is pretty cool, but only from an academic point of view!

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