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Shelley

Writing Practice- what should be my goals?

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Shelley

I enjoy writing characters for two reasons:

 

1) I want to be able write

 

2) it helps me remember the character.

 

I am not interested in perfect calligraphy, but I want to know what level of accuracy I need to be legible and for it to be beneficial for remembering how to read and write them.

 

For example: If I misplace a stroke slightly once out of every 10 times I write is this good enough for my purposes? Or if a stroke is just not quite long enough occasionally?.

 

If I aim for well proportioned and clear characters will this be helpful for my needs?

 

I spend about a third of my study time on practicing writing characters, I use Hanzi Grids, text books grids, Pleco flashcards and sporadically Skritter.

 

I have read Hoffman's helpful blog about writing characters and have tried to take this on board, but I don't want to waste my time striving for a level that is not useful for my study purposes.

 

I am going to be brave and post a couple of pages of my writing for comments.

 

I hope I have made myself clear when it comes to my goals.

 

post-31145-0-35808100-1425567779_thumb.jpg

post-31145-0-53751700-1425567792_thumb.jpg

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querido

My goals were always the same as yours (though I also looked at calligraphy for a while). For your stated purposes your writing looks perfectly functional, and my own experience is that my handwriting [Edit: much messier than yours] is never misunderstood by the Chinese natives I've tried to communicate with. [Edit: I'm sorry I can't get my attachment to display right.]

 

Another criterion for how accurately you need to write is whether or not handwriting input on touch screen can recognize it. I doubt you'd have any trouble, as I don't.

 

I switched from a Song to a Kai type font early on. I hope it helped me.

post-12291-0-55288300-1425598164_thumb.jpg

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Flickserve

both of your efforts look perfectly legible.

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Demonic_Duck

My handwriting mostly sucks, but is generally legible (unless I rush it). Actually, as I “improve” my writing and can write with greater speed and less effort/conscious thought, it probably becomes considerably less legible over time.

 

Corrections (@Shelley): first pic, third line: should be “他有几个中国朋友”; second pic, fifth line: should be “我们系有三教授”.

 

Handwriting looks fine to me, but obviously would take a lot more practice to look like an adult native Chinese speaker's. From what I can pick up on:

  • Your first “朋” slopes too much to the right.
  • Your second and fifth strokes in “多” should start horizontal, rather than curving downwards.
  • The “的” on line 9 of the first pic: the last stroke should be a 丶, and it shouldn't slope upwards.
  • The first stroke in “系” should be written from right to left, sloping gently downwards. Some of yours look too horizontal.

Disclaimer: I know next to nothing about Chinese calligraphy and forming characters correctly.

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Flickserve

To be fair, for communication, it looks fine. If it is to aid learning, it looks ok to me.

 

If their objective is to look practiced at writing, then I would agree it needs much more practice. But I don't think that is the objective.

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Shelley

Thank you all for your comments. It is helpful to have some feedback.

 

@querido your writing looks to me like it has been done as part of note taking in class? if this is the case I would not be comparing it with mine which has not been written under those conditions. If mine was note taking it would be much worse than yours. I have no problems with touch screen recognition, this was something I hadn't thought of so that is a bonus :)

 

@Flickserve legible is good :)

 

@Demonic_Duck Thanks for your corrections the first one I missed, the second one - we haven't been introduce to 位 yet, we are using 个 still for most measure words but yes it needs a measure word there, again it was missed. Thanks

I will try and correct my strokes as mentioned by you.

but obviously would take a lot more practice to look like an adult native Chinese speaker's.

 

This was the most eyeopening comment so far, yes it is just like a child's writing and I hadn't thought about that.

I suppose that is what I was trying to figure out, what my writing looked like. I would be pleased with Chinese child's writing, but I guess it really looks more like a non native adult learning Chinese and that's okay too, cos that is what it is. :)

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Demonic_Duck
If their objective is to look practiced at writing, then I would agree it needs much more practice. But I don't think that is the objective.

I said it would take a lot more practice to look like a native-speaking adult's writing. I stand by that. It's attainable, but you're right, for many/most learners it isn't (and shouldn't be) an objective.

 

This was the most eyeopening comment so far, yes it is just like a child's writing and I hadn't thought about that.

I'd say every non-native speaker's writing tends to start out looking like a kid's (in fact, we already have a large advantage over a 3 or 4 year old kid who's just learning to write their first few characters, or even a 6 or 7 year old kid who's been in school for a couple of years, as we have much better-developed fine motor skills). I guess if you analysed it closely, you'd find the mistakes we tend to make are probably a little different, but many of the general trends are the same (mixing up similar-looking strokes, wrong stroke orders, a general appearance of being a bit ungainly and not very flowing).

 

If Chinese people tell you "your writing looks like a kid's... a kid who writes well", that's definitely a compliment. :D

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Flickserve

Shelley,

 

In the second photo you posted, your 国 and 的 are written incorrectly. I can understand your character but the school teacher would give both a red cross.

 

For 国, the character within the box is . Yours looks a bit like . Bit curious why the difference between the first and the second photo

 

For 的, the 日 part looks very much like  月. Again, the error is not present in the first photo.

 

Is the second photo an earlier attempt?

