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Szymon456

Characters learning - How to proceed after radicals

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Enjune Zhang

Meaning of 尸 gets narrow down as dead body=corpse in modern Chinese, while meaning of it in ancient Chinese is more than that.

 

In ancient Chinese, character 尸 looks like someone sitting. Actually, it comes from a sacrificial ceremony where a person alive sits in the middle of the house, accepting the offering from people on behalf of the dead one (祭祀时代表死者受祭的人). Therefore, 尸 originally means human body, and extended as body. So it explains why something related to body has 尸 as the radical. Excreta(排泄物)of body as 屎尿屁,the part at the end of creature body with fur (毛) as tail(尾).尸 also means 陈放 (place/display)in ancient Chinese, so it explains why 展 applies this radical. The radical also has something to do with building (居层屋局) and shoe (履屐) in modern Chinese. Those are meanings extended based on body and place.

 

Something someone walks with is shoe, somewhere someone places himself could be a building.

 

Relation between radicals and characters lies in the meaning of ancient Chinese and sometimes we don't know much enough to say that it doesn't exist. 你不知道的不代表它不存在不合理,没有穷尽所有资源,请不要轻易否定某种存在的事实或联系,这是对语言文化最起码的敬畏。

 

QQ截图20190814140534.png

QQ截图20190814151021.png

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OneEye
20 hours ago, Enjune Zhang said:

尸 also means 陈放 (place/display)in ancient Chinese, so it explains why 展 applies this radical.

 

No, 展 originally meant "to toss and turn while falling asleep," which is why it contains the 尸 component.

 

Component, not radical, because we're not discussing dictionary lookup here.

 

20 hours ago, Enjune Zhang said:

The radical also has something to do with building (居层屋局) and shoe (履屐) in modern Chinese. Those are meanings extended based on body and place.

 

No, and this is incorrect on a few levels. For one thing, you can't look at the modern meaning when trying to figure out why a character contains a certain component. You have to look at the meaning the character was originally created to express. For example, 局 contains 尸 (a squatting person) because it originally meant "bent". The modern meaning "office" is a sound loan meaning (假借義), so 尸 here is "person" as usual and has nothing to do with "building."

 

You also have to look at the original form, not just the original meaning, in order to know why a component is there. For example, the 尸 in 层 is a corruption (訛變) of 户. The 尸 in 屋 was originally a different component (which doesn't exist in unicode so I can't type it here) depicting a tent. The 尸 in 履 is a corruption of 眉. So in all of these characters, 尸 is not "person," but it certainly isn't "building" either (in fact, it's never "building").

 

So you're making connections that aren't actually there, because you're only looking at the modern meaning and form of the characters. Connections like this:

 

20 hours ago, Enjune Zhang said:

Something someone walks with is shoe, somewhere someone places himself could be a building.

 

That's not what's actually going on with these characters. It just seems that way because you're looking at the surface, and not tracing the development in form and meaning over time.

 

20 hours ago, Enjune Zhang said:

Relation between radicals and characters lies in the meaning of ancient Chinese and sometimes we don't know much enough to say that it doesn't exist. 你不知道的不代表它不存在不合理,没有穷尽所有资源,请不要轻易否定某种存在的事实或联系,这是对语言文化最起码的敬畏。

 

 

While this part of your post comes across a bit condescending, it is true that we don't always have enough evidence to know why some characters contain the components they contain. But in this case, we do have enough, and we certainly have enough to know that 尸 doesn't mean "building" or "shoes."

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Enjune Zhang

First of all, 展 originally means "exhibit" instead of "to toss and turn while falling asleep" (that's another character "辗", you are talking about 辗转反侧).

 

Second, I have no idea why somebody keeps denying the radical's connection with characters. 尸 is both a component (偏旁) and a radical (部首) of 展. Radical is the component with basic meaning of the character or stating what the character is essentially about. For example, 河 (river)=氵(形旁,component standing for the meaning,water related, of a character,that's why it is also called 义符)+可(声旁,component standing for the pronunciation, indicating that it shares the same 韵母 with 可), only 氵carrying meaning could be radical here. A character includes the meaning carried by radical,so that's why radical is applied as a clue to find a character in a dictionary.Radical exists before dictionary, it is born with character. Dictionary is not the must context for you to talk about radical, since radical is more than 检字法. So finding the connection between radicals and characters will make memorizing characters much easier.

