29 May 2011

The basics about writing Chinese characters

The last skill to master in 听说读写 is writing. Logically, it only makes sense to a child to want to practise writing a certain word if he knows how to read the word and understands its meaning, isn't it? Otherwise it’s just another art piece to him. Writing will in turn enhance a child’s reading ability because the action helps him to internalise the learning of the word.

There are some guidelines to follow when it comes to writing Chinese characters. They are the 笔画 and 笔顺.

The strokes (笔画) help to distinguish a Chinese word from a drawing. For example, is a Chinese character written with 3 strokes. If written without the strokes, it becomes a square.

笔顺 provides guidelines that enable the written strokes to flow from one to the next smoothly, thus increase the efficiency or speed of writing. It also helps the writer to place the “parts” nicely together. For example, is written 横、竖、横. It flows better when written in the right order, as if the word can be written in one single stroke.

Types of 笔画:

Guidelines on 笔顺:

  Guidelines  Example
  先横后竖  十
  先撇后捺  人
  从上到下  三
  从外到内  风
  先里头后封口  院
  先中间后两边  水
  先撇后折  九
  先上后内再包围  匡
  先主体后写点  义

Words that are often written with wrong 笔顺:

According to the guidelines, when a word has and , one should write first followed by (ie. 先横后竖), like “”and “”.  But for “”, it has long vertical strokes and short horizontal strokes, one should write first followed by (ie. 先竖后横). So “”should be written 竖、横、横、横,竖、横、横、横.

According to the guidelines, words such as “”,“”and “”are written middle first followed by left and right structure (先中间后两边). But for “”and “”(竖心旁), one should write the left and right structures first followed by the middle structure (先两边后中间).

According to the guidelines, words that have
and structures, should be written first followed by (先撇后折). Like “”, it’s written 撇、横折弯钩. But for “”and “”, they are written first followed by (先折后撇). So “”should be written 点、横、横折钩、撇.

Words like “”,”,”and ”has an open side on the right (unlike which is completely closed). The correct way of writing these words should be first followed by whatever that is inside, and finished it off with 竖折 (先上后内再包围).

Normally, when a word has a dot () as part of its structure, such as “”,and “”, the main part should be written first and end off with the dot (先主体后写点).  There’s always exception to every norm. For “”and “”, the dot is written first followed by the rest of the structure.

1 comment:

  1. I'm happy to find your blog today.

    I've been writing 九 with the wrong 笔顺 all my life! =(


Welcome to Happy Cottage!

I started 开心屋 - Happy Cottage because I have 凯 and 欣 in the house. Together they are the 开心 (sounds like) team.

Mommy loves Chinese language and is a big fan of Chinese story books. Thus the kids often receive interesting children Chinese story books from mommy. Many of the children Chinese story books are so beautifully drawn and well written that I like to read them myself.

Learning and loving the language is not an easy task in Singapore as our environment is not condusive enough for such learning. Thus I believe I have to create such an environment at home. Through daily communication in Mandarin and regular reading of the Chinese materials, I hope to cultivate their likings for the language. You can find many of the books in the Book Store.

Besides introducing children Chinese story books to you, I would also like to share some learning resources and tips on the usage of the language here. I've met some parents, in their best attempt to communicate with their kids in Mandarin, misread some words or used an incorrect sentence structure. You can find the information in the tabs above.

So, why is this blog written in English? I know of many parents who have kinda lost touch with the language. If I were to share in Chinese, then it may not be as effective.

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