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vvenk2004

Learning to write Chinese

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vvenk2004

Hi people,

I am in the process of learning Mandarin, and I was satisfied with just learning the pinyin but recently i got more interested in learning how to write. I went to some book shops with my Chinese friends and showed them the "Teach yourself" book to learn Chinese writing, as well as some other books. They said that the books in the store are good but they suggested the books that is used to teach young school kids in China to write would be far better as they start from really basic characters. So i ventured to look for a site that would fit this description but I was not happy with the ones i found so far because they don't teach you the basic characters that they do in China for school kids. Does anyone out there no a website that can satisfy my needs? Feel free to add other miscellaneous comments.

Thank you very much. :lol:

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opper567

Teach Yourself Chinese Script is probably the best book I've ever used to learn Chinese Characters. The only down side is that it doesn't give the pronounciations of the characters when they first appear. But its excellent in every other aspect.

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TCcookie

Hi there. I really recommend the book Reading and Writing Chinese by William McNaughton and Li Ying. It takes you through the most frequent 1500 or so characters with stroke order charts and a few words each character appears in, from the most basic characters (radicals) to the most complex.

As far as using elementary school books, though, I'm a little skeptical. I find that the fastest way, for me at least, to learn characters is to simply learn those that I use and to use them. Even with that McNaughton book, it's awesome when your'e first starting out to help you learn the radicals and other common character components, but when you're really ready to get literate, you just need to use the script. The trouble with elementary school writers is that they're made for children who already know the language, and the most structurally basic characters are not necessarily those you're going to use the most. Once you get past a certain beginning level, the complexity of each character matters far less than its frequency of use. I'm sure there are good elementary books out there, but I looked at some (maybe they were exceptions) and I wasn't too impressed: it seemed like the characters they taught weren't necessarily what a language-learner needs right away.

Summary: Go through the McNaughton book for a while, then just learn characters as you use them, periodically referring back to the McNaughton book to be sure you are writing them correctly and to quickly learn blocks of characters.

That's my advice, but I would love to hear of people's positive experiences with Chinese elementary writing books as I don't think the ones I glanced through were quite representative of the majority.

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allenedgar

For me using the Wenlin software is the most helpful way to study characters. I highly recommend it. I also use a Wacom writing tablet. Although the software ($200) and tablet ($85) are kind of expensive, I think they're worth it. Good luck with your study!

www.wenlin.com

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vvenk2004

Hi guys,

Thank you for the replies. I will be looking into your advice. On a side note, I know learning Chinese characters is not easy and I am not ashamed to admit that I got bogged down initially but seeing the amount of people on this forum who have been through what i have gone through, and also the level of proficiency they would have achieved, inspires me a lot. I am a language lover and a culture lover, and have lots of friends from China. Having this forum, as well as my friends, I can say I don't feel as lost any more. Thank you everyone.

On another side note, does anyone know how to obtain subbed versions of Xiang sheng , particularly those performed by Dashan, and also some other comedy shows. I have guess guess series from Taiwan, but they are not subbed. Thanks. 8)

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