Chinese Strokes - Building blocks of Chinese

Building blocks of Chinese – Chinese strokes

Is it difficult to learn Chinese?

Of course it is!!  It takes an average Chinese student a good 13 years  (6 years of Primary + 3 years of secondary + 4 years of high school) to learn it.

Wait…. Isn’t that the same for an English student to learn English?

Exactly.  So learning any language properly is never an easy job.  But why is Chinese “especially difficult” for English speakers?

Here are some facts:
  • Chinese doesn’t use alphabets – so where do we start?
  • Chinese write with Chinese strokes which must be rendered precisely, because the change of length of a stroke can mean completely different things!
  • There are a lot of homophonic characters or even words in Chinese – how do we make out the meaning of what we hear?
  • Chinese uses “radical” system, which contains more than 250 radicals – that’s A LOT more than 26 alphabets in English!
  • Chinese do not conjugate their verbs – how do we express various tense?
  • Chinese use a lot of Cheng-Yu (idioms) in their speech and writing – how do we learn all their historical meanings?
  • There are very few instruction books written with the mind-set based on the Chinese language system

OK.  Let us work at one thing at a time.  While it is true that Chinese do not use alphabets, there are some basic elements that make up each character – Chinese STROKES.  There are mainly 8 basic Chinese strokes (that’s a lot less than 26 alphabets!!):

Diǎn

Héng

Shù

Piē

Zhé

Gōu

Dot

across, horizontal stroke

vertical stroke

left-slanting downward stroke

downwards-right concave stroke

tick, upwards stroke

bent stroke

hook

點 Diǎn

Dot

橫 Héng

across, horizontal stroke

豎 Shù

vertical stroke

撇 Piē​

left-slanting downward stroke

捺 Nà

downwards-right concave stroke

提 Tí

tick, upwards stroke

折 Zhé

bent stroke

勾 Gōu

hook

Now let's practice

We have prepared some practice sheets for you, from each single stroke to putting them together in characters. Download the PDF and practice. There is a saying 字無百日功, which means that it will take at least 100 days for a student to see improvements at penmanship. We invite you to share your work on any of our social media platforms.

8 Basic Chinese Strokes
8 Basic Chinese Strokes - Practice
8 Basic Chinese Strokes Practice

我們會經常為大家探討漢字和語文的課題。
要是你有特別的相關課題希望我們探討,歡迎您告訴我們。

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Sagebooks Hongkong promotes independent reading and life-long learning by nurturing the child’s confidence, autonomy and self-teaching abilities. Since 2006. Find out more About Us.

© 2020 Sagebooks Hongkong. All rights reserved.

Sagebooks Hongkong promotes independent reading and life-long learning by nurturing the child’s confidence, autonomy and self-teaching abilities. Since 2006. Find out more About Us.

© 2020 Sagebooks Hongkong. All rights reserved.

Sagebooks Hongkong promotes independent reading and life-long learning by nurturing the child’s confidence, autonomy and self-teaching abilities. Since 2006. Find out more About Us.

© 2020 Sagebooks Hongkong. All rights reserved.

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