Chinese Character Writing & Pronunciation
Chinese Characters are the foundation in Chinese language. If you totally have no idea of Chinese language or Chinese symbols, we recommend that you read the Chinese Character Overview first.
How to Write Chinese Characters
Chinese characters consist of strokes as their fundamental elements, the same way as English words consisting of letters. The stroke order refers to the way in which Chinese characters are written. The stroke order of a character gives the order and direction in which the strokes are written.
Here is an example how the character 永 is written stroke by stroke. The number of strokes is five. The number of strokes of Chinese characters varies from one to thirty.
The number of strokes used to make each character is used as index when you come to look them up in a dictionary.
There is a large and very diverse group of Chinese dialects spoken across northern and southwestern China. Standard mandarin is the official spoke language in Mainland China and Taiwan. In English, phonetic alphabet symbol provides the way how to spell the words. In Chinese, pinyin, a system of Roman alphabet, is used to express the sounds of characters.
For example, the character 车 means vehicle. Chē is pinyin for the character 车, while [`vi:ikl] is phonetic alphabet symbol for vehicle.
|Pronunciation||chē or che1||[`vi:ikl]|
Pinying Tone Chart
There are four tones represented in pinyin by marks above the words. The tone of a Chinese symbol indictaes how the pitch of the speaker's voice changes as the character is said.
The diagram to the right shows the pitch changes of the four tones on a five-bar scale going from lowest (1), to highest (5), while the four tone marks are:
|First tone||ˉ||high level|
|Second tone||ˊ||middle rising|
|Third tone||ˇ||low dipping|
|Fourth tone||ˋ||high fallin|
There is also a neutral tone which is unstressed and usually goes unmarked.
|Pinyin with tone||Simplified Chinese Character||English meaning||Name of tone|
|má||麻||To bother||2nd tone|
|mà||骂||To blame||4th tone|
|ma||吗||Grammatical marker used in a question.||Neutral|
As it is hard to type mark above pinyin in computer, 1, 2, 3, 4 is commonly used to represent 1st tone, 2nd tone, 3rd tone and 4th tone separately. For example, mā is written as ma1