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grawrt

is it bad to write pinyin first and then hanzi?

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grawrt

Hey guys I have a bit of a dilemma, whenever I think of a sentence I like to write it down in pinyin, work out the kinks then rewrite in hanzi. I usually do this because I lose my train of thought very quickly, and I simply don't write hanzi fast enough to capture my thoughts in time. I know this is bad because I get a lot of judgemental looks from my peers. They see pinyin and immediately my level of chinese sinks to that of a beginner level. I know I shouldn't care what other people think but I feel like it affects our work ethics because no one will listen to me if they think my chinese sucks, ya know?

 

Is there any way around this other than 多练习?

 

While i'm confessing things, I might as well add that I also write most of my notes in pinyin :oops: . I know.. sinful, but again, I cant jot down important points any faster way.

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Lu

I have the same problem. I'm sure there are plenty of characters you can write fast, so perhaps try to write as much as you can in characters, and use pinyin for when you can't think of the character right away. If it's a sentence you still have to work the kinks out of, try looking up the missing characters first and then amending the sentence until it's good, all in characters. Same for your notes: characters when you can, pinyin when you can't think of it. Of course 多练习 is also necessary, but using your knowledge whenever you can is the best kind of 练习.

And perhaps try hanging out with other people, who'll judge you for your character and not for your characters.

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Yadang

 

I'm sure there are plenty of characters you can write fast, so perhaps try to write as much as you can in characters

That's what I tend to do now, but even writing characters I know very very well is slower than writing pinyin for me - is this true for everyone? Or if I combined 多練習 with studying a different script that is faster to write, like cursive, would I get to the point where they are about the same? The thing is, it seems like almost every character is going to contain more strokes and take more time than your average pinyin syllable (especially if using cursive to write the pinyin)... Is this true?

 

 

 

And perhaps try hanging out with other people, who'll judge you for your character and not for your characters.

Nice :D

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Shelley

Is it bad? or just a method.

 

I suppose a purest would say only use characters but much like another discussion recently it depends on what you use characters for, If you want to always write characters then i suppose you should start using characters only from the beginning.

 

If it is for note taking and you have opportunity to write up your notes later, it could very well be like my note taking lectures, a lot of indecipherable (to others) scribblings, diagrams and doodles. I would then go and write these notes up clarifying and cementing the lessons, but I had to do right away or else i would forget what it all was :)

 

You could look at it like that.

 

I suspect if you tried to take notes using characters it would result in a whole bunch of stuff you couldn't decipher later :)

 

I like the suggest of where you can, use the character, as the pressure comes off you may find with practice more and more characters will creep in to use.

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Eszter

I wrote a full master's thesis in Chinese but I still jot down things in pinyin when I need to be fast, like taking notes in class. Since there's a big gap between passive (recognizing) and active (producing) skills in Chinese, the brain needs much more processing to recall the whole character than it needs to just register "oh yes, I know that", unless of course you got tons of practice and it works automatically. My notes are usually a random mix of simplified and classical characters (whichever comes to mind - or hand - first) with sporadic pinyin in between, and sometimes even English if that makes it faster to summarize an idea. 

Note taking is not about writing practice, and I don't think anyone should be judged by the way they choose to make personal notes. I think as long as you can understand later what's written down, you're fine. 

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Angelina

It is not bad to write using pinyin. The only thing you should be careful about is tone marks. NEVER write pinyin without tone marks! Write pin1yin1 if you have no other options. Writing toneless pinyin can affect your pronunciation. 

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AdamD
Is there any way around this other than 多练习?

 

No. Nope. None. But pinyin is fine as training wheels. Ignore your judgemental peers until you're ready. (My pinyin-writing friends are far more fluently spoken than me.)

 

Longer term, you might consider the script writing that native Chinese people use (草书?). You could smash out hanzi at a rapid clip if you're able to get the hang of that. And do drills. Drills are great for speed.

 

I've only ever written pinyin when I haven't known a character, and when I've flipped out in exams. But that's just me. I've forced characters on myself from day one, so my speed isn't really a barrier now.

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grawrt

Ahhh thanks everyone, I feel better that I'm not the only one. After I noticed my classmates notes I thought maybe I was doings things wrong. Last night I practiced writing just from memory and I was surprised I only had to look up two words.

 

How do you guys learn how to write a script?

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imron

Nothing wrong with writing pinyin if that's faster, though it naturally does depends on context.  Personal notes - not a problem.  On an exam - you'll lose marks.

 

As others have mentioned the only way to get good at writing is to do lots of writing practice.

 

I personally found this book to be very useful.

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abcdefg
After I noticed my classmates notes I thought maybe I was doings things wrong.

