The Chinese Challenge (2)

I’m halfway through my character learning book (this one, in case you were wondering; can highly recommend it), and I’ve come to one important conclusion: I have a terrible handwriting, be it the Latin alphabete or Chinese characters. Definitely not calligraphy-worthy, but I do think that most of the characters I produce are legible.

Oh, and I found out that Chinese time references (at least the ones I know so far) are kind of simple: the months are basically called “one month”, “two month”, “three month” and so on, and the days of the week are called “week one”, “week two”, … until you come to Sunday, which is called “week sun” (and “week” is a compound from the characters for “star” and “period of time”). The character which is the equivalent to “o’clock” (as in “three o’clock”) can also mean “drop”. The time of day is given in relation to “midday”: “above midday”, “middle midday”, “below midday”.

The more I learn about Chinese compounding and the logic behind it, the less confused I am about the fact that Chinese only need to know about 3,000 characters in order to read newspapers. They seem to re-use characters in a smart and often logical way to form compound words, thus creating a larger vocabulary with a small set of characters. Way to go, China!

As to my progress: The next vocabulary test shouldn’t be too far away (I just have to get my husband to do it with me) and I’m hoping for an increase in words and characters known. Definitely got some more character practise done this week.

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