Improving one's written Chinese

I would like to take the TOCFL writing test next year. I am thinking of going in for level 2.

This is a computerised based writing test where you can use Hanyu Pinyin as the input method.

So with my goal in sight the next question is how can I improve my writing ability?

I do a lot of varied reading however I very rarely write anything because I have nobody to read it afterwards.

I have a Taiwanese friend who charges me $NT175 per hour to talk to him in Chinese. I was thinking of changing this arrangement to use MSN instant messaging for our communication to improving my writing. I would also hope that this would help to improve my speaking skills at the same time.

Does anyonehave any ideas?

I cant write any characters by hand.

Many Thanks

there’s a thread for writing in Chinese on this forum

also you may try out this social media like language exchange called lan-8
lang-8.com/

by the way… that name is seriously unfortunate in Taiwan… well, not unfortunate, just really funny.

The title of this thread should be changed to improving one’s typed Chinese then. I’m working on a website to help users practice learning how to type Chinese. The lessons are mostly beginner now, but I hope to add more if there’s interest. The site is free at the moment, so try it out and let me know what you think.

readtypechinese.com

No, the OP is talking about his ability to actually write in Chinese – to compose prose. Tyoing only takes care of the mechanical aspects of how to get the characters down on the paper (or file).

[quote=“Milkybar_Kid”]I would like to take the TOCFL writing test next year. I am thinking of going in for level 2.

This is a computerised based writing test where you can use Hanyu Pinyin as the input method.

So with my goal in sight the next question is how can I improve my writing ability?

I do a lot of varied reading however I very rarely write anything because I have nobody to read it afterwards.

I have a Taiwanese friend who charges me $NT175 per hour to talk to him in Chinese. I was thinking of changing this arrangement to use MSN instant messaging for our communication to improving my writing. I would also hope that this would help to improve my speaking skills at the same time.

Does anyonehave any ideas?

I cant write any characters by hand.

Many Thanks[/quote]

My suggestion is reading more. Of course nothing beats writing practice to help writing, and especially having a native speaker to check the quality, but reading is a great way to commit sentence structure and various syntactical words to memory. Just start with some newspaper articles, preferably online and using pera-pera mouseover dictionary. For double-benefit, write them down by hand as you read them, then read your handwritten version again a few times.

You could try starting a journal or blog in Chinese…that helped me.

I’m confused. He’s planning to take the TOCFL where he can type. And he wants to hire someone to practice using MSN, which is also typing. Where does the writing fit in?

I’m confused. He’s planning to take the TOCFL where he can type. And he wants to hire someone to practice using MSN, which is also typing. Where does the writing fit in?[/quote]
I think it’s writing as in “compose prose”, not [hand]writing as in “oh crap, what’s the next stroke I should use?”. An ambiguity in the English verb “write”; I suppose if we want to be fussy the topic title could be “Improving one’s Chinese compositions”, although that’s not exactly elegant.

But yeah, I’m kind of confused as well, mainly because the final “can’t write any characters by hand” comment suggests he’s talking about handwriting; everything else suggests composing prose.

Ah, thanks for clearing it up. I got it now (I think).

I’m confused. He’s planning to take the TOCFL where he can type. And he wants to hire someone to practice using MSN, which is also typing. Where does the writing fit in?[/quote]

Yes sorry I should have provided a link to the test information. Here it is:

sc-top.org.tw/chinese/WT/test1.php

The test is computerized so no handwriting is involved.

I should have been more clear in my description. I need to improve my prose or composition - not my actual hand writing ability.

Thanks for the advice about doing more reading. However will this really work?

I’ve always held that the best way to improve your writing skills is to read a variety of well-written work.

Very true. My English really improved after reading Dr. MLK Jr.'s letters and speeches because I started to enjoy reading in English.