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Some Chinese Characters have more than one correct stroke order! Where to find a trusted source of stroke order?

Dien Le

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I know how important of Chinese stroke order so I always find out the source to find the correct character stroke orders. In the beginning, everything is going well and I am really satisfied with the guides of stroke orders from Wikipedia or some Mobile applications. But recently, I found out that there are a few Chinese characters which do not only have a only one stroke order. For example: the character 出 /chu/ could have two stroke orders: 1) At Wikipedia: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E5%87%BA#/media/File:%E5%87%BA-order.gif 2) At zdict.net: https://pic.zdic.net/kai/jt_bh/gif/15/51FA.gif It is kind of disappointed to me. This issue is not only existing on the websites or Mobile applications, I am practicing writing Chinese and the 汉语教程 of Beijing university also showing inconsistent some stroke orders of some characters. Any suggestion about the trusted sources for learning Chinese stroke order from everyone? Really appreciated!


The problem here is that I am learning Chinese from a very trusted lecture from Beijing University, but it seem the stroke order there is wrong! So I am a bit a disappointed.



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It might help if you learn the rules governing stroke order, this is quite a good explanation  http://www.archchinese.com/chinese_stroke_order_rules.html


As always there are exceptions to rules so there might be some that don't follow the rules. 


If there is more one way then you just have to choose one that comes from a source you trust as in 

49 minutes ago, Dien Le said:

a very trusted lecture from Beijing University,


It also helps if that when writing the character it flows and follows a naturally efficient order, this is the idea behind stroke order and it also helps you remember how to write them by encouraging "muscle memory"


I always use the order given by Pleco stroke order add on, this is my "trusted source" Pleco gives the order for 出 as in your second example from zdict.


Hope this is of some help.

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Thank you for your suggestion, Shelley! I knew all rules and in most cases I am doing well with the correct order. As you said, here are only a few exceptions. But I wonder why a common page like Wiki is showing the different order from other sources? I guess that some Wiki examples were contributed from Taiwanese while other pages were from internal China, weren't they?

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If you check wikimedia's Stroke Order Project page (where that wikipedia gif came from) you'll see that 出-order.gif is supposed to follow the PRC standard because of its filename.  However, if you go to the PRC source and look it up yourself on p.20, you'll see that it does not follow it, so in that sense it is "wrong" and it is actually following the ROC (Taiwan) order if you look it up at the Taiwanese MoE website.


Here are what wikimedia claims to use as sources: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Stroke_Order_Project/Sources if you want something authoritative.  A similar list is at the Reference section of the wikipedia Stroke_order page.


However, please just accept that there can be multiple stroke orders for characters.  Even the Japanese source (筆順指導の手びき (Hitsujun shidō no tebiki), 1958. (Authoritative from 1958 to 1977)) itself says that it is for reducing confusion in teaching and it does not regard alternative stroke orders as incorrect.




— 「筆順指導の手びき」(1958年(昭和33年))「1.本書のねらい」より



It is neither an error nor a denial of a stroke order which I did not pick up here.

(Google translation of the green part above)


Follow the general rules and use the sources if you get confused, no need be too hanged up on which is "correct".


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I think it's important to focus on your aims and not get side tracked. Does it really  matter if you get some stroke orders wrong? The completed character is the end goal. If you can write the character correctly in the same amount of time invested committing it to long-term memory, I don't see how religiously trying to get stroke order correct is  important.

Further having a source where you can quickly look it up like skitter or pleco can save a large of time compared to flicking to books websites trying to find it.


I think people often get drawn into an academic approach to the language rather than a practical one. Maybe that's where your interests lie, but it's a long long road so often one needs to cut corners. 


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