 

Third, I have said that radical 尸 has something to do with building (居层屋局) and shoe (履屐. I am not saying 尸=building (居层屋局), or =shoe(履屐). What I am trying to convey is that the character with 尸 may mean building and shoe or something relating to building and shoe. So when you come across a character with 尸 as radical, you may think about whether it could mean something relating to creature body, to building or shoe. That's it.

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Pall

The meaning of many radicals is understood differently in different parts of the world. And I think, it doesn't matter which meaning is true. It's possible, that all are true. Some could formate earlier, other later. The same attitude should be to the question whether the  展 is the radical or only the  part of it, 尸. What is most important is that how to use radicals to remember the characters. 
The 厂 radical means 'production facility' according to the https://www.hsk.academy, but in Russia there is no doubt, that it is a cliff, and it looks like. The 士 is a scholar in HSK Acadamy's view, in Russia it is considered as a warrior. There are many other differences of the kind. 
Then, where to look for the radical? They say, they should be on the left or at the bottom. However, I believe, that they happen very often at the top and even on the right (e.g. 印)。

 
What I do with the radical to memorize the character. I change new words in the text for their pinyin with some prefix, reflecting the radical, it's done in Russian. For example, I didn't know 法律. I converted it to the водо-fǎ-левошаго-lǜ. All the words, which I already had known I changed for Russian words. If there was a need for an additional word in Russian, which was not required in Chinese, I put it in brackets. If on the contrary there were additional Chinese words not needed in Russian, I gave them in Cyrillic transcription mupin. Names also were given in mupin. By this way the below Chinese text was converted to a Chinese-Russian superscript, which was perfectly unerstandable due to the fact, that Russian is the most flexible language in the world because of its utmost fusional (inflected) nature. It became easy for me to learn the meaning of the new words thanks to the context, and I could also memorize the transcription in its combination with the radical. Then, looking at the superscript, I  typed the text in Chinese, changing all for the characters back, and afterwards compared the result with the original. I typed the new words by syllables, not by the whole words, on purpose  in order to have more trouble with finding the required characters in the pop-up menu, and even used https://www.chinese-tools.com/tools/ime.html  instead of the Windows Chinese input application, since the latter 'learnt' quickly what character I needed and showed it in the first place, but I didn't want that. It's convinient in typing, but my purpose was learning. Normally there are a few characters with the same radical in the menu.  In a day or so I repeated typing the same text, then again in a day or two. Finally, I could distinguish all new words in characters, knowing their transcription at the same time. 

 孙月和王静聊王静的男朋友

孙月:听说你的男朋友李进跟你是一个学校的,是你同学吗?

王静:是的,他学的是新闻,我学的法律,我和他不是一个班。

孙月:那你们俩是怎么认识的?

王静:我们是在一次足球比赛中认识的。我们班跟他们班比赛,他一个人踢进两个球,我的他印象很深,后来就慢慢熟悉了。

孙月:你为什么喜欢他?

王静:他不仅足球踢得好,性格也不错。

The superscript:

Сун2 Йуэ4 и Уъанъ2 Дзинъ4 ухо-liáo Уъанъ2 Дзинъ4 дэ парня

Сун Йуэ: Ходят слухи твой дэ парень Ли3 Дзин4 И ты есть один институт дэ, (он) есть твой одноклассник?

Уанъ Дзинъ: Да, его специализация дэ есть xīn-воротоухо-wén, моя специализация дэ есть водо-fǎ-левошаго-lǜ, я и он не есть один класс.

Сун Йуэ: Тогда вы чело-liǎ есть как познакомились дэ?

Уанъ Дзинъ: Мы есть на один раз ного-zú-яшмо-qiú матче в течение познакомились дэ. Наш класс И их класс играли, он одному человеку ного-tī-jìn два яшмо-qiú, я к нему печато-yìn-слоно-xiàng очень водо-shēn, после и тогда постепенно огне-shú-сердце-xī лэ.

Сун Йуэ: Тебе почему нравится он?

Уанъ Дзинъ: Он не чело-jǐn ного-zú-яшмо-qiú-ного-tī дэ хорошо, сердце-xìng-древо-gé тоже неплохой.

