My struggle with characters.


火 fire, 木 wood, 日 sun, 月 moon, 人 person, 口 mouth, 門 door/gate, 山 mountain.

With the end of semester 1 looming, talk of our exams are beginning. During my lifetime, I’ve had to do countless exams, so fortunately for the upcoming exams, they will have no effect on us with grades. Because this isn’t a degree awarding course, it doesn’t matter if you don’t do very well. The tests are mainly to show you what areas you need to improve on, and if you feel fit enough to move up a level in the next semester.

So with this in mind, I’m not worrying too much. Not much is known about the exams, only that there is a speaking, listening and a writing part. This week, one of our teachers has been testing us on our chinese characters from each chapter. I’ve been hurriedly trying to write and rewrite them before the small test. My problem with characters is that, although I can read them, I can’t write them.

Easy ones like 我, (I) 你,(you)  他,(he)  是,(is/are)  有,(have) are ones that currently crop up, so I know these. It is the ones that I don’t write down often enough that are the problem.

Say for example the phrase ‘我有一张地图’。 ‘I have one map’.  I always struggle to remember how to write 地图,’map’. No matter how much I write it down, I still seem to forget.

I think for our test, if we don’t know the character we can write it in pinyin, as I know quite a lot of people aren’t sure of the characters.

When I am around Chengdu, I try and look out for any I know, which for me is a problem. With the amount of fonts here, they look completely different, making it very difficult for me to distinguish one from another. Anyway, even if I did know how to read it, it would most likely mean a completely different thing altogether.

For example; 面’ mian’  The first time I encountered this character was that it was represented as ‘noodles’. So, I thought that was fine, everywhere I saw the character my mind thinks ‘I know that character, it means ‘noodles’. But I soon found out that it can also mean;






classifier for flat surfaces such as drums, mirrors, flags.

So, I don’t actually know this character at all. This is what makes learning hanzi difficult.

My plan is during the summer learn all the hanzi from my current book so I’ll be ready for level 2 and I won’t be bogged down with learning both level 1 and 2 together.

Well, that’s the plan anyway!



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