Friday, 3 December 2021

Chinese characters may not have

as many strokes in them as they once had but they are, for me, still complicated.

Chinese is a language I know very little about. I could once recognise around 400 characters but I "read" them as English words.  I readas "man" and I had no idea what the Chinese word actually sounded like. I still have no idea.

Finding and learning the Chinese characters was something I needed to know in order to write my doctoral thesis. I have long since forgotten almost all of them because I never used them after that.  A friend of mine once asked me where something had been made and I said, "It says made in China". I then had to hastily disabuse her of the idea that I can read Chinese. "Made in China" appears on many things and the characters are often there as well. 

The Chinese have, sensibly, simplified their language over the years. There were far too many examples of characters with a great many "strokes" in them. Classical Chinese ranges from one stroke (for the meaning "one") to more than sixty for a type of noodle. (Even simplified Chinese has more than forty for that particular type of noodle.) 

I am currently looking at some simplified Chinese characters and struggling with them. My wonderful Chinese goddaughter is getting married in a fortnight. Sadly she is getting married in Singapore and it is not safe for me to go. Her grandparents and other family who live here are not able to go either. I will be able to see her on "Zoom" but it is not the same as actually being there.

I had asked her mother what else I could make her. There are restrictions on what I can give her because she will be living in a tiny flat in Singapore. She already has something I made her. Was there anything else? Her mother answered there wasn't right now but would I start thinking about a "receiving blanket" - a shawl for a future baby. I made one for my goddaughter and another for her brother. They were wool because they were living in other countries then. This will need to be cotton. 

So, I have started to think about Chinese characters again. I need to have charts I can use to  knit characters of importance. I know where I can find some but I need to check they are right. I won't be trying to learn to say the words in Chinese. Knitting them will be quite hard enough!

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