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How can I write faster?

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Guest

Now that I started to learn this fascinating language I have started to feel that the hanzis are just too complicated to write on paper. This worries me because It takes like 3 seconds to write each hanzi which would not be ideal for the HSK 5.

 

I know it takes practice and time to get used to it but I feel that I'm doing it wrong by trying to imitate the hanzis as they are shown in printed papers. Basically I would like to know how to develop a hand written version of the hanzis considering that these are so specific to write.

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Shelley

When I asked the forum for advice on my handwriting the one thing I took from the replies that made a lot of sense was that my writing looks like a kid's writing. When you see examples of ordinary chinese people's writing with just a biro and paper it can be difficult to read, just like my handwriting in English is not like printing neatly like when I was at school. Go search for examples of handwriting and you will see what I mean.

After much practice you will develop a style of your own and writing can become as quick as your native handwriting but it will take time and lots of practice.

 

I suggest you have a look at Hanzi Grids here https://www.hanzigrids.com/

Practice writing using the grids but as 889 says you need to make sure you use the correct stroke order, there are good reasons for the order being as it is, mostly it is because it help your writing flow easily, it is efficient and gives the correct look.

Pleco has a stroke order add on, there are lots of resources out there to teach the correct stroke order.

 

You say your chinese is "nothing yet" so don't worry by the time you get to HSK5 you will have had lots and lots of practice.

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TriplePicto

Try to google 行書 and 楷書, feel the difference.

 

Chinese people write 行書 which has more contiuous strokes then 楷書。

 

行書has different stroke order from 楷書,you may need some time to learn. But first, you must have a solid ground on 楷書

 

(Native Cantonese speaker from HK who also knows mandarin, traditional Chinese characters and simplified Chinese characters)

 

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mlescano

MrDuque, I was also in the same situation this week. I felt that my writing was not "flowing". So I found some fantastic posts by Hofmann that helped me a lot.

 

First, have a look at his "Minimum requirements" series: https://www.chinese-forums.com/blogs/entry/567-handwriting-the-minimum-requirements-part-1/

 

Then, have a look at his post explaining why the standard Chinese stroke order you're probably learning is historically wrong, and thus awkward, without proper "flow": https://www.chinese-forums.com/blogs/entry/168-newb-questions-that-never-get-good-answers-part-3/

 

After he enlightens you about how the Japanese standard stroke order has the least errors, download a free iPhone app called imiwa? (used to be called kotoba), where you can find stroke order animations. You need to follow this stroke order and not the standard Chinese one if you want to achieve results similar to the 行书 examples you find online. Complement this with Hofmann's list of the few errors in the Japanese standard: https://www.chinese-forums.com/blogs/entry/435-extension-of-newb-questions-that-never-get-good-answers-part-3/

 

At this point, you should spend at least a few months, if not years, writing standard Kaiti characters. Make sure to choose the kaiti font in Pleco for the headword so you get used to reading and writing it when you do your flashcard reps. I'll wait here.

 

------------------------------------

 

After that, read Hofmann's post where he details the basics about 行书: https://www.chinese-forums.com/blogs/entry/577-how-to-learn-cursive-行書/

 

After all this, what I'm doing now is using the 硬笔行书 (pen-written running script) font when doing my reps with Pleco. What I'm doing is:

 

1) I do my Pleco flashcard reps in alternating mode: One card will be reading, the other one will be writing, and so on.

 

2) With a reading card, I'm forced to decode the 硬笔行书 font visually, and this teaches me a lot about how strokes fuse together, and also to recognize variations in stroke order. The same element is written in different ways within the same font. When I find myself not being able to make heads or tails of the character, I look up handwritten samples with Google Images and also the character search engine recommended by Hofmann. I've also found lots of videos showing you an actual person writing the character on YouTube. 

 

3) With a writing card, I do my best to emulate the 硬笔行书 style from memory, and check my result against the font. Again, I do search online for videos/images when I just can't figure out how to achieve a certain shape. I also double-check the proper stroke order of certain elements with the imiwa? app and Hofmann's post about the errors in the Japanese standard. Again, sometimes I just must accept that there are several ways to write the same thing. In some cases you won't be able to figure out the 行书 stroke order (or logic) yourself, so keep a notebook with those problem characters and ask a native.

 

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Publius

The thing is, 草書 stroke order can be different from 行書 stroke order, which in its turn, can be different from 楷書 stroke order.

