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What Are Chinese Characters

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by Miss Lim Mandarin (MAMA)

Last updated:


Friday, 9 December 2022

Interesting Facts

Chinese characters are the written form of the Chinese language. They have been in use for thousands of years and are one of the oldest continuously-used writing systems in the world. Unlike alphabetic languages, which use a small number of letters to represent sounds, each Chinese character represents a unique meaning.

There are over 50,000 Chinese characters, but most of them are rarely used. The average educated Chinese person knows around 8,000 characters, and it is estimated that about 3,000 characters are sufficient for general literacy.

Chinese characters are written with a brush or a pen using quick, fluid strokes. They are written in columns from top to bottom, and from right to left. Each character is made up of one or more radical, or basic, elements that give the character its meaning. For example, the character for "water" is made up of three radicals: "water" on the left, "drop" on the top, and "moon" on the bottom.

In addition to their meaning, Chinese characters also have a certain number of strokes, which is the number of brush or pen strokes needed to write the character. The number of strokes can vary greatly, from as few as one stroke to over twenty strokes.

Chinese characters are an important part of the Chinese language and culture. They are used in written communication, in literature, and in the arts. They are also often used in tattoos and other decorative designs, as a way to represent meaning and symbolism.

Despite the challenges of learning to read and write Chinese characters, they remain a unique and fascinating aspect of the Chinese language. For those interested in learning Chinese, mastering the characters is an essential part of the language learning journey.

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Miss Lim has coached over 5000+ students in learning Malaysian Mandarin. She is a certified HRDCorp trainer and able to speak 5 languages which are Mandarin, Hokkien, Bahasa Malaysia, English, and Cantonese.
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