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How to remember how to write 喜?


Kong Junrui

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Kong Junrui

I'm a Chinese 2 student at my high school, and I'm having some problems with 喜. I just can't remember what it looks like specifically. For example, I know that it looks "layered," I guess, but I usually write the wrong "layers," sometime puting the two dots that are in the middle on top, followed by the horizontal line, then another two dots or something. I don't normally write it a lot, but do use it in speech. Any ideas for how to remember what it looks like?

Thanks!

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All this comes with practice my man. Characters like 嘉 are easier to remember if you break them into components. 喜 is just 壴+口 on the bottom. I think 壴 means drums or something like that. But just resolve them into their components (like vectors :)) and you shouldn't have a problem.

nipponman

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I have seen a lot that are backed up by the ancient etymology site, so yes they are.

but these characters have changed a lot... it seems like the little tricks they use to describe the characters are taken directly from their modern versions.

do Chinese use this to learn characters? Japanese?

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According to the preface of the corresponding book, the etymologies on zhongwen.com are based on the 说文解字 of 许慎 (around 100 CE), as well as on later commentaries. These works dealt only with the Qin Dynasty "Large Seal" forms, and not with earlier forms to which they had no access.

Reliance on the 说文解字 was deliberate, since it was "the reference point for all subsequent scholarship." The author was more interested in giving insight into the current shape of the characters than in accurately tracing their origin from the earliest available forms. The resulting etymologies are often correct, but not reliable enough for scholarly purposes. The author himself says: "For almost every phonetic complex some meaning contribution of the phonetic component has been suggested by a noted scholar. The most fanciful have been excluded, although some dubious ones are still included for their mnemonic value and insight into Chinese culture."

do Chinese use this to learn characters? Japanese?

I think the short answer to this is no. Characters are basically taught through a focus on rote memorization and repeated copying; however, remember that Chinese and Japanese kids are learning characters in a context that is very different from the average adult foreigner, who is already litterate in his or her own language. I think everyone picks up a few etymologies here and there, but most people learn to develop their own tricks for learning characters, just as most English speakers end up developing their own tricks for learning spellings with only a vague understanding of word origins.

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