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How to learn to read Classical Chinese


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#1 Harmonious Emptiness

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    道德

    Putting Classical Chinese thoughts into English words.

    The space between the notes...

Posted 19 April 2012 - 03:26 PM

I understand it is no easy task, especially not even knowing contemporary Chinese.

However, I would like to get started somehow. At least, find out how to interpret some radicals/characters so that when I read a translation with the Chinese next to it I can understand how they arrived at the words.

I speak English and enough French to have some familiarity with detaching my grammatical preconceptions. I know this is hardly worth a dime, but hopefully more useful than not.

Any suggestions? Maybe free online resources?
Be humble, believe in yourself.

"Will is a functionary of desire. When you have many desires, then your mind is scattered; when your mind is scattered, then your will deteriorates. When your will deteriorates, then thought does not attain its object." (from "Master of Demon Valley" trans. by Thomas Cleary

#2 Harmonious Emptiness

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    道德

    Putting Classical Chinese thoughts into English words.

    The space between the notes...

Posted 20 April 2012 - 08:13 AM

Found this (pdf, "progressive exercises in the Chinese written language" 1912):
http://ia600506.us.a...exerc00bull.pdf

and this:
http://www.chinese-f...ior-experience/

Edited by Harmonious Emptiness, 20 April 2012 - 08:17 AM.

Be humble, believe in yourself.

"Will is a functionary of desire. When you have many desires, then your mind is scattered; when your mind is scattered, then your will deteriorates. When your will deteriorates, then thought does not attain its object." (from "Master of Demon Valley" trans. by Thomas Cleary

#3 ChiDragon

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    Interested in finding and demystify ancient ambiguous ineffable concepts in correlation with modern scientific knowledge.

Posted 20 April 2012 - 10:42 AM

You need to learn at least three to four thousand characters in order to read a Chinese newspaper. You might want to start learning the characters. My advice to you is that you must have an open mind and looking at things objectively. I know westerners do have a tendency to put their own cultural thinking into the eastern thinking with lots of erroneous notion.

If you learn the characters by radicals, you are only learning how the characters were derived and their individual meaning. However, the meaning of the actual character might have been changed in context in a sentence or phrase. I have communicated with some westerner online which they do know the meanings of the characters; but they just cannot change their mind that the character means something in context and made an incorrect interpretation.

If you are really interested in learning the characters, I am glad to give you some help with each individual character.... ;)
靜觀其變 以靜制動
Beware of the unexpected silently
Handle adversity with calmness

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#4 Harmonious Emptiness

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    道德

    Putting Classical Chinese thoughts into English words.

    The space between the notes...

Posted 20 April 2012 - 11:29 AM

Thanks for the offer CD!

Right now I'm just trying to get some grasp on 1 to 6 stroke characters.

Is there a common way to write characters with a ballpoint pen that shows the slight twists at the end, like in one and two?

I'm seeing how chill one needs to be to write them properly. I guess the up and down and left and right strokes are always supposed to be a certain way too right?
Be humble, believe in yourself.

"Will is a functionary of desire. When you have many desires, then your mind is scattered; when your mind is scattered, then your will deteriorates. When your will deteriorates, then thought does not attain its object." (from "Master of Demon Valley" trans. by Thomas Cleary

#5 ChiDragon

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    Interested in finding and demystify ancient ambiguous ineffable concepts in correlation with modern scientific knowledge.

Posted 20 April 2012 - 12:04 PM

H.E.

You welcome. Basically, in general, the lines are straight lines to form the characters(一, 二). One can write it any way as long as the form of the character is recognizable. Writing with a ball point pen with a certain style depends on the penmanship of each individual. As a beginner, first is to learn the basic form of the characters. The penmanship is from practicing writing the characters. Eventually, you will have your own style for each character... ;)
靜觀其變 以靜制動
Beware of the unexpected silently
Handle adversity with calmness

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#6 Harmonious Emptiness

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    道德

    Putting Classical Chinese thoughts into English words.

    The space between the notes...

Posted 07 June 2012 - 03:53 PM

For pronunciation lessons:

http://www.bbc.co.uk...mes/tones.shtml

many other resources:

http://www.opencultu...chinese_lessons
Be humble, believe in yourself.

"Will is a functionary of desire. When you have many desires, then your mind is scattered; when your mind is scattered, then your will deteriorates. When your will deteriorates, then thought does not attain its object." (from "Master of Demon Valley" trans. by Thomas Cleary

#7 yiming

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 09:20 PM

If you are really interested in learning the characters, I am glad to give you some help with each individual character.... Posted Image


Hi Chi Dragon, I would like to learn. Is it possible to paste chinese characters in this post?

#8 ChiDragon

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    Interested in finding and demystify ancient ambiguous ineffable concepts in correlation with modern scientific knowledge.

Posted 13 August 2012 - 09:36 PM

Hi Chi Dragon, I would like to learn. Is it possible to paste chinese characters in this post?

Hi, yi ming...

Yes, I can type or paste any character on this post.

Please let me know what subject or interest that you would like to related the characters to. I think it is more interesting to start with the characters that are connected to something that you are fond of.

Let's start with your nickname here.
Yi Ming can be written as:
意明: Understand the actual meaning or
易明: Easy to understand.
靜觀其變 以靜制動
Beware of the unexpected silently
Handle adversity with calmness

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#9 yiming

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 03:34 AM

Hi, yi ming...

Yes, I can type or paste any character on this post.