 

 

Here's my attempt at writing one of your sentences. It takes practice and I never really use it. My positions of radicals are rather off.

 

post-58703-0-63707300-1425644580_thumb.jpg

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Shelley

The photos are in order, ie: first photo was written first.

 

I hadn't noticed the 国 mistake, but now you point it out it is very obvious and I know its wrong. I suppose I find it hard to fit it all in the space.

 

The errors in the second photo may be because it was later in the day? :wall

 

I am intrigued by your 不, it seems rounder than mine and how I have seen it written in my books.

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Flickserve

Oh, your 不 and 小. The vertical stroke is very straight, just like typeface.

 

For handwritting, there would be a very slight bend to the right.

 

For a lot of strokes, I see you do the stroke and stop the pen dead on the final spot (I am guessing from the heavy indentation of the ink).

 

As you come off the stroke, gently lift up the pen - like using a brush and trying to avoid a blob of paint at the end.

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Demonic_Duck

I've never seen “不” written like that before, but if I baidu image search it there are a few examples like that in calligraphic fonts.

 

(Not posting link to the image search results as the first one is NSFW...)

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Flickserve

Don't take my 不 as a standard written 不! It's one character I find very difficult.

 

Remember, I am still elementary stage chinese. :(

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Shelley
As you come off the stroke, gently lift up the pen - like using a brush and trying to avoid a blob of paint at the end.

 

Sounds like a good idea.

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Silent

 

 

I am not interested in perfect calligraphy, but I want to know what level of accuracy I need to be legible and for it to be beneficial for remembering how to read and write them.

Looks perfectly legible to me. Actually, to me it is far more readable then the handwriting of the average Chinese. I hope not to insult you, but to me it looks like the writing of a child that consiencesly writes all strokes which results in clear (not always easthetically nice) characters rather than the more cursive of a 'quick' note by a native adult. So I'ld say very clear, but probably my guess is that as a consequence you write slow.

 

For remembering characters I think mainly the combination and order of strokes is of importance, not so much the exact layout of how the strokes end up on paper as long as the character is recognizable for the feedback. With feedback I mean for creating a mental link between the muscle memory of the stroke order you just wrote and the resulting character you see while/after writing it.

 

But then, that's just my two cents worth of guessing.

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maigheann

Do you read (or copy) from a variety of Chinese fonts, or predominantly in an angular typeface like Ming?  When I make worksheets for my children to use on Hanzigrid, I use one the softer, rounder fonts.  It is a more natural model for your hand, e.g. for otherwise angular words like 多.  Furthermore, I think some fonts just don't render as well as others.  For example, 个 should have a 人 radical on top. The left stroke should be higher (要去头)。

 

W/r to your question ... how good is good enough?   I like for my children and I to at least have enough skill to handwrite the 1000 most common words on paper.  So if I want to scribble down a note like, "I went to buy buy milk and eggs" I should be able to do so without problems (or computer & printer).  Most handwriting input on computers is pretty forgiving of errant strokes so you can't count on that in correcting you too much.

 

Have you ever rec'd a quickly scribble note from a Chinese person?  At first it will look like a bunch of nonsense swirls.  Then one day, your eyes will actually start to recognize discrete characters in which a lot of shortcuts have been taken.  This is a good day.  I think you should wait for this day before starting to take any shortcuts yourself.  So for now, for example, keep doing things like writing 了 with two distinct strokes.

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Shelley

@silent yes I have realised that it looks like child's writing, that is I think what I was trying figure out, "what did my writing look like?"

 

I am now going to work on trying to get it to flow a bit more. Creating the mental link is the important bit but I also want to produce some legible, pleasant to look at writing.

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Hofmann

From what I understand, you want a level of handwriting that facilitates learning characters.

 

From what I observe, your biggest weakness is that you don't seem to demonstrate that you know exactly what kind of stroke you are writing.

 

Being able to narrow down the strokes in Chinese characters into a limited set will help you with this. That is, instead of thinking in terms of "a stroke that goes from here to there and curves this way," you will know a set of a few strokes, and they are easily distinguishable from each other, and you will think in terms of "stroke A" or "stroke B."

 

If I misplace a stroke slightly once out of every 10 times I write is this good enough for my purposes? Or if a stroke is just not quite long enough occasionally?

If you mess up somehow 1/10 times, then your intent is obviously correct and this is an issue of technique. Also, a stroke that isn't quite long enough would be very rare if you know that it has to be longer than something else, because then it's either long enough or it isn't, and you will write in a way that ensures it is obviously long enough.

 

BTW,  can be slanted.

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Shelley

@Hofmann thank you for your comments.

 

what kind of stroke you are writing.

 

Yes I understand this. I have familiarised my self with these, but never actually learnt them.

 

I was concerned about learning in them in isolation in case it affected the way I memorised characters, but now I see that if I learn these well, I can easily say this character is composed of this, this and this and it would be beneficial.

 

I will pay more attention to this and practice writing this way. It will probably flow better.

 

So back to basics for me and another read of your excellent handwriting blog.

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Demonic_Duck

BTW, 朋 can be slanted.

Am I correct in assuming the slope (if any) of all your characters should be consistent, though?

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Hofmann

Yes. Or rather, most vertical strokes (丨) should be vertical.

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