I'm glad if I can help with Mandarin.
Since the Chinese course entered beta and I see many people are interested in learning mandarin here. I'm a native speaker of mandarin. And I don't see many Chinese are using it. So if you guys have any questions, doubts or if you are confused in some translation, I'm very glad if I can be helpful. ;) I am NOT a teacher. I just would like to help. ;) Cheers!
Yes, exactly, if the "tones" you mentioned here mean the 4 basic tones in mandarin. Sometimes two different characters have the same tone, such as 一 （yī，one) and 衣 （yī，clothes). And yet sometimes one character can have two different tones and differs in meaning, such as 啊，when it's à, usually it means you are shocked, and when it's á, usually it means you are doubting, like in English when you say "Sorry?"
Could you relocate this discussion in the “Chinese from English” forum? Thx!
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Ah! I started to learn English when I was 9 years old and it's been about 20 years till now. I'm still learning. ;) What frustrated me was that when we were having English class at school, we didn't have many chances to use English except for the time in class. I think it helps a lot if you can have some native speaker friends so that it can somehow "force" you to use the language. ;)
Thank you for being here. I wonder, if there is a "smart" way of learning the characters. I mean, right now this whole thing, seem to veeery abstract to me with some random "pictures". This is quite hard to learn.
On the other hand, I have seen some explanations on how some characters can be understood/seen. For example, person (ren) as a someone who is walking. "Ni" in "ni hao", is a person leaning against a tree (rest!). ShaoLan Hsueh gives a really good talk about it on TED (https://www.ted.com/talks/shaolan_learn_to_read_chinese_with_ease)
So, the question follow: does it make sens, to look for the origin/explanation of the character? If so, then do you know of nay source where I could find more of these interpretations?
Hi MrVodnik! I think for starters it does make sense to take these characters as meaningful pictures so that it's easy remember how to write them. But only SOME of the Chinese charaters look like what they mean, such as: "sun", "moon", "door", etc.. And these charaters come from the acient ones step by step. You may check this https://cn.hujiang.com/new/p345990/ This explains the characters' evolution. Anyway, not ALL the characters can be found like this. When we were little kids and started to learn to write, we were not taught to remember the pictures. We just memorized them. Sometimes it's tedious I know...;)