Chinese Language Learning | News from China | Sino Culture and History | Quality China Products
The Chinese Outpost
You are here:
Learning Chinese? See Our List of Free Mandarin Learning SitesFree Mandarin Chinese Learning Sites

Angle 1: Basic Strokes of Chinese Characters

A good first step in making Chinese characters less intimidating is identifying their most basic parts.

A number of unique, identifiable strokes (individual marks of the brush or pen) are used to write Chinese.

The chart below shows you the eleven most common strokes, giving the name and direction in which each should be drawn.

In these examples, they are colored red (and very big!) to help you pick them out.

Basic strokes of Chinese characters illustrated
Did you know that the name of China's capital, Beijing, or (bĕi jīng), means "North Capital?" It's true. And the Chinese city Nanjing, or (nán jīng), means "South Capital."

(dōng jīng), or "East Capital," is actually in Japan. Most people know it by its Japanese pronunciation: "Tokyo."

And as for "West Capital," I don't believe there is a city called Xijing, or (xī jīng). But I think we need one. Therefore, I would like to nominate Seattle for a name change.

Seattle is commonly translated as (xī yă tú), just to get something that sounds like the name "Seattle," though (xī yă tú) literally means "West Refined Picture," or maybe "West Elegant Graph."

I don't think this literal meaning is what the translators had in mind, but I rather like it: "West Refined Picture." Catchy!

^ Top of Page ^
My 2006 'Travel in China' Blog | Privacy Policy

© 1998-2016 by Mark A. Baker. All rights reserved.
ISSN 1544-8088