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Adam28x

Remembering the characters for writing

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Adam28x

How do you guys remember the characters for writing chinese?

 

I can use Flashcards to remember them and I can write them if I see them.

But I have an exam soon how do you remember how to write them without having nothing but a blank paper in front of you?

 

Finding it really difficult.

 

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amytheorangutan

Recognising/reading/typing and handwriting characters are different skillsets in my opinion. Not sure if there is any other way other than writing then over and over again with pen and paper to be able to handwrite them. I could be wrong, but I found even when I was using Skritter to learn to write, once I had to do it on paper I felt weird and not able to do it as smoothly. 
 

Would really love to know if people have better ways to master handwriting. 

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roddy

Do you have a solid knowledge of radicals / components? That's essential. 

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Adam28x

Yea, It's not so much the handwriting I care about its the actual just writing it.

For example. 给打电话。

Now I can type it on a computer fine and if I see it I know what it means but writing it from my head is just not happening.

I'm going to try and break it all down and learn the etymology of each character.

 

I think my problem is  I am just learning these characters through brute force.

For example with the characters for numbers 1-10 I had no issue memorising them because I could attach meaning to them. Whereas, with the one above its hard to visual in my head that those groups of characters mean to make a call and If I can't picture the characters in my head I can not write it.

I dunno I think I am right.

For example  人  I can see that as a man so its easy to remember and 人人 its easy for me to remember that means everybody.

But when it comes to stuff like phone calls or email 电子邮件。 Then it just gets hard to visual in my head because I can not assoicate it.

Hopefully that made a bit of sense. Personally I think you should be taught to learn the radicals first. Currently being taught through dictation and memorising characters which is quite tough. Not even 50 characters in yet.

 

Roddy. No, I do not.

Our course follows a textbook so we just go from chapter to chapter on that learning new words.

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Demonic_Duck
1 hour ago, amytheorangutan said:

Recognising/reading/typing and handwriting characters are different skillsets in my opinion.

 

This. The standard "four basic language skills" is really five for Chinese (or Japanese and other languages that use partially ideographic scripts). Listening, speaking, reading, and writing becomes listening, speaking, reading, typing, and handwriting.

 

The "typing" skill is a combination of speaking (knowing the pinyin) and reading (recognizing which character to choose in the IME). The "handwriting" skill is a combination of some speaking (for phonetic components), learning to write components in general (whether phonetic, semantic, or empty), and figuring out how to compose them into characters.

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Shelley

I second the idea that you should learn the radicals or the components of characters this will help.

 

BUT IMHO the only way to remember how to write them by hand with a pen and piece of paper is to write them lots.

I use a few things to help with this.

 

1) Hanzi Grids  https://www.hanzigrids.com/

These are good for printing out grids to practise writing, the free version is okay but its so cheap its worth buying to unlock all the useful extras. 

 

2) Tofu learn https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tofulearn.tofulearn&hl=en&gl=US

Also available in the Apple store. This is an app that will go through your chosen text book and teach you the characters, writing, meaning and tone amongst other things.

 

3)Skritter  https://skritter.com/

This is another app designed specifically to write and learn characters. This in my opinion the best but also the most expensive requiring a subscription. If this is in your budget then I would try it for a month or so.

 

4) Just get squared paper and start with the first 10 characters you are trying to learn and write each one 10 times, give it a break and try to do it from memory, if you fail write them out 10 times more - rinse repeat till you know them.

This cost next to nothing but lacks the format of prompting and use of SRS.

 

One good tip I learnt a while ago from someone here, don't try learning all the shi's, jia's etc at the same time you will go crazy with them all running round your brain.

 

I go into these in more depth and more in my blog - see link at the bottom - if you want more info.

 

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amytheorangutan

Sorry I thought you meant handwriting because you said writing them on paper. If you just started then it sounds like you need to first understand the common components like roddy said such as 言 舌 电 扌氵etc that will keep coming up again and again. Maybe find online 50 or 100 most common radicals or components and start there to at least find out what they mean and it would help you remember new characters or words but if the end goal is to handwrite them on paper it’s another matter. I for example at the moment can read and type around 1500 characters but can only handwrite maybe at most 30 of them confidently. 

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Adam28x

Thanks for the advice.

The written exam is not until next year so got time haha thought it was next month.

I'll just focus on understanding the basic radicals as suggested and making sure I can nail the speech for now.

 

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889

If you're studying on your own, remember that writing is like speaking: it's easy to develop bad habits that are hard to break. So try to touch base from time to time with a native speaker to make sure you haven't wandered off track.

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Takeshi

Back when I was learning Chinese in university, a popular social event among the students of Chinese was to hang around together for hours and just practice writing characters on a piece of paper. I did this for hours every day. At the time this mostly worked.

 

However, I have pretty much forgotten how to write mostly now, and in the rare occasion that I actually have to handwrite something on a piece of paper, I usually open up my phone and type it first to double check how it's written if I encounter I character I don't know how to write. Which is funny because I type with CangJie, so like, there are characters I remember the overall shape and CangJie code of, but forget the exact detailed strokes sometimes.

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Adam28x
1 hour ago, Takeshi said:

Back when I was learning Chinese in university, a popular social event among the students of Chinese was to hang around together for hours and just practice writing characters on a piece of paper. I did this for hours every day. At the time this mostly worked.

 

I agree that would be a good idea.

But covid has made that impossible.

Basically we are just doing dictation through microsoft teams atm with out teacher for classes. Zero student interaction.

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Takeshi

Well it's still possible to do it alone (maybe listen to radio or music so you don't get bored?), or voice chat with friends or something while doing it. The point is the writing practice. Doing it as a social event was just so that we could bear to do the writing practice for hours every day.

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Adam28x
8 hours ago, taijidan said:

Check out https://www.mandarinblueprint.com/ they have a pretty cool method for learning to write characters.

 

To be honest there are like a dozen plus sites with their own methods of learning chinese all with their own gimmicks.

Is it actually any good?

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Shelley

I think you have hit the nail on the head - gimmicks - I also think that what works for one person is useless for another. I personally dislike any sort of memory aids, story telling or other methods of trying to stick the characters in your brain.

 

For me simple hard work work writing, reading, speaking and listening all the time, all together from the start is my learning method.

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taijidan
23 hours ago, Adam28x said:

To be honest there are like a dozen plus sites with their own methods of learning chinese all with their own gimmicks.

Is it actually any good?

 

If your goal is specifically for learning to write characters - I would recommend it.

 

Their method is based on 'memory palace' techniques. A bit like in that TV show the mentalist or used by people who memorise Pi to 1000 decimal places.

 

 

 

 

 

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