Writing Chinese with 50 easy characters, or 99 characters, or 148 characters
50 of the most simple characters are explained with memorizing hints and with a few examples in booklet 1.
50 next characters are given in booklet 2.
50 final characters are given in booklet 3.
The booklets are written in cooperation with: Qian Tian, Nanjing (田 Tián, 南京 Nánjīng).
Niels Mejlhede Jensen, Bøgeløvsvej 4, 2830 Virum. firstname.lastname@example.org, www.mejlhede.dk
Chinese is one of the world’s most spoken languages and with the expanding economic and technological influence of China there is an increasing interest in being introduced to the language. An elementary course should include the ability to recognize a few Chinese characters and give the joy of reading and readably write a few simple Chinese sentences. (From booklet 1 page 22).
The front page of the booklet shows a photo of the big concrete dam on the Yangtze River: Sān Xiá, “The 3 Gorges Dam”, close to the area where the river passed the scenic mountains “The 3 Sisters”. The dam has big importance for the production of electricity and for regulating the flooding by the Yangtze. The mountain farmers here then 20 years ago saw many big men enter the mountains to construct this huge construction, and as the water went up more than 100 meters in the big reservoir more than 1 million people had to move away from their homes and their fields.
A trip to San Xia 2015 with photos from China, including specially the highly scientific Nanjing company Subote that participated in making concrete of high quality, is told in a photo booklet:
(There are some Chinese characters in the text here, and it depends on your browser if you see them and how you see them; but they are also given in the booklets in pdf).
On the front page there is written:
sān gè dà rén rù shān = 3 big people went into the mountains.
tài dà réngōng tǔmù = a very big manmade construction.
These characters are in the booklet explained partly directly and partly by stepwise making more complex characters from the simply characters.
I think these characters are simple and beautiful.
There are more examples here below:
Booklet 1 contains a few reading exercises and here are my translations:
(The translations are also given in booklet 2 page 21)
p 4 Reading exercise: 十二个大人叫大夫
shí èr gè dà rèn jiào dàifu = 12 adults are calling a doctor.
p 6 Reading exercise: 四月明日笑
sì yuè míng rì xiào = in April the bright sun smiles.
p 8 Reading exercise: 十月林太太卖小木
shí yuè Lín tàitai mài xiǎo mù = in October Mrs. Lin (Wood) sells a small tree.
p 11 Reading exercise: 冬王上车哭
dōng wáng shàngchē kū = one winter the king got into the car crying.
p 13 Reading exercise: 毛夫人买白毛巾
Máo fūren mǎi bái máojīn = Mrs. Máo buys white towels.
p 15 Reading exercise: 有三千一百四十二个太大工人出入白山
yǒu sān qiān yī bǎi sì shí èr gè tài dà gōngrén chū rù bái shān =
there were 3,142 very big workers going in and out of the white mountains.
p 16 Reading exercise: 白天小子坐学中文字
báitiān xiǎo zǐ zuò xué Zhōngwén zì =
during the day the little son sits and studies the Chinese characters.
p 18 Reading exercise: 工人在广州有广手
gōngrén zài Guǎngzhōu yǒu guǎng shǒu = workers in Guǎngzhōu have broad hands.
LEARNING CHINESE CHARACTERS
To memorize a character it is good practise to write it and notice the obvious characteristics. The Chinese have rules for the sequence of the strokes to make a beautiful character, an impressive art, calligraphy, which you can practise later when you have learned some of the language. But until then you can choose your own way, as long as it is possible to read your writing and you learn to recognize the characters when reading a text. This is a better procedure than to be so overwhelmed by the difficult details in writing that you on beforehand drop learning about this interesting language and culture. The printed characters are also different depending upon typography, just like for the Latin letters, see e.g. booklet 2 p2.
The selection of the characters in the 3 booklets are done somehow according to the following criterions:
1. the character is simple
2. the possible plausible ”memorizing hint”
3. the importance of the character in writing the wanted elementary sentences
With the presentation of these less difficult characters it is the hope that the reader now will learn to recognize and use 148 Chinese characters, and by this have the pleasure to recognize a few characters on e.g. Chinese products, and have the pleasure to have a slight idea of the Chinese way of writing. This is only a modest step towards understanding this great culture in case of e.g. cultural and business cooperation.
APPENDIX: CHINESE IN DANISH ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS?
Because the then Minister of Education had proposed to have Chinese as an optional language on the same level as German and French in 7’ - 9’ grade in the elementary school, the internet magazine (for schools and teachers): Folkeskolen.dk published an interview Nov. 22, 2010 with a Danish high school student who had lived in China 2001 - 2006. Her father was in China to work for a Danish firm and brought his wife and daughter along. The daughter attended an international school in 北京 Běijīng, where she the last 2 years also had ca. 4 hours weekly education in Chinese with a competent Chinese teacher who also could speak good English. After the 2 years here in the daily Chinese environment she had learned ca. 100 characters and could write about half a page. (But as a Danish student she had the challenge of coping with an international school in all her subjects). Only the classmates that had studied Chinese for 7-8 years could participate in a Chinese conversation. Her mother had more time to learn Chinese and learned to get along in shops etc. After spending 2 years back in Denmark, they went to China again for the Olympic Games in 2008, and then also the mother had forgotten her Chinese. Learning Chinese not only requires many years of study but also succeeding up keeping. So this experienced high school student advises not to have Chinese as an optional language in elementary school (the pupil will not by 3 years be able to learn useful Chinese, instead of benefiting from learning a different subject). Communication with the Chinese will anyway be in English, because there is a big interest in China to learn English.
I hope that the choice of characters here will make it easier for you to learn Chinese writing in a number of basic Chinese sentences.
Have a good and interesting time.