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Hugh

Compiling a (useful) similar hanzi list

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Hugh

Hi all

Not trying to promote myself here, but would like to ask for some help from the experts (and 普通人!) on the forum.

I'm trying to compile a decent, useful list of easily confused hanzi that students can use. Here's where I'm at so far:

http://eastasiastude.../similar-hanzi/

There are currently 223 entries, which I've checked individually and decided are useful. Please argue if you disagree with any of them!

I'm just asking here for any kind of help with the list:

  • additions
  • corrections
  • suggested removals

Every little helps - I'd be grateful for people just pointing out one thing, either in this thread or in the comments on that page.

The list is pretty subjective on what is "useful": my loose criteria are any pair of characters / components that some people could get confused in some contexts, after having the difference pointed out. That last is quite important; I think the list is kept concise and at its most useful if it only includes things that people would repeatedly get muddled up.

The list is arranged rigidly in pairs to make it easier to work with and personalise. Because the data is consistent in this way it's easy to e.g. import into Anki (which I've done already and shared), or sort, or delete particular entries etc.

Please do suggest sets of characters (e.g. 衰,哀,衷,丧), but when I add them I'll separate them into various combinations of pairs.

I'm trying to compile this list because all the other similar lists I can find are either not comprehensive, too comprehensive, seem to be aimed at people who aren't really learning Chinese (as one commenter put it), or include material from Japanese, which we don't want on the Chinese list.

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WestTexas

There is a thread with a very long list of such characters. Here are some characters which look similar that are not on your list:

椎/稚

折/拆

丙/两

撒/撤

捅/拥

乃/及

兵/乒/乓/丘

Personally I've always had more trouble with characters that have the same radical and a similar sound/phonetic component, for example 慌/恍/惶, or 诵/讼. These characters do not look the same, but it is difficult for me to remember the exact meaning of each one if I see them out of context, such as when doing flashcards.

I didn't look through the whole list, so the only pairs that stuck out to me as not belonging on the list were 丧/衰 and 丧/衷. 衷/衰 look similar, but I do not personally feel like either one looks much like 丧.

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count_zero

Not trying to show off here but I actually think a lot of "easily confused" character are not really that easily confused. Or perhaps it's just that I personally have never mixed them up.

For instance, never had any trouble with these whatsoever.

查 chá 香

xiāng

大 dà 犬 quǎn 大 dà 太 tài 大 dà 六 liù

吊 diào 巾 jīn 吊 diào 市

shì

東 dōng 果 guǒ 東 dōng 束 shù

Having said that:

恩 ēn 思 sī

Yes, definitely!

己 jǐ 已 yǐ

And I guess we've all been there.... :-?

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count_zero

湿

I try to remember the difference between these two by thinking of "the warmth of blood".

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外国赤佬

Yes, most of those characters are hardly confusing at all. Do you have dyslexia?

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SinoPhil

That's not a very nice thing to say, is it. Do you have Tourette-Syndrom or some psychological problem that forces you to insult people?

I agree, though, that most of the characters aren't very confusing.

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c_redman

I had been collecting my own list for the first few years of study. Most of these weren't on your list, so I will just attach the whole thing. It also includes characters/words which don't look similar, but are easily confusing because of similar definitions or pinyin (e.g., 共/供/公).

It's depressing how many words I still have trouble with. By now I don't have any problem with 外/处 or even 已/己 (when I'm wearing my glasses). But when I see word pairs like 愈/愉 and realize they are the same components just arranged differently, my reaction is

.

Confusing words 2012.txt

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Silent
Not trying to show off here but I actually think a lot of "easily confused" character are not really that easily confused. Or perhaps it's just that I personally have never mixed them up.

I think the problem with these kind of lists is that they are very arbitrary and strongly depend on the way/context characters are learned/seen. For someone who never studied characters before they're pretty much all confusing. For someone who knows the characters well there's nothing confusing about them. As someone already mentioned before if you see the characters out of context (flashcards) things look very different from reading the characters in context. Some-one who studies characters through a good look at it's components and relates that to meaning and sound will have problems with different characters then some-one just learning them from general appearance.

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