2018年2月10日 星期六

AN EXPLANATION OF CHINESE CHARACTERS AND WORDS

AN EXPLANATION OF CHINESE CHARACTERS AND WORDS


Each Chinese character is a syllable with a tone as the examples below. And a character itself usually carries a meaning but sometimes it’s not a word.

Traditional
Simplified
Pinyin/pronunciation
Meaning
Jiā
Home
Big
ài
love


Some Chinese words contains only one syllable such as, home, big, and love (as shown above), while others words contains two or three. Words with two syllables are the majority. See examples below.

Traditional
Simplified
Pinyin/pronunciation
Meaning
電腦
电脑
Diànnǎo
Computer
手機
手机
shǒujī
Cellphone
冰箱
冰箱
bīngxiāng
Refrigerator


As I mentioned previously, each syllabus carries a meaning, but it’s not a word sometimes. So let’s take an example here
The word口水(Kǒu shuǐ) consists of two syllables meaning saliva.
The first syllable/ character (Kǒu) meaning mouth, and the second one (shuǐ) meaning water.  So it’s mouth + water = saliva.

Please note that the syllable/ character(shuǐ) is also a word. It’s a one-syllable word. So you can say : 我喝水(Wǒ hē shuǐ / I drink water)
BUT the character/syllable mouth(Kǒu) isn’t and can’t be a word on his own, so you can NOT say: 他的口很大(Tā de kǒu hěn dà. / His mouth is big.).
Instead, you need to say: 他的嘴巴很大 (Tā de zuǐbā hěn dà / His mouth is big.), because 嘴巴(zuǐbā) is the word for mouth which is a two-syllable word.

So be sure next time that you are using words in your sentences not syllables!

SMART Mandarin
Katrina Lee

Classes
- 1 on 1 Chinese class in Hsinchu city
- small group Chinese class (2-4people) in Hsinchu city
- Online Skype Chinese lesson wherever you are
- Online audio & video lessons 24/7
Please feel free to contact me here at
smartmandarinchinese@gmail.com (Katrina Lee)





HOW MANY CHARACTERS DO I NEED TO LEARN?


HOW MANY CHARACTERS DO I NEED TO LEARN?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions among my foreign students and friends since from my previous post (SHOULD I LEARN CHINESE CHARACTERS? ) that we know there are around 8000 characters out there according to a Chinese dictionary.



The above table tells us that the top 1000 characters account for between 86.2% and 91.1% of the characters occurring in the real world.

With knowing 2500-3000 characters, you’ll be able to read general publications with no problem, just like the general native speakers of Chinese.

But if you only aiming at understanding some daily simple signs, texts, or your friends’ posts on social medias, you will only need to learn 500 characters which cover 72.1%~72.2% of the entire daily written material. If you want to take a Chinese proficiency test HSK (http://www.chinesetest.cn/gosign.do?lid=0 ). 

Then please take a look at the tables below which I found from Wikipedia.

According to table 1 as below, you need 174 characters for HSK test level 1 and 347 characters for level 2 (need to learn another new 173 characters), 617 for level 3(need to learn another new 270 characters), 1064 for level 4(need to learn another new 447 characters), 1685 for level 5(need to learn another new 621 characters) and 2663 for level 6(need to learn another new 978 characters).

Table 1.



Table 2




Table 3


The amount of characters for level 6 is quite close to a native Chinese speaker.



RESOURCES TO LEARN/STUDY
        
     There are some online free resources where you can study/learn Chinese characters, here is what I found and I find it really helpful!

Online Flashcards
form HSK level 1 to 6 with options of simplified and traditional characters.
Top 1000 Traditional Chinese Characters


Top 1000 Simplified Chinese Characters



Modern Chinese Character Frequency List现代汉语单字频率列表
(Simplified characters only)

Learning characters can be challenging, but it's a necessity! However, you don't necessarily have to be able to write every single character by heart, as long as you can recognize them, you should be able to read and type with no problem! ;) 

I hope you find this post helpful!
Keep up learning and and fun! ;)


SMART Mandarin 
Katrina Lee
www.smartmandarinchinese.com

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Our Mandarin Classes
- 1 on 1 Chinese class in Hsinchu city
- small group Chinese class (2-4people) in Hsinchu city
- Online Skype Chinese lesson wherever you are
- Online audio & video lessons 24/7

Please feel free to contact me here at
smartmandarinchinese@gmail.com (Katrina Lee)




2017年12月14日 星期四

Christmas Vocabulary PART 1





In this video lesson, we're going to introduce you some Christmas vocabulary! 



