This page will give you some guide lines on learning and drawing
Chinese Characters and I'll be using it because of the following
image. You see the character below? Well that's provided by the amazing
site Zhongwen.com. A new image is sent every few minutes so if you
refresh this page (hit F5) a different character is displayed.
So I'm going to be using this page to copy down new character as
there sent out. Clicking on the button will launch their site in
a new window with frames. In the right hand side frame is a breakdown
of this character and also below that a whole tree of characters
that stem from it.
So what do I know?
Well so far I've copied about 150 characters onto my wall. I thought
it would be really good to do them in the calligraphy style, though
I was warned off this by my friend Queenie who informed me that
this comes after you learn Chinese!
Each character is made up of between one and 64 strokes. The strokes
are important and have individual meaning and hints to how the character
is pronounced. The stokes all should be drawn in the correct order.
I don't yet know why the order is important, but a good site for
showing you the order of the stokes is: Ocrat
It's also becoming clear that the characters are rarely written
on their own and generally there's two to make up a sensible word,
such as 'zhong wen' above. This is a bit annoying as I was trying
to find all the characters and get them down and learn them, but
this won't really totally help me until I start combining them and
making actual words.
One great way of learning the characters I'm told is to use flash
cards. Basically in the traditional sense they are bits of card
with the character, pinyin and english translation on. You cover
up all but one and then guess the covered bits.
I may start doing this, though writing them, out is taking ages
and so there are online tools available. One most excellent site
is MandarinTools.com which has a Java Script Flash
card program there
with 1000 characters in both traditional and simplified. Fantastic!
We keep going...