Chinese Characters

Chinese Characters

In order to learn Chinese characters effectively, it is important to understand a bit of the history behind them. The earliest examples of recognizable written words date back to as early as 1500 BC and can be found on oracle bones. The bones were used for divination and were often inscribed with questions and answers regarding hunting, warfare and other information. Some earlier pottery, dating back to 4800 BC, has been found that might contain a form of writing. Unfortunately, due to the scarcity of samples it is unlikely the writing will be deciphered. When you learn Chinese characters today you are studying Hanzi. Hanzi can be broken down into the Classical Chinese and the simplified version commonly used today. Classical Chinese became standardized around 220 AD and was the main form of writing until the early 20th century. You can still learn Chinese characters in this style today. The words are generally written with a single character and have only one syllable. In the 1920s the written word was simplified based on spoken Mandarin and this form is most widely used today. About 2,000 words were simplified, the goal being to increase literacy throughout the country. The difficulty when trying to learn Chinese characters in the modern form comes from the fact each word can have one or more syllables written with a separate character. Each character is always given the same amount of room when writing. Therefore, while reading you have to decide which symbols go together and what they mean. The other difficulty people have when they learn Chinese characters is the fact there are so many of them. The largest dictionaries include over 56,000. Thankfully, you will only need to read about 3,000 in order to understand modern publications. For Classical Chinese, technical writings and literature you will need to recognize at least 6,000. In order to write words, you will need to learn Chinese characters by their different strokes. There are a total of 12 basic strokes used in modern writing. These consist of dot, horizontal, vertical, left-falling, right-falling, rising, four styles of hooks and two styles of turning. Any given syllable will be written using anywhere from 1 and 64 strokes. As you learn Chinese characters you will find you must make these strokes in a particular order to be able to write...
Learn Chinese Online

Learn Chinese Online

Deciding to learn Chinese online is a big decision for many people. Often, this choice comes from a lack of other educational methods. For example, you may not know anyone in real life who speaks Mandarin that you can receive tutoring from or you may find your local education institution does not offer lessons in Chinese. Finding an internet instruction program can allow you to see and hear the language, therefore making it easier to study. The first step to trying to learn Chinese online is to find a good program. You will want to look for an educational program that allows you to proceed at your own pace when studying the lessons. Ideally, the software should include a variety of exercises including reading, writing, listening and speaking. You may be able to find free trials offered or there are numerous services which provide instruction for a small fee. If you are paying a fee, then you will want to read reviews on the course. In addition, look for one that offers a money back guarantee. The next step when you want to learn Chinese online is to find ways to immerse yourself in the language. Thanks to the internet, China is just a mouse click away which means communication is even easier than before. You can instantly download videos, music and books in Mandarin. Even better, you can use people search sites to find native speakers. Through video messaging services, instant messaging and email you will be able to improve your writing and speaking skills. Remember, the more you practice the easier it is to learn Chinese online. Additionally, you will want to devote a set amount of time per day for your studies. Most people will not pick up a new language overnight, but instead over an extended period of time. If your internet program offers various lessons, then set yourself a goal of completing a set number of these courses per day or...
Easily Learn Chinese

Easily Learn Chinese

The easiest place to learn Chinese is in your own home. There are numerous DVDs, videos, and audio CDs on the market that are performed in Mandarin. Even just playing songs and stories while you are driving or relaxing can help you to expand your vocabulary and get a feel for the flow of the language. Talking with native speakers will make learning the vocabulary easier also. Whether it is a friend, neighbor, coworker or even a tutor having the experience of being able to practice the language yourself is an invaluable part of the learning process. Private lessons and schools are another outlet that you can explore to help you learn Chinese. Keep in mind the cost of these may vary and many schools still practice the rote teaching methods used in the Far East. This way can make it difficult for some children and other students to learn. Other tutors may focus more on the conversational aspect of picking up the grammar, which can be a great resource for tourists. Another popular method to help you learn Chinese is to purchase specific teaching materials. There are ready-made products on the market that contain teaching tools such as CDs, videos, and workbooks. Simply select a program that is appropriate for your level of study and get started. This technique can be great for those who prefer to study on their own. In addition, this tactic also works well when combined with speaking experience through a native speaker or...
Mandarin Chinese Language

Mandarin Chinese Language

Some scholars will argue Mandarin Chinese language is actually a dialect, however the exact distinction is not clear. Different versions of the language are spoken throughout all of China and these versions are usually considered to be different dialects. The term “Mandarin” can be used to classify all of these dialects or more commonly used to distinguish the Beijing dialect that is considered the official language of the Mainland. At the same time, other Chinese languages are also spoken throughout the Country, such as Cantonese, and in their spoken form are unintelligible to speakers of the other kinds. However, since most forms use written characters you will be able to communicate using the written word in most places. Because of the large geographical size of the country, China has always been home to multiple tongues. The Mandarin Chinese language has been used by the ruling class since the Ming Dynasty. When the Capital of China switched to Beijing during this time, the Beijing dialect became the official language of the court, though other dialects were also spoken. It was not until 1909 that it became the official language of the Country. Like other variants of Chinese, the Mandarin Chinese language utilizes Chinese characters for writing. The use of written characters can be traced back over two thousand years, with the characters starting out as graphic representations and evolving into the more stylized writing that is used today. Characters represent a syllable of speech as well as words, but not every character can be used on its own. This discrepancy is part of what makes studying Mandarin so difficult, as the thousands of characters have to be practised and committed to memory for true mastery. To aid in literacy efforts, in the 1950s the government simplified the written characters. The simplified versions are used in Mainland China today however Taiwan and Hong Kong still utilize the traditional...
Learn the Chinese Language

Learn the Chinese Language

Chinese language can be fun and interesting. It is most notable for its beautiful characters. When we look at characters either written on a page or on art hanging on a wall next to us it inspires us to want to understand what it means. Our curious nature stimulates us to want to discover the culture and deepen our appreciation for it. Chinese language contains over 3000 frequently used characters. The characters are more than just surface print and represent a deep meaning. An addition or subtraction of a brushstroke changes the meaning of the written character. Writing is done vertically and is read the same way. It is easy to become proficient in the Chinese language if you begin with the basics. However, if you have never heard it spoken before then you may need to listen to it a few times to “tune your ear”. Hearing the phonetics and tone involved may make learning easier. Tones assigned to words vary in high to low levels. Variations in tones of how you pronounce a word changes the meaning of the spoken word. In addition it is a monosyllabic language. You may be wondering why you should learn the Chinese language. For many people the education benefits their job. Because of the internet more international business is transacted. Therefore, being multi-lingual provides you the opportunity for career advancement since you will be able to interact with people from different countries. Some people are interested in the Chinese language simply to expand their knowledge. You will no longer need subtitles on foreign films, an interpreter for a menu or someone to explain art in a museum. Furthermore, if you include your children in your training, then you will produce a wonderful opportunity to spend family time together. Learning the Chinese language today or teaching our children to be bilingual for tomorrow may become one of the best decisions anyone could...