Chinese WOTD – 字


→ Zì → Word (character, letter)

I would say one of the more dreaded parts about learning Chinese would be writing the characters. Within the language, nearly every time the character you enter represents more than one roman letter (in pīn yīn, roman letter expression of Mandarin), and instead of one character just being one letter, a Chinese character usually represents a term or word. This has its strengths and weaknesses. On one hand, you’d be able to express more of your thoughts on each character, saving space in places where you can generally only express yourself in 140 characters. That being said, it does not come with great difficulty. Writing a character of hàn zì takes generally as much time as you would writing a word in English, and unlike Roman characters, you would have to remember way more than just 62 characters plus punctuation. Talking with a few locals, most do not even fully understand how to write all characters, and particularly with the advances of technology, writing them has notably become less relevant in communicating the Chinese language, in favour of pīn yīn typing on computers and smartphones.

The view might seem a bit pessimistic, but you’d probably understand if you learn how to xiě hàn zì (write Chinese characters).