 

I write 林 like this: c5e22bc717f80822.thumb.png.1ff3ce364f2c87a8db2fa39eba5fe434.png

But it would be foolish to think the correct stroke order for 林 is 豎豎橫撇捺.

In 行書 it's 2c51616772f729b0.thumb.png.bb99a9727206a255c8272283f4b2bead.png

This is closer to 楷書. But notice the 捺(點) on the left side is omitted to achieve a better flow.

(You can check out more examples of 林 at http://sf.zdic.net/sf/cs/0127/6177d65dccd031707f7b5777e988498b.html)

 

In English, the cursive D is written like this: capital_d_instructions.thumb.png.3b619583828ad34492a0318fb84166ba.png

If you're writing in block letters, it would be very awkward to draw a semicircle from bottom to top. But in cursive it's the most natural thing to do.

 

So my point is, if you want to write smoothly and fast, some rules must be broken. But that doesn't mean the textbook stroke orders are wrong. They're meant to teach you how to walk (or crawl rather) before you can run or fly.

 

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lips
1 hour ago, Publius said:

walk (or crawl rather) before you can run or fly

Amen.

Writing Chinese characters (not writing as in composing) is a memorization and physical activity (that does not require a lot of physical skills―for writing with a hard-tip pen).  The only way to write fast (and produce the correct result) is with a lot of practice.  If you need (or want to learn) to write Chinese with a pen by hand, do as all the elementary students do―get a grade school writing practice book and start to write.  Start with 楷书 (or 楷書 for traditional characters) and stick with it.  For someone learning Chinese, 楷书 is the proper way to learn characters.  You'll write pretty fast if you do not have to stop before or in the middle of writing a character, even when writing traditional Chinese 楷書.  It's better to use your time to learn and practice 楷书 than to learn 行书.

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Mati1

Slightly OT.

 

On 6.4.2017 at 0:54 PM, Shelley said:

just like my handwriting in English is not like printing neatly like when I was at school.

 

Reading that I had to think of block letters which sounds strange to me because of my own experiences.

I opened an online dictionary but there is no agreed on best translation for the German word I want to express.

It surprised me to see such comments on the dictionary discussion page:

" When I was a kid, we alternated between calling it cursive and script. Many kids in the USA don't learn it, some have trouble reading it. "

" I stopped writing in cursive in 4th grade, as I found I could write faster in print, and it was more legible. "

 

I think joined-up handwriting should still be taught and used at school; not exclusively of course. But learning it is a joke compared to other scripts so no one can tell me it takes away from learning time.

Anyway, the word I am referring to (Schönschrift) means cursive, script, joined-up handwriting. But more than that it is "beautiful" joined-up handwriting. This doesn't mean full-blown calligraphy which makes me think of writing meticulously with a lot of effort and very slowly, producing a piece of art, as is the case with Chinese calligraphy and this exists for the Latin alphabet as well. Rather it means writing in the official joined-up handwriting style exactly and "beautifully", so without distortions and other things which are introduced in fast everyday handwriting (at least that's my understanding). It must also not contain any spelling mistakes. You could say it looks like a kid's writing, but compared to fast everyday joined-up handwriting there's more effort going into it and it helps the reader, not the writer.

 

When I had my final exams at school (not that long ago ...) which grant access to universities, the test in our native language was to write a paper of a certain minimum length this way within four or five hours. This is kind of impossible to do in the given time without enough exercise. Failing that you got downgraded (I did) and your preliminary version of your text will be used to judge the missing part of the paper. (The first version can be written faster as one wishes and is for doing corrections and improving it on one's own.)

 

I have heard that Finland recently stopped teaching joined-up handwriting at schools. :conf

 

I wonder if and how handwriting is graded in your country.

It would also be interesting to know how handwritten Hanzi are graded in the Gaokao and in university studies. When is a character ugly? Do ugly characters have any effect on the grade? When is a character actually considered being written wrongly and how can it affect the final grade?

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imron
1 hour ago, Mati1 said:

Anyway, the word I am referring to (Schönschrift) means cursive, script, joined-up handwriting. But more than that it is "beautiful" joined-up handwriting

Although not quite the word you are looking for, 'penmanship' describes the skill and art of writing by hand.

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Guest

Thanks to all for your answers, so far they have been better than Google itself :wink:

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werewitt

@MrDuque You probably want to use Skritter if you're into handwriting of 汉字.

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