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TheWind

Considering not learning to write --- looking for input

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Demonic_Duck
But you'd be hard-pressed to find a a Chinese writing the equivalence if "definitely" wrong

Writing a low-level word incorrectly yet understandably also happens in Chinese.

 

or the contraction of "you are" wrong

That's like saying "you won't find English speakers forgetting the classifier for 'tree' in English" - trivially true, but meaningless. English doesn't have classifiers, nor does Chinese have contractions.

 

or writing "lose" wrong.
It's very common to incorrectly write a character as another similar character in Chinese (a la "lose"/"loose"). That's what 别字 are.
 
The main difference between writing mistakes made in Chinese in English is that in Chinese, you additionally have situations in which educated adult native speakers completely forget how to even start writing a character. This phenomenon is completely absent in English.

 

Let's say you can't remember how to write the word "unnecessary". Even if your spelling instincts are way off, you'll still come up with some kind of approximation (say "unnesecary"), which 9 times out of 10 will still be easily understandable.

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Angelina

You are comparing apples and oranges here.

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Demonic_Duck

In the sense that "apples and oranges are both types of fruit, therefore are comparable", I agree.

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Angelina

are they?

are tomatoes fruit too?

http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2013/12/26/256586055/when-the-supreme-court-decided-tomatoes-were-vegetables

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2004/sep/23/research.highereducation2

Alan's parents are English, but he was born and grew up in Japan. He would pass as a native speaker of either language. What brought Alan to the notice of Taeko Wydell, an expert on Japanese reading, and Brian Butterworth, was that he was severely dyslexic, but only in one language. In the other, he was probably in the top 10% of readers of his age.

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eddyf

I think it's very useful to compare English spelling and learning Chinese characters. They both represent some information that you have to learn about every individual word before you can be considered literate. When someone completely unfamiliar with Chinese seems completely mind-blown that there are thousands of characters that you have to learn, I point out to them how they've learned to spell thousands of words as well and that puts it in perspective. It shows that even normal people who aren't particularly gifted are capable of remembering a lot of information, no matter what language they speak or what writing system they use. Now it's probably true that on average, the number of bits of information that you have to remember per Chinese word is greater than what you have to remember per English word. But that doesn't make it a bad comparison.

 

The Chinese writing system has some particularly hard to write words, like 喷嚏, but the English system also has some words that are hard to write, like "colonel" or "Wednesday" or "island". The frequency of hard words may be different, but the phenomenon of hard words is the same. Most words in Chinese are actually easy to write because of phono-semantic compounds.

 

Taking the comparison further, and tying back to the original topic, never learning to handwrite any Chinese characters is like an English learner deciding not to learn spelling because they can always just type on a computer and use spellcheck. You can, I guess, but you're definitely falling short of becoming fully literate.

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roddy

I don't think it's a useful comparison at all. You can learn the very basics of English spelling (how sounds map to orthography) and proceed to write down anything you hear (and all the words you already know) in a legible, if not correct form. My farther has newmonia. I bort a new clok. Good luck doing that in Chinese on Day 3 of class. The effort required is orders of magnitude larger, and there are very real opportunity costs. 

 

Have an understanding of how characters work (stroke order, components, common structures), as this is necessary for learning to read. Then focus on what will give you most benefit for hours put in. But for my money, there's no need to learn to write, unless you need to learn to write. 

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eddyf

As a practical matter, on Day 3 of Chinese class you can write things out in pinyin. Is it really that much worse than writing things out in an invented phonetic butchering of the English orthography? At least pinyin is standardized. Anyway I'm not saying that it's just as hard to learn to write in English as in Chinese. But they're both harder than learning to write in, say, Spanish where it's more of a pure phonetic system. Spelling and characters are both extra information you have to remember which is proportional to the number of words in the language and not just the number of phonemes in the language. And not knowing either of them from memory will mark you as not fully literate/educated even if you are able to read just fine.

 

I mean, I get what you're saying which is that even if learning spelling and learning characters are a little bit similar, the most pertinent point is that learning spelling is way easier than learning characters, and that consideration totally outweighs any insight you might get from the comparison. That may very well be I guess. Although learning phono-semantic compounds is really not that hard. It just has a bigger learning curve at the start. I still like the comparison.

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Demonic_Duck

I don't think it's a useful comparison at all... The effort required is orders of magnitude larger, and there are very real opportunity costs.

You say it's not worth comparing, then make a comparison.

Just because there are real differences both qualitative and quantitative, doesn't mean comparing the two isn't helpful. But I agree about the opportunity costs.

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querido

Most of that extra effort is already exerted while learning to read with no assistance from phonetic writing.

Just stoke order and being able to see the character in the mind for a moment (after knowing how to read, after having seen it many times) in order to copy it, are all that remain.

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Cid

While i definitely wouldn't say learning to write Chinese is a waste of time, i personally haven't put it to much use. But i suppose much of that has to do with the fact that i don't exactly live in a Chinese-speaking environment. However, i can see handwriting being a skill you'll need if you plan on actually living in a Chinese-speaking country. Especially if you plan on staying there for the long-term, then you'll need to fill out quite a bit of paperwork and such. I can see where you're coming from though. You can take care of most things with just typing but not quite everything! 

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abcdefg

However, i can see handwriting being a skill you'll need if you plan on actually living in a Chinese-speaking country. Especially if you plan on staying there for the long-term, then you'll need to fill out quite a bit of paperwork and such.

 

 

In the post office I have to write my return address (here in Kunming) on packages and express letters. So I've practiced enough to be able write those things with speed and flourish. The clerks are always impressed, but they don't know that my 书法 knowledge is only one layer deep.

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imron
So I've practiced enough to be able write those things with speed and flourish. The clerks are always impressed...

You're 胡不字

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