Please let me know what subject or interest that you would like to related the characters to. I think it is more interesting to start with the characters that are connected to something that you are fond of.

Let's start with your nickname here.
Yi Ming can be written as:
意明: Understand the actual meaning or
易明: Easy to understand.


I don't see any characters. I couldn't paste any character in my post.
Why don't you paste Chapter 1 Chinese characters and I will ask you to give meanings to the characters
I don't understand. Ok?

#10

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 05:52 AM

I suggest learning chinese characters in context, you'll understand why once you learned the first 500 characters.
There are many textbooks for chinese language students, it's a great place to start.
Learning by yourself will make the progress very difficult, you should consider making a chinese paypal friend, most of them are interested in exercising their English, so you can help each other.
Also, you should consider investing up to 10 years for a good level. Can work out in lesser time, for that you'd have to look for a way to go to China someday, it's an invaluable experience for learning, especially spoken chinese.

宁 / Ning

Rambunctious much?

Warm reminder: "中国绝学不传外国人, 大家谨记, 传出去的都是些皮毛"


#11 yiming

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 08:02 AM

I suggest learning chinese characters in context, you'll understand why once you learned the first 500 characters.
There are many textbooks for chinese language students, it's a great place to start.
Learning by yourself will make the progress very difficult, you should consider making a chinese paypal friend, most of them are interested in exercising their English, so you can help each other.
Also, you should consider investing up to 10 years for a good level. Can work out in lesser time, for that you'd have to look for a way to go to China someday, it's an invaluable experience for learning, especially spoken chinese.


I am not totally illiterate. I am a Cantonese. I grew up watching cantonese movies. I just need some help with certain characters. I know the meaning of tao which is "do" in Bruce Lee's Juet Kun Do. It's the way. Being a Chinese, I am already half way to understanding the language. All I need is another Chinese guy to explain what a certain character means. No other guy can do this. You know what I mean? A white guy - even a learned Jesuit - won't cut it. Sorry. I hope Chi Dragon is a Chinaman.

#12 yiming

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 08:17 AM

I don't see any characters. I couldn't paste any character in my post.
Why don't you paste Chapter 1 Chinese characters and I will ask you to give meanings to the characters
I don't understand. Ok?

Hi, yi ming...

Yes, I can type or paste any character on this post.

Please let me know what subject or interest that you would like to related the characters to. I think it is more interesting to start with the characters that are connected to something that you are fond of.

Let's start with your nickname here.
Yi Ming can be written as:
意明: Understand the actual meaning or
易明: Easy to understand.


I can see your Chinese characters now. I wasn't able to see them before.

So, please paste Chapter 1 in Chinese characters and I will pick the ones I don't know and need your clarification.
By the way, I get your explanation on 易 which means easy or "no sweat" to getting it. I don't get 意明. So, what do you mean by 意? Can you use it for easy to eat or easy to kill?

#13 ChiDragon

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    Interested in finding and demystify ancient ambiguous ineffable concepts in correlation with modern scientific knowledge.

Posted 14 August 2012 - 08:36 AM

I don't see any characters. I couldn't paste any character in my post.
Why don't you paste Chapter 1 Chinese characters and I will ask you to give meanings to the characters
I don't understand. Ok?


Yiming...
I am a Cantonese also, a real Chinaman.... :D


Anyway, the reason you cannot post any Chinese character is becuse you have not set up the language feature in your windows. I am assuming that you are using Microsoft Windows 7. BTW I am using the Windows Vista Home Premium.

You need to go into the Control Panel under the "Region amd Language"
To select "keyboards and Languages" to "Change keyboard" then add
Chinese(Traditional, Taiwan) then add
The input method for the characters.

After you have done the Chinese language setup, then we can go from there, OK....???
靜觀其變 以靜制動
Beware of the unexpected silently
Handle adversity with calmness

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#14

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:47 PM

yiming, my post was adressed to the OP, chill

宁 / Ning

Rambunctious much?

Warm reminder: "中国绝学不传外国人, 大家谨记, 传出去的都是些皮毛"


#15 ChiDragon

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    Interested in finding and demystify ancient ambiguous ineffable concepts in correlation with modern scientific knowledge.

Posted 14 August 2012 - 10:19 PM

I can see your Chinese characters now. I wasn't able to see them before.

I don't get 意明. So, what do you mean by 意? Can you use it for easy to eat or easy to kill?


1. 意(yi) when combined with 明(ming); then 意 is "meaning".
So, to understand a character, then you must understand its 意(meaning).

2. Can you use it for easy to eat or easy to kill?
Were you referring to 易...???
Yes, in that case, you may use it for easy to eat or easy to kill.

Edited by ChiDragon, 14 August 2012 - 10:40 PM.

靜觀其變 以靜制動
Beware of the unexpected silently
Handle adversity with calmness

               Posted Image

#16 ChiDragon

ChiDragon

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    Interested in finding and demystify ancient ambiguous ineffable concepts in correlation with modern scientific knowledge.

Posted 14 August 2012 - 10:31 PM

So, please paste Chapter 1 in Chinese characters and I will pick the ones I don't know and need your clarification.


Chapter 1
1. 道可道,非常道。
2. 名可名,非常名。
3. 無,名天地之始。
4. 有,名萬物之母。
5. 故常無,欲以觀其妙。
6. 常有,欲以觀其徼。
7. 此兩者同出而異名,
8. 同謂之玄。玄之又玄,
9. 眾妙之門。
靜觀其變 以靜制動
Beware of the unexpected silently
Handle adversity with calmness

               Posted Image




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