 

Are your classmates Korean?

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AdamD
How do you guys learn how to write a script?

 

What imron said, but also focus on stroke order. The beauty of characters relies heavily on writing your strokes in the correct direction and sequence. In addition, you'll be able to use handwriting recognition on touch screens, and the stroke order can actually jog your memory when you forget how to write a character.

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陳德聰

I don't think there's anything wrong with using pinyin in your own notes if you can understand them. If your goal is to get better at taking notes using characters, then by all means practice doing that, but if your goal is just to record the material, I don't know if it's as necessary.

 

I often use shorthand for pinyin when I am too lazy to write out characters. I find this much more useful than scribbling a character that I may not be able to read later because I was writing too fast. Stuff like "p t h" is recognizable as 普通话 without even filling into the rest of the letters, but it doesn't work out as well unless you have some characters to back you up. 明天有考试 can be rendered as "m天有考试" as long as you already know the word for "tomorrow" is 明天.

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shuoshuo

It takes time for us foreigners (esp. those who didn't grow up writing characters) to jump to pinyin if we don't have enough time to write the Hanzi. After a lot of practice, you will get there. For now, don't look atit as a negative thing - it's an advantage.

 

The other day we had dictation and the teacher was moving from one word to another so fast. The Japanese girl next to me didn't have enough time to write the characters and she had trouble with pinyin as well - which is what saved those of us who were able to write the words in pinyin first. We all had a minute or two after that to write the characters before submitting the work to the teacher.

 

It's important to know how to write characters but that will develop with time.

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grawrt
I personally found this book to be very useful.

 

Do you know if it's possible to find this book at a bookstore in China?

 

Are your classmates Korean?

 

Mostly Korean and Japanese, and eastern european. Although the girl beside me was Indian so.. I don't think nationality matters D:

 

What imron said, but also focus on stroke order. The beauty of characters relies heavily on writing your strokes in the correct direction and sequence. In addition, you'll be able to use handwriting recognition on touch screens, and the stroke order can actually jog your memory when you forget how to write a character.

 

If I learn cursive will I forget stroke order? I usually don't ever have problems with stroke order.

 

Thanks everyone again for the advice, it's much appreciated :)

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imron
Do you know if it's possible to find this book at a bookstore in China?

That's where I got my copy.  I imagine most larger Xinhua bookstores would have it.  Note down the name then go and ask for it at your local bookstore.

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Lu

If I learn cursive will I forget stroke order? I usually don't ever have problems with stroke order.

Is cursive something you need to sit down and learn? For me, the strokes just kind of flow together when I write fast. (When I write something that other people need to be able to read I write more slowly and deliberately.) 口 starts to look like an R, I don't take my pen off the paper for 韦, things like that.

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abcdefg

@Grawrt -- The reason I asked about where your classmates were from is that the Koreans with whom I've taken classes learned Hanzi really fast. Japanese too, for that matter. It's not surprising that you wouldn't be as proficient as they are at an early stage.

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AdamD

As luck would have it, right now on 微信 I'm having an all-pinyin (sans tones) conversation with a friend who can't read or write characters. I have seriously never done this before, and it's going so incredibly hard against all my instincts that my brain's about to burst.

 

grawrt:

 

If I learn cursive will I forget stroke order? I usually don't ever have problems with stroke order.

 

What Lu said, but also, you couldn't do cursive if you didn't know the correct stroke order.

 

Lu:

 

I don't take my pen off the paper for 韦, things like that.

 

That's how I do my Pleco flashcard tests now. My finger doesn't come off the screen when I write characters, which makes slamming through flashcard packs really speedy because Pleco knows what I'm scribbling. Perhaps doing that with a pen is halfway to cursive.

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skylee

I note that all the replies are very supportive, and I assume that those who have replied are not native Chinese.

If I see a foreigner write in pinyin, I would think: of course, he is a foreigner. Translation - his Chinese is not good enough. It is this simple. Bad. Judgmental. Yes I am guilty.

But I agree that if you are writing your own notes for yourself you should not care what others think.

What I find interesting is you write in Chinese at all. I don't (unless it is something not important). I had a meeting yesterday. Everyone at the meeting is Chinese and we all spoke in Cantonese yet nobody wrote in Chinese, because it would be too slow, and we are used to writing in English. So practice does help.

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Lu

That is interesting. Assuming that you all went through a Chinese-language school system, with plenty of note-taking for years, how strange that note-taking in a foreign language is still faster.

So if a foreigner would write in English instead of pinyin, when listening to a Chinese lecture/meeting, how would that change your judgement of their Chinese?

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