Spending time and effort to write Chinese

Hi Everyone.

I came to Taiwan mostly to study Chinese and learn about the country and its people. I think this is an awesome country with lots of things to discover.

I have to admit honestly that I love studying the characters and read in Chinese. I like to guess the meaning of new character combinations, I love the beauty of the characters and I also enjoy to listen to Chinese dialogues and write in characters what I hear and understand. I finished several booklets full of Chinese characters written in my own handwriting.

The problem is that for most people I have met here, this is just a waste of time and most consider that I am stupid of spending that much energy and time on the characters. Well, I do it because I really enjoy that, not because I find that this activity has more value than focusing on how to speak and understand what I hear, but perhaps I am just fooling myself and that they are right.

What do you think?

Focusing on how to speak and understand might be more valuable if the only thing you’re worried about is daily life, but if you like learning characters there is no waste in that. I spent a lot of time and money learning to read and write Chinese and I don’t consider it a waste.

I think writing Chinese characters is a great excercise and it’s a good way to memorize characters. Because nowadays writing usually means typing Chinese on the computer (which is more like selecting characters from a list, if you use an imput system that is not based on strokes) it’s easy to forget how (or fail to learn how to write) Chinese characters properly and then, when you have to write something on paper one day you are sitting there clueless despite being able to read and recognize the characters you need to write. So, if you have an interest, go for it. Gives you an edge and a sense of accomplishment. If you practice calligraphy you can even feel like an artist…

Doing something you like isn’t a waste of time, and knowing how to hand write isn’t as useless as people make it. For one, knowing howbto write makes remembering characters easier.

I think one has to write a lot in order to memorize them. However, in order to be able to write correctly and on call, you must do it constantly and never really stop. It is a skill and if you stop, that skill will erode. For the majority of people, it’s not something they need to do in their everyday life, especially if they don’t live in Taiwan. So I don’t know the answer, but as soon as you stop, your ability will decrease. You have to decide at what point will you stop writing everything you see regardless of whether you know it or not and how you want to spend your time. I always write out new ones, but not ones I already know. I would rather spend my time reading something interesting or watching something interesting. Increasing my vocabulary is most important to me, so writing stuff I already recognize in no so helpful in this pursuit. But hey, if you enjoy it, by all means continue.

There is no research showing that one recognizes better if one writes, particularly copying by rote.

If you get pleasure by writing by hand, what’s wrong with that? Just tell people it’s a hobby. Of course if your spoken Mandarin isn’t proficient, you may want to think about reallocating your study time. But that depends on your personal goals

Stop right there. No need to justify or get anyone’s approval.

If you want to know if there are others who also enjoy writing Chinese characters, the answer is most certainly yes. I took a local adult school calligraphy class a couple of years ago and met many people who thoroughly enjoyed writing. I was the only foreigner; all of the other students were locals who had been writing characters for decades and still loved it.

If you like learning to write Chinese, that’s fine.

But: Under no circumstances place your focus on that. Spoken Chinese and sentence composition should be your priority, not learning how to write the characters.

First, I guess you will at some point return to your home country. Then your opportunities for speaking Chinese will vastly be reduced. Practicing writing Chinese can be done on a lonely island, though. So don’t waste too much of your Taiwan time for learning characters, but neglecting spoken Chinese.

Second, it is really not that necessary to write Chinese. Often many people fall into the trap of thinking that if they can write characters, they can write Chinese. With another language, one wouldn’t think that being able to write the alphabet will enable you to write good texts. This is the same with Chinese.

But don’t care about what other people think. Other people think that tones are useless to learn, or they really don’t care about Chinese characters. So, continue to study them, but don’t forget the speaking part!

[quote=“Hellstorm”]If you like learning to write Chinese, that’s fine.

But: Under no circumstances place your focus on that. Spoken Chinese and sentence composition should be your priority, not learning how to write the characters.

First, I guess you will at some point return to your home country. Then your opportunities for speaking Chinese will vastly be reduced. Practicing writing Chinese can be done on a lonely island, though. So don’t waste too much of your Taiwan time for learning characters, but neglecting spoken Chinese.

Second, it is really not that necessary to write Chinese. Often many people fall into the trap of thinking that if they can write characters, they can write Chinese. With another language, one wouldn’t think that being able to write the alphabet will enable you to write good texts. This is the same with Chinese.

But don’t care about what other people think. Other people think that tones are useless to learn, or they really don’t care about Chinese characters. So, continue to study them, but don’t forget the speaking part![/quote]

I agree with most of you. I have to admit that I like the sense of achievement, the edge, it gives me over those people who just give up writing them.

Like in everything, balance is key. Thanks everyone for your input/comments.

I was born here and you have more of a drive in improving writing more than I do.