Classes

- 1 on 1 Chinese class in Hsinchu city

- small group Chinese class (2-4people) in Hsinchu city

- Online Skype Chinese lesson wherever you are



Please feel free to contact me here at

smartmandarinchinese@gmail.com (Katrina Lee)

2017年12月7日 星期四

Chinese Character Classification 1


Chinese Character Classification 1

All Chinese characters are logograms, but several different types can be identified, based on the manner in which they are formed or derived. There are a handful which derive from pictographs (象形 pinyinxiàngxíng) and a number which are ideographic (指事 zhǐshì) in origin, including compound ideographs (會意 huìyì), but the vast majority originated as phono-semantic compounds (形聲 xíngshēng). The other categories in the traditional system of classification are rebus or phonetic loan characters (假借 jiǎjiè) and "derivative cognates" (轉注 zhuǎn zhù). Modern scholars have proposed various revised systems, rejecting some of the traditional categories.


Pictograms
(象形 xiàng xíng, "form imitation")
Chinese characters are pictograms (象形 xiàng xíng, "form imitation") drawings of the objects they represent. These are generally among the oldest characters.

   



  



Ideograms (指事 zhǐ shì, "indication")
deograms (指事 zhǐ shì, "indication") express an abstract idea through an iconic form, including iconic modification of pictographic characters. In the examples below, low numerals are represented by the appropriate number of strokes, directions by an iconic indication above and below a line, and the parts of a tree by marking the appropriate part of a pictogram of a tree.
Character







Pinyin
èr
sān
shàng
xià
běn
Gloss
one
two
three
up
below
root
apex
·          běn "root" - a tree ( ) with the base indicated by an extra stroke.
·           "apex" - the reverse of (běn), a tree with the top highlighted by an extra stroke.


Compound ideographs
(會意 huì yì, "joined meaning")

Compound ideographs (會意 huì yì, "joined meaning"), are compounds of two or more pictographic or ideographic characters to suggest the meaning of the word to be represented.
Characters commonly explained as compound ideographs include:
1.       "truthful", formed from "person" (later reduced to ) and "speech"
2.        lín "grove", composed of two trees
3.        sēn "forest", composed of three trees
4.        xiū "shade, rest", depicting a man by a tree


Jiajie (假借 jiǎjiè, "borrowing; making use of")

Jiajie (假借 jiǎjiè, "borrowing; making use of") are characters that are "borrowed" to write another homophonous or near-homophonous morpheme.
For example, the character  was originally a pictogram of a wheat plant and meant "wheat". As this was pronounced similarly to the Old Chinese word lai "to come", was also used to write this verb. Eventually the more common usage, the verb "to come", became established as the default reading of the character , and a new character  was devised for "wheat". (The modern pronunciations are lái and mài.) When a character is used as a rebus this way, it is called a jiajiezi 假借字 (lit. "loaned and borrowed character")


-----------------------------------
Dear students,
We organized some information about Chinese characters to help you have more understanding of our characters. ;)
** Information from Wikipedia.

Katrina Lee





About Chinese Characters


About Chinese Characters

Chinese characters In Standard Chinese, they are called hanzi (simplified Chinese: 汉字traditional Chinese: 漢字, lit "Han characters"). They have been adapted to write a number of other languages, including JapaneseKorean, and Vietnamese.

In Old Chinese (and Classical Chinese, which is based on it), most words were monosyllabic and there was a close correspondence between characters and words. In modern Chinese (esp. Mandarin Chinese), characters do not necessarily correspond to words; indeed the majority of Chinese words today consist of two or more characters.

Modern Chinese has many homophones; thus the same spoken syllable may be represented by many characters, depending on meaning. A single character may also have a range of meanings, or sometimes quite distinct meanings; occasionally these correspond to different pronunciations.

Chinese characters represent words of the language using several strategies. A few characters, including some of the most commonly used, were originally pictograms, which depicted the objects denoted, or ideograms, in which meaning was expressed iconically. The vast majority were written using the rebus principle, in which a character for a similarly sounding word was either simply borrowed or (more commonly) extended with a disambiguating semantic marker to form a phono-semantic compound character. The traditional six-fold classification (liùshū 六书 / 六書 "six writings") was first described by the scholar 許慎Xu Shen in the postrace of his dictionary 說文解字Shuowen Jiezi in 100 AD.

-------------------------------------------------
Dear students,
We organized some information about Chinese characters to help you have more understanding of our characters. ;)
** Information from Wikipedia.

Katrina Lee