Spelling and texting is tough in Mandarin

Texting in Chinese on a cell phone
Texting in Chinese on a cell phone

I am glad that I don’t have to spell, read, or write in Mandarin.  Some of the most complicated characters in the Mandarin language take twenty or more strokes to make.   The most complicated character in the English language is Q and it only takes two strokes to make; one stroke if it is lower case. 

I have trouble spelling words in English, whether a word is spelled with -able or –ible or if the word ends with -an or -en.  Spelling in Mandarin is probably next to impossible, because instead of having 26 characters to choose from, there are over 10,000. 

How do you memorize all of those characters?

If I was spelling in Mandarin, I would constantly go back and forth whether I should use the character that looks like the smashed Christmas tree or the character that looks like a bent track and field hurtle. 

I think the only thing tougher than spelling in Mandarin, is texting in Mandarin.  If you have a cell phone with a 45 button keyboard, how is that supposed to help you text in a language that has 10,000 characters?

Spelling in Chinese

Spelling in Chinese

2 Responses to Spelling and texting is tough in Mandarin

  1. brian says:

    It appears to me that it is disingenuous to compare the number of Mandarin characters to the number of English letters. Even in the examples above, the characters represent words, not letters. I do not know Mandarin, but it seems to me that the closer Mandarin equivalent to English Letters are the dashes, lines, boxes, etc. that make up the Mandarin “characters.” There are a lot more than 10,000 words in the English language.

  2. Valerie says:

    The Chinese use pinyin to input into their phones and before they are done spelling out the pinyin, the correct character pops up. So it’s not like they have have enough buttons for the thousands of characters.

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