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TheWind

Daily methods to practice writing?

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TheWind

Hi,

 

I recently just got back in the swing of studying  again. I'm currently doing the NPCR series and Pimsleur at the same time. that covers most of my studying.

 

One issue though is writing. For example ”好久不见“ --- Each separate character I can read, and if I'm looking at it, then I can instantly copy it in proper stroke order. but if you asked me how to write it and I had nothing to look at......well, It might take a moment for me to figure out, or I might get it wrong.

 

I'm not sure why this is...Maybe I don't read/write enough to associate the sounds with the characters? (that's my guess)

 

Does anyone have any helpful tips or suggestions on what I could be doing to improve my writing? Sometimes it feels like my writing skills aren't even close to par with my others.

 

All comments appreciated, thanks.  

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Shelley

I take what some people might call the old fashion method, but it is the way characters have been learnt for a long time now.

 

I don't think you can beat simply writing as much as possible.

 

I use Hanzi grids, there is a free version but the cost is very cheap, 10 aus dollars last time I looked, and well worth having the full version, have a look here http://www.hanzigrids.com/

 

I put all the new characters from each NPCR lesson in to Hanzi grids and practice writing them.

 

Also partly to help me learn it and partly to get more writing practice I write out all the substitution and extension exercises in full in characters. This can be less boring than just coping the same character over and over, although that is good for the first exposure to the character. Then I just write out anything else I can find, the text at the end of each lesson is a good one.

 

I like Skritter a lot but its too expensive for me, I think its good for learning characters but not for writing them because you don't use your finger to write and practising with a pen and paper is much more realistic and helps much more with the "muscle memory" which can be so useful.

 

it is also a good idea to learn the component parts of characters so that when you come across a new character some if not all of it will be familiar and it will be only (I say only :shock: ) a matter of putting together these known component parts.

 

Outlier Linguistic Solutions go into this method in depth. Have a look at their posts http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/45912-outlier-linguistic-solutions/

 

Hope this helps.

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querido

I agree with Shelley but I never did that. Among my other flashcards I always had character writing cards with (usually) Romanization and definition on the front and the character on the back and I had to either see it or write it in my mind (with or without moving my finger). I was free to write them on paper but almost never did.

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TheWind

 

I don't think you can simply beat writing as much as possible.

 

 

That's roughly what I've been doing --- learn new characters, then practice them in hanzi grids. But I won't get any realtime practice after that.

 

I'm preferably looking for some sort of structured, regular/ realtime practice. no grids or tracing. 

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Shelley

Real time practice?.. writing.. so write something, write a diary, a short story, letters, doesn't matter what as long as you write.

 

The next step after tracing and writing in grids is IMHO just to write. Anything and as much as you can without it being a chore.

 

Try writing a diary everyday, this will give you structure and real time practice.

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querido

"some sort of structured, regular/ realtime practice"

 

A flashcard program will promote the easy ones into the future and give you the hard ones to practice today, every day. Do you already know about that?

 

And it can be thought of, if you like, not as a flashcard program but merely as a review scheduler; when that card comes up you could do anything you want with that character and then promote/demote according to whatever standard you feel like as long as you're consistent. [Extra credit: And if you want to you can avoid looking at the Romanization and definition; just "cloze delete" the character in question from a whole lesson on the front side. As a bonus, if you've studied that lesson you should know what character goes there, and if you don't you could fail the card for that reason. A nice advantage of this is that your whole flashcarding session can be Chinese-only.]

 

Flashcarding for language learning is rightly criticized in various threads (for listening/speaking it's hard to employ it optimally but for reading/writing it served me well), but one thing it will do is give you what you ask for in the quote above.

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imron

What you are talking about here is the difference between active and passive recall.

 

Passive recall is what happens when you are reading.  You see a shape and you recognise it.

 

Active recall is what is required for writing, you first need to recall the shape in your mind and then you can write it down.

 

Active and passive recall are very different skills and from the sound of it, you need to develop your active recall ability.  Just practising writing is not enough if you are not actively engaging your mind and practising active recall while you are writing.  I wrote a post previously about how I developed my active recall skills with characters.  Make sure to keep reading that thread a bit further for a follow up post.

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TheWind

thanks for the input everyone. You've given me some things to consider. 

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eddyf

I practice writing characters using Pleco flashcards. It presents the pinyin and translation, and I have to write the character in the app using my finger. It works pretty well. People also say that Skritter is good. Either way, for something structured and efficient, nothing beats flashcards with SRS.

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Christy

I use "Train" section in DucroZi to practice my Chinese writing. It can let me to hide Chinese character but display English or Pinyin, then I can write the strokes. After writing strokes, I can display character to check if I am right or not. It's free. 

Train-section.jpg?resize=176%2C300

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Shelley
Does DucroZi hande stroke order?

 

 

I wondered this too and does it show you stroke order or in any other way interact with your writing or is it just a scratch pad?

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Christy

Does DucroZi hande stroke order?

 

I wondered this too and does it show you stroke order or in any other way interact with your writing or is it just a scratch pad?

 

Nope, it's very simple, maybe just now I pay more attention on memorizing the vocabulary (it's useful for me to remember new words.)

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Shelley

Thanks for your reply Christy.

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Pingfa
Something that might lessen the burden is if you type/write out your thoughts in your first language first, then write it Chinese.

 

When I started learning I wrote out short stories I found online, first writing what I see, then without looking. When I had memorized them well enough, I would just recall them in my mind's eye without writing. No need for a pen and paper when you write it in your head.

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