Letter · October 24, 2022

How To Write A Letter In Chinese

How To Write A Letter In Chinese – Unlike most other languages, handwriting in Chinese can be considered a separate skill. Learning to write by hand is not easy; learning to write well is even more difficult. In a previous article, I discussed handwriting in detail, including how to improve it as a student.

I have collected more than thirty Chinese handwriting samples, most of them from students of different ages from different countries around the world. I also collect some examples from native speakers to show as reference.

How To Write A Letter In Chinese

How To Write A Letter In Chinese

The examples below are presented roughly in chronological order of language learning, with beginners and native speakers at the end. Counting reading time over the years can be very tricky, but since there is no better way to organize the samples, I chose to do it anyway.

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The purpose of this article is not to conduct a systematic study of student handwriting, although it would be interesting. Apart from learning time, another important factor is how the student’s writing looks in their native language. I have seen enough of the student’s handwriting to believe that there is a lot of positive transfer happening, so someone who writes well in their native language can also write well in Chinese. Beginners may write like this beautifully, but with incorrect strokes, etc., but the pen still goes to learning Chinese.

Speaking of the pen, it must be said that there is probably a strong selective reaction here. While not all manuscript submitters write well, I think it’s safe to say that people who love handwriting are more likely to have submitted photos of their manuscript when I asked. In other words, the average student probably writes worse than the pictures below.

Finally, here is the text I asked people to handwrite. That’s the first paragraph of the text adventure game Escape:

The first offer comes from the United States, and also includes some information about the student. I collected some submissions two years ago, so “since early 2016” actually means less than a year of study!

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Thomas Walker writes on Twitter: “Here’s my attempt. Been studying Chinese for about 8 months. Your site has been a huge help, keep up the good work!”

A student from the United States posted the following photo of his handwriting, saying that he is 51 years old and has been learning Chinese for over a year.

This is from a 22-year-old Belgian student. He has been studying Chinese for at least a year:

How To Write A Letter In Chinese

Another statement comes from a 27-year-old Bulgarian student who studied Chinese in Wuhan for three semesters:

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A student from France provided the following example, saying: “I’m around HSK3, I’ve lived in China for two years, which I did by myself even though everyone told me it’s useless (it’s not; it’s always day was very useful, whether teaching Chinese to my students or writing some unknown OCR-resistant character on Pleco Street). /pencil is like night and day, for learning purposes) in a 10 RMB children’s book bought at Carrefour and I could totally feel the difference very quickly. I used a pen and wrote quickly to get some give you a more realistic one.”

Next is an example from a Peruvian student. He is 24 years old and has studied Chinese for about three years:

The last example in this category is from a 35-year-old Norwegian who studied Chinese for four years, mostly by himself:

Dr. My closet is a graveyard of graph paper!”

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MissFitti writes on Twitter: “I studied Mandarin in Italy for my BA and MA and I’m currently teaching it in England in Middle. 5 years in total at university, and 1 year and 6 months living in China :)”

A student from Scotland sent me the following sample of his handwriting. He says he has been working in China for more than five years, and has studied Chinese, but he has had very little training in writing characters. Like the rest of us, he mainly uses his phone and computer to write Chinese:

A student from the United States submitted the following image with the following comment: “I have been reading, and for about 5-6 years, I have been using the word reading casually, Chinese. […] My reading difficulties are listed, speaking, and as you can see from my attached text, more writing skills. […] Thank you for everything you do. I really appreciate you.”

How To Write A Letter In Chinese

Brandon Rivington writes on Twitter: “I tried to make it as natural as possible. I’ve been studying Chinese for about 7 years. I can’t wait to read the article!” …

Chinese > English] A Chinese Friend Wrote A Poem For Me And I’m Not Sure What It Means. My Chinese Name Is 珂蕴媛 And I Think He Incorporated That Into The Poem :

Another example comes from a 36-year-old student from Spain, who has been learning Chinese for about nine years:

And another submission from Spain, from someone who is two years younger, but has also studied for about nine years:

A Polish student submitted the photo of his handwriting below and said: “I am 24 years old and I have been learning Chinese for about 9 years. I passed HSK5 3 years ago and I plan to pass HSK6 next year.”

Anna K. writes on Twitter: “Study Chinese for 10+ years, taught for one year. Thanks for your great blog and work!”

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TranslationRaven writes on Twitter: “Study Chinese in school for 12 years, then didn’t read or write for 8 years. I returned to Asia and after 8 years I got my teaching diploma in Chinese language. I don’t know how to categorize myself, haha”

David Hull 胡大衛 writes on Twitter: “Always very self-conscious about my sloppy handwriting. Picked up Chinese late – mid 20’s. Studied in PRC and USA. Haven’t written by hand in years (from except on the blackboard). I’m now a professor of Chinese. Started the army program at the Defense Language Institute in ’96 (we never wrote much). I don’t get a chance to study formally again until ’01. and then it was almost all printed.

The last example of this category comes from the United States. He has 26 years of formal and informal education behind him:

How To Write A Letter In Chinese

Now, let’s move on to native speakers. For those who find some of this difficult to read, please check out this article for some advice on how to proceed:

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A student, who grew up speaking Chinese with her mother and took Chinese in school for several years, but then forgot most of it, sent the following example. He also writes that “this is probably the most I’ve written by hand, I’m doing everything digitally now, practicing my handwriting by texting my mom on my cell phone.”

Vicky Lee wrote on Twitter: “I’m a little embarrassed to write Chinese like this? It’s just recognizable but far from cute.

A native speaker from China submitted this via Facebook Age ~50. “You are very appreciative of promoting Chinese culture.”

And an additional submission was made after the article was published, so actually number 37: “28 years old, living in mainland China, written by Lamy Safari”, originally posted here.

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I am not sure that any conclusions can be drawn from the examples given above; it really wasn’t meant to be. If you have any thoughts you’d like to share after checking them out, please leave a comment!

How good your handwriting is depends on many things, including how good your pen is in your native language. Time spent practicing and how interested you are are two other important factors. If you don’t think your manuscript is very good because you haven’t done enough, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. In this electronic age, proper handwriting is not an essential skill for most students.

For those of you who want to improve your handwriting, I close here with a link to the previous article:

How To Write A Letter In Chinese

I have been learning and teaching Chinese for over ten years. My goal is to help you find a way of learning that works for you. Sign up for my newsletter for a 7-day crash course on how to learn, as well as weekly ideas on how to improve your learning!

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