Chinese characters are one of the most fascinating aspects of the language and occupy a prominent place in Chinese culture. Good handwriting is also very important in learning Chinese: the strokes that make up the characters must be written in a certain rigidly specified order, and they must also be written in a special way. This book is the only introductory manual for writing Chinese characters prepared specifically for an English-speaking audience. The author guides the reader through the fundamentals of writing and introduces the different types of script used in China today, their evolution, their place in Chinese tradition, and the relation among them. The book provides basic instruction in writing with a modern fountain pen rather than a brush. Only commonly used characters-both simplified and full forms-appear as examples and exercises. Also included is an explanation of how to look up characters in a Chinese dictionary. This attractive and charming book, full of anecdotes and calligraphic aphorisms, is both a useful classroom tool and an enjoyable reading experience for anyone with an interest in the language and culture of China.
Johan Bjorksten has studied and worked in China for a number of years and has taught Chinese to nonnative learners. Currently a resident of Uppsala, Sweden, he has also published a beginner's textbook of the Chinese language.
The history and structure of characters - looking up characters in a dictionary; the aesthetics of characters - alive on paper; writing characters; the tools of writing; how to practice; the basic strokes; some composite strokes; stroke order; the aesthetics of characters - composition; some characters have a key stroke; characters fit in imaginary squares; repeated elements are executed with variation; some characters have left and right parts; some characters have left, middle, and right parts; some characters have a top-bottom structure; framed characters; a few difficult characters; the radicals; a poem and more characters to practice - "A Thought on Still Night"; characters to practice.