Summer ZhangHow can I help my child to learn Chinese handwriting
Perhaps many of our readers don’t learn Chinese by themselves. What can I do to help my child to learn to write in Chinese? You might have this question plaguing your mind. Below is the most important information about Chinese handwriting that would give you a good foundation on how it works.
First, let’s take a look at the structure of characters. What forms a character?
The fundamental constitutes of Chinese characters are strokes, (笔画, bǐ huà), a set of line patterns that may be arranged and combined to form Chinese characters. The basic strokes are:
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Based on these, there are compound strokes. But for all beginners, it is always important to begin with the character “札”, which is formed by the basic strokes.
Next comes the “radicals” and “components”. A radical in Chinese is a graphical component of a character. They play the role as the indicators of the meaning of characters. Radicals are a kind of components. Other components often are indicators of the pronunciation of characters. Learning about radicals can help people to learn characters systematically, as they indicate the meaning of characters.
Many frequently used radicals are pictographic in the past, so learning them can be very fun! Here are three of them, guess what do they stand for and see how they form more characters.
Radical: 田 (tián) Characters: 田, 畔 (pàn), 亩 (mǔ)
As can be seen from the picture, the radical “田” (which is also an individual character), means farmland. The shape of the character is just like a real farmland divided by two tracks. Based on “田”, there are a series of characters which have meanings relevant to “farmland”. “畔”, “nearby, side”, originally meant the border of farmland. “亩” is a measurement of area which is usually used to count the size of farmland.
Radical: 土 (tǔ) Characters: 土, 地(dì), 堤 (dī)
Guess what does the word “土” stand for? You are right! It means “soil” or “earth”, from where the plant grows out. As a radical, it appears in words like “地”, (land), “堤”, (dam) and many others.
Radical: 山 (shān) Characters: 山, 岭 (lǐng), 峰 (fēng)
Here is another really vivid one. “山” means mountain. Similarly, it appears in words like “岭”, mountain ridge, and “峰”, peak.
With pictures like these, next time you can help your kids to practice Chinese handwriting! And why not also learn it yourself!
Always follow the order. In addition to the components of Chinese characters, the order of writing is another very important rule to follow as this can help you to write in a correct and efficient manner.
Here are the 7 rules. You can supervise your children when they practice handwriting to make sure that they follow these.
From left to right: This rule applies to all the characters with left-to-right structure.
From top to bottom: This applies to characters with above-to-below structure.
Horizontal before vertical: Horizontal strokes are usually written before vertical strokes when strokes cross.
From left to right: Right-to-left diagonals are written before left-to-right diagonals.
Outside before inside：Outside enclosing strokes are written before inside strokes,
Inside before outside：This rule is for characters with surrounding strokes from a lower structure or with that are surrounded by a Lower Left structure.
Inside before bottom enclosing: The bottom stroke is written last, If there is a bottom stroke.
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