these are the posts tagged ‘hanzi’:

hanzillion, reloaded

some years ago, i thought i was done with chinese learning and dropped my long neglected domain, where i used to post chinese characters (or hanzi) that i saw on the streets of shanghai… and then regretted it. by the time i checked on it again though, it had already been snatched by someone else. :(

early 2019 found me in the throes of re-learning all the characters, and it made me miss my little hanzi blog like crazy. patiently, i waited and waited, and eventually it paid off because we were able to get it again once it expired — victory! :D i’ve pointed the URL to a simple tumblr blog, and have been re-using old photos from our time in shanghai to post characters now and then. i hope i have enough photos to last until our next visit to asia!

feels really good to once again own the word hanzillion, a word i’ve made up over 10 years ago to describe all the zillion hanzi out there. :)


in case of emergency

a couple of months ago i thought that since i was leaving china soon and had been studying chinese for 1 year and a half, i might as well have some sort of certification. so, at my teachers advice, i registered for the hsk (the standard chinese test for non-native speakers, also called the chinese toefl), but on the basic level, because i hadn’t done any specific preparation for this test. to take the test on the basic level you have to know around 800 characters/1033 words.

so last month, i did the test along with a lot of other hopeful students. it’s a multiple choice test from beginning to end, and it has 3 parts: listening, grammar and reading comprehension. the first 2 parts are ok, but the texts they put on the reading comprehension part are really hard, some of them i was completely clueless… i honestly can’t understand the difficulty gap between the three parts. why would they make a reasonably easy test and then make the last part 100 times harder? :|

anyway, a month later, ladies and gentlemen, i am very proud to announce that i’ve passed the HSK exam! :D i was given a level 2 grade, which translates in

“The candidate has acquired the basic (middle) Chinese competence that can meet the demand of basic daily life, a certain range of social communication and study to some degree. “

yay! i’m really happy about this, and it’s a big motivation for me to keep learning chinese elsewhere. perhaps in a couple of years i’ll be ready for the intermediate exam. :)

small victories


yesterday the clerk at the postoffice gave up and spoke to me in chinese (which was better than his english) and a lady in the queue even told me my chinese was good :)

persistence seems to be paying off!

quote of the day

in case of emergency

Everyone knows that literacy in Mandarin means hour after brutal hour of memorizing and practicing a script whose design clearly shows the influence of sadistic genius.

from Beijing sounds

hanzillion: a zillion hanzi out there

hanzillion is a (recently started) photo project*, a collection of the zillion hanzi, or chinese characters, found on the streets of china.
it works as my homework: when i hunt for them, my photographic memory starts to remember their strokes and forms. which i desperately need to do, since i have at least some 3000 to go before i can read a newspaper…

and yet, foreign as 99.9% of these characters still are to me, i can’t but marvel at their mystery, different typographies and simple beauty. it’ll be a work in progress, for a very long time.

* i just can’t seem to get enough of them!