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Pall

Also I would recommend the Dong Zheng, Zhang Jun Standard Course HSK series (/ Confucius Institute Headquarters, Hanban. Beijing Language and Culture University Press). It contains a limited number of short texts, which include all words of the HSK list. For example, in the HSK4 issue there are only 50 texts as long as the one above. And all of them are dialogues. It's important to be able to observe the whole HSK list in one's mind to keep the learnt words in a "ready" form to use in speaking or writing. 

IMG_0203.jpg

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Pall

@imronHi! Instead of adopting the pinyinput for mupin could you develop a program to type characters with pinyin input, which would make it more difficult to find the needed character for the purpose of training? One that would not place the most used characters with the same transcription (without tones) at the top of the list? Chinese Tools is better than Windows in this respect, since it seems do not account for the former search, but it still provides the same undesired  "convinience". I believe such program would be very useful even if the users would not write a Russian-Chinese superscript. Just to train their ability to recognize the characters. 

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Shelley
13 minutes ago, Pall said:

Just to train their ability to recognize the characters. 

 

There are many other apps, programs, textbooks and more that are there to "train their ability to recognise the characters"

 

Pinyinput is useful because it speeds up input, I am not always looking to "train" sometimes I just want to type some things asap and get on with other things.

 

 

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Pall
25 minutes ago, Shelley said:

Pinyinput is useful because it speeds up input, I am not always looking to "train" sometimes I just want to type some things asap and get on with other things.

Pinyinput is very useful. It's for typing in pinyin.  I'm speaking about a program to replace the Windows Chinese unput to type in characters, which whould make it harder to find the required character in the menu.

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Shelley

I still think that there many other apps etc out there for learning characters, again I say that the Windows Chinese input method is for the simple and efficient input of characters. I wouldn't want this to be a "training exercise" its a tool for a specific purpose. 

Whats wrong with the many existing apps etc to help you learn characters, why do you want to make it more difficult?

 

Its like changing round all the letters on the keyboard to make it more difficult to type so you will learn to spell, doesn't make sense to me.

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imron
13 hours ago, Pall said:

could you develop a program to type characters with pinyin input, which would make it more difficult to find the needed character for the purpose of training?

Unfortunately these days I barely even have the time to work on the programs I've already created - not to mention the half dozen or so that I've thought of but haven't had the time to start working on.  That doesn't leave much time on my schedule for other things.

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DavyJonesLocker
13 hours ago, Pall said:

Pinyinput is very useful. It's for typing in pinyin.  I'm speaking about a program to replace the Windows Chinese unput to type in characters, which whould make it harder to find the required character in the menu

 

 

This is similar argument as to whether predictive texting in Google, whatsapp etc is a useful tool or not, in terms or learning English. I see your validity of your argument but I'm of the opinion the one should avail of the electronic tools available for typing Chinese. No doubt everyone's English spelling ability has decreased due to intelligent dictionaries and keyboards but does it matter? It's a skill that is not that entirely necessary anymore. Similarly with  learning characters, it's better to have as much aids as possible rather than going back to the source all the time 

 

I can see that being helpful in character recognition but whether it's worth the effort (as typing would be a heck of a lot slower) i am not convinced. 

 

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Pall
15 hours ago, Shelley said:

I still think that there many other apps etc out there for learning characters,

Yes, but they're organized like games, rebuses, crossword puzzles, etc. All these are ineffective ways to learn a foreign language, especially Chinese. I bought subscriptions to the ChinesePod, FluentU, used Duolingo and other similar tools. But these tools stay idle.  All these rezemble kids' games and don't provide real memorization of words, when one can literally FEEL the foreign language. The latter is possible only in the context, and preferebly not in separate examples, but in integral texts (dialogues are of particular value for developing speech skills). At the same time while typing a Chinese text, looking at its Chinese-Russian superscript as one above or at least at its pinyin version, one does feel the language and memorize Characters most effectively. 

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Pall
3 hours ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

I can see that being helpful in character recognition but whether it's worth the effort (as typing would be a heck of a lot slower) i am not convinced. 

Of course, I would not use such program that would slow down input when I needed just to type something, either. It's only for working with selected texts to remember new characters. 

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Pall
4 hours ago, imron said:

Unfortunately these days I barely even have the time to work on the programs I've already created - not to mention the half dozen or so that I've thought of but haven't had the time to start working on.  That doesn't leave much time on my schedule for other things.

It's a pity. I hope it'll be possible some day. Untill then I'll be using https://www.chinese-tools.com/tools/ime.html input editor instead of the more advanced Windows Chinese input for this special purpose.

