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Chinese Writing System

2. 1865 Chinese Writing System

Han or Chinese belong to the social group that had its common national or cultural traditions in China. The Chinese language descended from the Sino-Tibetian, also known as the Trans-Himalayan language family to old Sinitic and now modern Chinese.

There are over 1.2 billion Mandarin Chinese speakers around the world. Chinese makes up for the most spoken language in the world after English. And there isn’t one type of Chinese because Chinese is not a language itself. The two standard forms of Chinese are Mandarin and Cantonese. Several dialects are very different from one another. A speaker following one particular dialect may not be able to follow the other if he/she is not well-versed in that specific type.

The Chinese language is native to the People’s Republic of China (mainland China) and the Republic of China (Taiwan). While Mandarin is the official language in China, Singapore, and Taiwan, Cantonese is officially used in Hong Kong and Macau.

How to write in Chinese?

Chinese can be written in mainly two styles. These include one being the simplified characters Chinese and the other one being the traditional characters Chinese which come from the old way of the Chinese writing system. Simplified Chinese consists of the standardised characters of the Chinese language that is widely used in the mainlands of China. So, traditional Chinese consists of all characters except for the ones created after 1946. The Chinese scripts are descended from the Chinese Oracle Bone Script and used in a variety of East Asian languages. The characters are named after the Han Dynasty of China and its called Hanzi in Mandarin.

Strokes or Lines

Chinese writing is all about strokes. It’s the kind of strokes that make up a Chinese character or Chinese words. There are rules and stroke orders, and they primarily fall into eight main categories. In other words, there are only eight types of lines or characters drawn to form a letter or word in Chinese. The 8 number of strokes are:

  • Dot stroke
  • Hook stroke
  • Rising stroke
  • Turning strokes
  • Horizontal strokes
  • Vertical strokes
  • Left-falling strokes, and
  • Right-falling strokes.

Basic Rules:

There are eight basic rules of strokes to written Chinese.

1. Like Japanese has two native writing styles – Hiragana and Katakana. Chinese has its own writing style and is followed from left to right.
2. The Chinese characters are written from top to bottom and not the other way round.
3. The horizontal strokes or lines are drawn before the vertical ones.
4. The left falling or slanting lines are drawn before the right-falling ones.
5. If a character in Chinese is to be framed from the top, then the frame is written first.
6. If the character is to be framed from below, then the frame is drawn at last.
7. If a frame has to be closed, it is done at last.
8. If a character is symmetrical, then the middle has to be drawn first followed by the sides.

Chinese Numerical

Chinese speakers use three types of numerals nowadays. The Arabic numeral system and the two other indigenous systems are used all over the world.

The indigenous systems are the more commonly used numerical system in Chinese. Based on characters in the Chinese language that is common in the spoken word, they are also shared with other languages of the world, such as Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

For making things more convenient and straightforward, most institutions located in China and Taiwan tend to use either Arabic or a mixture of Arabic and Chinese to teach their students. Other than that, traditional Chinese numerical are used only in finance. They are specially used for writing Cheques, vouchers, Banknotes, some boxes, for ceremonial occasions and on commercials.

How to speak in Chinese?

Mandarin is the most simplified Chinese among all the rest of the other dialects used. It is widely spoken in almost all parts of mainland China. Mandarin has been in use in that part of the world since the 1950′s when Mandarin was being promoted to encourage literacy among the country’s vast population. The other dialects include Jin, Gan, Wu, Xiang, which is similar to southwestern mandarin, Min, Hakka, Ping, Yue, and Huizhou. All these dialects vary from each other from their tonal and analytic perspectives.

More and more people seem to be inclined towards learning foreign languages. This interest of people is leading them towards more opportunities and better job prospects. Learning some of these languages often turns out to be an added advantage. To become successful in their business endeavours internationally, more people seem to be coming out of their shells and taking up a foreign language as difficult as Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

On the other hand, learning different languages from scratch is difficult. It takes a lot of patience and hard work to acquire, especially learning Chinese for non-native Chinese speakers. Theoretical learning requires a lot of reading good original books, in particular. Nevertheless, learning basic Mandarin might not be as tough as you may think it might be. Adapting the right teachings, techniques, and with the help of various apps, e-books and audio aids, one can learn Mandarin comparatively .

To have a clear concept of the language and speak like native Chinese people. Below are a few tips to follow.

  • Listen to audio clips to get your tones right.
  • Understand Chinese texts, logographic writing system etc.
  • Learn new characters every day
  • Read Chinese characters, calligraphy and alphabetic books
  • Get the cursive style of Chinese characters etc. can be of great help.

A slight change in the tone or pronunciation of a word might change the entire meaning of a sentence. It is always essential to get your pronunciations right while learning these languages. One can learn these pronunciations not only by reading books but also by interacting with native Chinese speakers.

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