The Basic Strokes of Characters

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Evolution
Stroke
Writing
System
•Six Categories
• 象形、指事、会意、形声、专注、假借
• Radicals
•Writing Styles
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Chinese characters = English alphabets
There are 26 Alphabets in English
There are over 50,000 characters in
Chinese
English alphabets contain no meaning
(except for “I,” “a”)
Each Chinese character has meanings
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 3,000 of these are frequently used
(99.15% frequency rate)
 Only 500 – 600 are most frequently
used in daily life!
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There are two types of written Chinese characters
in use today: Traditional characters (fán tǐ zì) and
Simplified characters (jiǎn tǐ zì).
Traditional characters, stemming from the Qin
Dynasty (221-207 B.C.) have a history of roughly
2,000 years. Simplified characters evolved later
from the People's Republic of China (PRC)
government's wish to reduce illiteracy; they
simplified the strokes used in Traditional Chinese
to achieve this goal. Thus, Simplified characters
are derived from the Traditional characters.
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Example:
車 - 车 (chē), automobile
鐘 - 钟 (zhōng), clock
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Discuss: What are the benefits of learning fán
tǐ zì and jiǎn tǐ zì? Are you learning fán tǐ zì or
jiǎn tǐ zì right now?
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video from 孔府学院
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Youtube video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5mDCXVaDLk
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Video from 孔府学院
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A very nice intro video from
Dikk Kelly
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Some Chinese characters (pictgraphs) evolved
from pictures.
Many people describe writing Chinese
characters as similar in feeling to drawing.
Question: When we write Chinese characters,
are we actually painting?
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Of course not!
When we paint a painting, it doesn’t matter
whether the lines are straight or curvy, nor does
it matter which strokes we paint first and which
ones we paint later as the final painting
resembles the objects that we seek to depict.
When writing Chinese characters, we must
carefully follow the prescribed stroke order.
《汉字 的智慧》
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Question: How should we write Chinese
characters?
Answer: As you learn to write Chinese characters, the
first thing to know is how to make the strokes. Strokes
are important because they show how the characters
are composed and enable you to write the characters
more easily. There are six basic strokes that are
commonly used.
It is very important to recognize the strokes and follow
the writing rules. Learning the fundamental strokes of
Chinese writing and the correct order also helps
memorize characters and is an essential basis to learn
written Chinese.
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A stroke is a single unbroken line drawn from
the time you set your pen to paper and move it
till the time you lift it off the paper.
Question: How many strokes (笔画) are there
in the writing?
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http://www.hwjyw.com/textbook/dzjc/zh/cd1/cyb.htmI
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Can’t remove
strokes from
Can’t remove
strokes from
Can’t reposition
strokes or change
shapes
刀(knife)
目 (eye)
太 (too)
刃 (blade)
日 (sun)
犬 (dog)
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1. Horizontal first, then vertical
2. Top first, then bottom
十、干
二、古
3. Left-slanted first, then right-slanted
4. Left first, then right
八、人
川、仁
5. Center first, then both sides
小、木
6. When making a dot, write it first if it is positioned on the
top or upper-left. When it appears on the upper right or in
the middle, write it last.
文、斗;犬、叉
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7. With “closed” characters, make the outside strokes
(left, top, right), then the strokes in the middle, then
the bottom stroke that “clothes” the character. 回、
因
8. With semi-closed characters, there are three
different stroke orders:
o
o
o
strokes in the middle before surrounding strokes 凶、言;
surrounding strokes before strokes in the middle 同、司;
top before middle before lower-left 匹、匠
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http://www.hwjyw.com/textbook/dzjc/zh/cd1/cyb.htm IC Introduction (Character)
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Writing Styles
Cǎo
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Radicals are pictographs which represent
objects in the real world.
Some of them can stand alone as
independent, one-semantic-unit characters.
Examples include 人,口,雨.
Radicals may also be combined with other
components to form a new character for
which the radial serves as a clue to its
meaning. Example include 吹 and 妹
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Some radicals cannot be used as independent
characters but only serve as a part of another
character. Their function is to provide a
semantic clue to the character, such as 宀in
家, 囗 in 国, and 辶in 逛. According to most
dictionaries, there are 214 commonly used
radicals in Chinese.
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人
rén
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口
kǒu
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山
shān
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水
shuǐ
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日
rì
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月
yuè
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土
tǔ
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木
mù
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雨
yǚ
( )
火
huǒ
( )
女
nǚ
( )
门
mén
( )
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Sun moon  bright
日rì 月yuè
明míng
People tree  rest
人rén 木mù 休 xiū
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木
(mù)
木
(mù)
林
(lín)
人
(rén)
言
(yán)
信
(xìn)
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人
(rén)
囗
(wéi)
囚
(qiú)
田
(tián)
心
(xīn)
思 (sī)
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手
(shǒu)
女
(nǚ)
目
(mù)
看
(kàn)
子 (zǐ)
好
(hǎo)
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Question:The majority of Chinese characters fall under which
category?
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女
(woman)
木
(wood)
马
(mǎ)
妈
mother
材
才
(cái)
building
material
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5. 转注(zhuǎnzhù) Mutually explanatory characters
e.g.
老 lǎo
考kǎo
‘elder’ ‘to test’
6. 假借 (jiǎjiè) Phonetic loan characters
e.g. 来 lái
花 huā
‘to come’ ‘flower/to spend’
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Chinese characters are called "square" characters, meaning
no matter how simple or complex, each character fits
inside a square.
These structures will not only help you memorize
characters, but also reduce problems with missing dots or
strokes when writing. Understanding these structures will
make even complex characters easy to remember.
characters should be written with a sense of symmetry and
proportion. Understanding how to mentally plot out a
character within a square will give you one of the
fundamentals needed for effective written communication
in Chinese.
Wong, M., Fang, T., Chen, S.-h., & Chien, L.-t. (2011). 真棒. (A. M. Vargas, Ed.) St. Paul, MN: EMC
Publishing, LLC and LiveABC Interactive Corporation.
One-semantic-unit characters (one part)
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Two-semantic-unit characters (two parts)
-Identify the radicals
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Three-semantic-unit characters (three parts)
Identify the Radicals
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Review the Basic Strokes
diǎn
A stroke
is a single
unbroken line
drawn from
the time you
set your pen
to paper and
move it till
the time you
lift it off the
paper.
shù
hén
g
piě
tí
piě
gōu
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nà
yī
èr sān
sì
wǔ
一 二 三 四 五
Liù qī bā jiǔ shí
六 七 八 九 十
Keep these question in mind:
1. What is a radical?
2. Why do we have to learn
radicals before learning any
complicated characters?
3. What is a stroke?
4. What are the basic strokes?
5. Why is it important to
follow the stroke order?
6. What are the rules of stroke
order?
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1. Mark tone marks for the
following pinyin. Match them
with the basic strokes.
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点
横
竖
撇
捺
提
横钩
竖钩
斜钩
横折
竖折
dian
pie
na
heng
xiegou
shugou
heng zhe
shuzhe
shu
gou
heng
shu
gou
ti
2. Pronounce the
name of each
stoke in the
following two
characters
永
我
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Character Stories
Character Strokes
Confucius Institute Character Book
http://edu.chinese.cn/zhCN/onlinelearning/node_37311.htm
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