Chinese has a beautiful written language. One of the great advantages of the system is that people who speak different dialects understand each others' writing. While Cantonese and other dialects have developed their own "local" characters for informal communication and pop-literature, traditional Chinese remains the mainstay and the primary means of business correspondence.
First of all, Chinese does not have an
alphabet. Alphabets describe how to say a word.
Written Chinese is mainly composed of ideographs. They
express a meaning. In turn these symbols are given a
pronunciation, but the pronunciation varies from dialect to
dialect while the meaning is constant.
In Chinese, the order in which a character is written is important. A character written with an incorrect stroke order is technically wrong, and sometimes becomes another word altogether. (Although this is not an extremely strict rule and you can generally get away with incorrect characters as long as nobody saw you write it.) When using a brush rather than an ink-pen or pencil, the distinction in brush-stroke becomes more readily apparent.
While each character should be learned with its individual stroke order, there are some simple rules that can be remembered to make remembering the proper stroke order easier.
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