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gougou

Studying Chinese without learning characters

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gougou

I have a question, inspired by the discussion here:

Those of you who study Chinese (as a foreign language) without learning the characters, is it possible for you to realize the differences between two characters?

What I mean is, when you read "zhe4 shi4 jiao4shi4", are you aware of the two shi4's being different characters?

When starting, I was thinking about leaving the characters be for a while, and just study the speaking part, but I thought this would be, if not impossible, then at least more difficult. What are your experiences with this?

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beirne

I'm learning the characters now, but I didn't for my first two years of study. I didn't little sense of the difference between things like the two shi's in your example, although I probably had a guess because I did know 是 early on. The usage of both was clear. In general, though, I just treated Chinese like I did a language like Spanish and learned the words as they were pronounced. The only reason I eventually started learning characters was that it got annoying being illiterate.

BTW, I still don't know what the character is for jiao4shi4 de shi4, although I'm guessing I would recognize it if reading.

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beirne
jiao4shi4 教室 classroom :)

Yup I recognize that one! :-)

I should add that I'm mainly learning to write characters to help reinforce my recognition of them. While my flashcards have characters for recognition, when writing I only do invidual characters, not words. It is really painful when I have to write words or sentences because I often don't know which characters to use. So in another way of answering the original question, I don't always differentiate the different characters behind the syllables.

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gougou

So, hmm, if I get this correctly, you are reading phonetically now?

So would 教室 and 叫试 actually both mean class room to you?

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beirne
So, hmm, if I get this correctly, you are reading phonetically now?

So would 教室 and 叫试 actually both mean class room to you?

I''m somewhere in the middle. I this example I would probably read 叫试 as classroom if the context indicated something about education. I would know it is misspelled, though. If there wasn't clear context I might well end up trying to figure out what call-try meant. There are plenty of cases, though, where I don't really know what the characters are for a word and I am going phonetically. I'm writing more, though, so this may be less of a problem over time.

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badr

i've wroking on my spoken Chinese with little to no attention as far as the characters go and it has been problematic since I get some of them confused quite often. tian is a recurring one that messes me up, so is dian.

I've just started on the writing part a few weeks ago and it's helping somewhat. I hope that the bootcamp I'm going to this summer can help imrove that.

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beirne
i've wroking on my spoken Chinese with little to no attention as far as the characters go and it has been problematic since I get some of them confused quite often. tian is a recurring one that messes me up, so is dian.

In what way do tian and dian mess you up?

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badr

ji tian and ji dian are pronounced the same way in my neck of the woods. I'm constantly trying to put thme in context and it is difficult when some taxi driver is talking to you at 300 words/minute.... I swear, they talk faster than they drive. :conf

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laohu489

Well, when I started learning Chinese, I did not bother learning how to write the characters, but I could read fairly decently. Could not be bothered with pinyin either :wall I finally realized though that it is important to learn how to write characters, even though most of it is done on computers nowadays.

So would 教室 and 叫试 actually both mean class room to you?

Would your example be better served by 教士? I am not quite sure what you are trying to say but I think you are giving a set of words that are jiao4 shi4?

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