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Forum Rocket Chinese Chinese Feedback and Comments How exact should character writing be?

How exact should character writing be?

Jeanne--18

Jeanne--18

I was reviewing the second lesson in character writing, and I noticed nǚ (woman) was written three different ways in the modern form. In the video, the example had the third line crossing over both of the other lines, but the person writing the character puts the third line above the second line. In another place in the lesson, that third line sits just on top of the second line. Does it matter where that third line ends up? I want to learn it correctly. Thanks.
Robert-C7

Robert-C7

I have noticed discrepancies between what we see on the printed page (女) versus what we see in handwriting versus how they draw it in the video. The main thing to pay attention to is the stroke order and the types of strokes. I notice that for characters such as 田, the handwritten approach will draw the inner portion such that it does not touch the outer box. Here is an example of three different characters but with three distinct meanings: 人, 八, 入 (rén, bā, rù). A later writing lesson (Drawing Accurately) gives good examples of how slight differences in strokes can generate different characters. http://members.rocketlanguages.com/lessons/2263
Jeanne--18

Jeanne--18

Thanks, Robert. I can see that the lesson you referenced will be very helpful. However, I'm still not sure how I should write nǚ. :-)
Robert-C7

Robert-C7

My rule of thumb is to try to make it look like it does in print, i.e. 女. The horizontal stroke touches the other two strokes.
Jeanne--18

Jeanne--18

Thanks, that helps. But why does the order of strokes matter?
Robert-C7

Robert-C7

They say stroke order matters because if make the characters look right. Also, I think it helps you remember how to draw them.
コウ日本語

コウ日本語

Hi Jeanne, the order of strokes is extremely important in Chinese. Not only it makes the characters look good, it also determines the number of strokes of a character. This will facilitate you to search for the character in a dictionary. In addition, if you don't follow the order of strokes correctly, then you will not be able to learn Chinese calligraphy, which is an ancient writing art. In general, Chinese characters are written from top to bottom and left to right. Traditionally, Chinese books and newspapers are read vertically from top to bottom and right to left. As compared to westerner, Chinese tend to read books from the back to the front. However, nowadays many Chinese books are also published in western style which is horizontal and from left to right.
Jeanne--18

Jeanne--18

All right, I'll try to learn the strokes in order, even though sometimes it doesn't seem the most efficient way to write the characters. I appreciate your answers, Robert and JK.
Lin-Ping

Lin-Ping

大家好! Yes, the stroke order and correct way of writing the characters in very important. In China, we are taught from a very young age how to write the characters correctly and in a uniform way. Also, no one is allowed to write with their left hand because it will either smudge the character or ruin the stroke order. Teachers are very strict on us. As JK also mentioned, learning the right stroke order is very important when it comes to learning Chinese calligraphy. If you don't have the right stroke order, then the calligraphy simply won't work/look right. Characters can sometimes look a bit different simply because of the style of writing. Much in the same way that there are many different styles of handwriting in English. Your standard Chinese font on a computer however is generally considered the standard form for the characters. Although since I have left China I like less and less the strict form of education that advocates uniformity instead of creativity, I can't help but advise people to learn the characters the proper way. Keep up the good work! - 继续加油! - Lin Ping
Jeanne--18

Jeanne--18

Thank you for clarifying everything, Lin. I'm enjoying Rocket Chinese.

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