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Pall

And yet converting the text to pinyin and typing it back in characters does not provide such immense opportunities to learn new words as writing the superscript in Russian with further typing in characters looking at the superscript does. However, there can be a compromise: to give only unknown words with Russian prepositions reflecting radicals, while the rest of the text express in pinyin. The next step is the same: typing in characters, looking at this compromise script. Here the beginning of the Alice in the Wonderland. Let's admit that the words given in Italic are uknown. In the pinyin version of the sample they should be given with Russian prepositions reflecting the radicals (and sometimes other parts of the characters in addition) where necessary (one syllable of the uknown word can be unknown, while the other known, the latter does not need a preposition, showing the radical). Then it's necessary to type the text in characters, basing on this pinyin-Russian script, and to compare the result with the original. 
 

一个夏天的中午,爱丽丝着姐姐坐在河岸边很久很久了,她一次又一次地看看姐姐正在读的那本书,感觉百无聊赖。因为她姐姐读的那本书里既没有图画,也没有对画,她不想着:"要是一本书里既没有图画又对话,那还有什么好看的呢?"

爱丽丝无聊,怎么也想不出什么事请可以做的,于是她开始感到厌倦了。
 

Yī ge xiàtiān de zhōngwǔ, Àilìsī корово-kào zhe jiějiě zuò zài hé’àn biān hěnjiǔhěnjiǔ le, tā yícìyòuyícì dì kànkàn jiějiě черто-zhèng-zài dú de nà běn shū, gǎnjué bǎi-wú-liáo-раковино-lài. Yīnwèi jiějiě dú de nà běn shū lì jì méiyòu túhuà yòu méiyòu duìhuà, tā bú алтарелесо-jìn xiǎng zhe: “Yàoshì yì běn shū lì jì méiyǒu túhuà yòu méiyòu duìhuà, nà hái yǒu shénme hǎokàn de ne?”
Àilìsī ходо-yuè xiǎng ходо-yuè wúliáo, zénme yè xiǎng bù chū yǒu shénme shìqíng kěyǐ zuò de, yú shì tā kāishǐ gǎndào обрывособако-yàn-чело-juàn le. 
 

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Pall

I've found out that it's necessary to work with the text using the above approach in different directions. Initially, I write a Russian-pinyin superscript, new words being shown in pinyin with Russian prefixes to reflect the radicals where needed, the rest expressed in Russian (just changing Chinese words for Russian without changing the word order). Then several modes of work with the text should be exercised.
1. Typing the text in characters looking at the initial superscript.
2. Typing the text in pinyin looking at the original.
3. Writing one more Russian superscript, a complete one, now without pinyin with prefixes, all the words in the text are changed for Russian retaining the original Chinese word order, doing that while looking at the pinyin version of the text.
4. The same as in the (3), but looking at the original text in characters.
5.  Typing in characters looking at the complete Russian superscript. 
As a result, words are memorized in the context as to their recognition, typing in characters and voicing in one's speech. Besides, the grammar is learnt on the example of the text.

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Pall

For better results one more exercise could be added, firstly for the texts, containing all the words of the HSK list of certain level (as in the Standard Course in the above picture):
6. Hand-writing the text in characters looking at the complete superscript.

 

Now there is only one important omission: the development of the ability to understand the language by ear. Although the exercise (3) compensates it to some extent.

Edited by Pall
additional considerations

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Pall

At the HSK Acadamy site https://www.hsk.academy/en/learn/the-chinese-radicals  I saw that two radicals were interpreted as "child", two as "container", two as "gate", as many as three radicals as "hand" (though two of them also had other meanings). It's not convinient in using them as instruments to remember characters. Besides, as I wrote above, in Russia a number of radicals are understood quite differently. That's why I decided to put all that in order: to leave only one meaning for each radical, and the meanings should not be like others. If there were different interpretations, I chose either HSK Acadamy's or Russian version, the main criteria was the convenience to remember and distinguish from other radicals with similar names, as well as the easiness to form Russian prefixes. I'm uploading the full list of the systemized 214 radicals with English and Russian names. Also I put there Russian prefixes for those who may decide to use them to memorize characters, the Russian names having Latin transcription. 

 

Systemized 214 radicals.doc

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Pall

It's better to write  "+"  instead of "-" between syllables in order not to confuse with  "-"  between the radical related prefix and the syllable.  

Edited by Pall
changed opinion

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