How do Chinese write?

Hi everyone, I have a question about Chinese writing on computer. I mean, of course you can type in pinyin for example in Word and get Chinese characters. Do Chinese people do it the same way? Are there other methods or keyboards with character keys?

There are numerous Chinese input methods. See following Wikipedia article for more details:

Thanks Cantotango, it’s been interesting to read the article. Is there a favorite or most common method? Which do you use for writing posts on internet forums for example?

The reason there are so many input methods is that there is no one solution that satisfies everyone. Some methods require a longer time to learn, but you can type much faster once you have overcome the initial difficulties. Others are easier to learn, but are much slower when you type. Some people do not want to learn any input method at all and prefer to use handwriting recognition tablets. It also depends on whether you are typing in simplified or traditional Chinese. Another consideration is what your native dialect is. For example, for native Cantonese native speakers, pinyin may not be that easy to use. And for many people, they would simply use whatever methods that come with the operating system or the device, e.g. Iphone.

Handwriting tablets! I might look into those.

Pinyin can be a real pain in the neck at times. I’m considering learning bopomofo/zhuyin fuhao since I’m a) learning traditional and b) have a set of keyboard stickers for them. Does anyone have any experience with this method? Do you find it efficient?

Mac OS offers Chinese character recognition, when you handwrite it on the trackpad, for example:

" Snow Leopard offers a breakthrough new way to enter characters: You write them directly on the Multi-Touch trackpad in your Mac notebook. They’ll appear on the screen in a new input window, which recommends characters based on what you drew and lets you choose the right one. The input window even offers suggestions for subsequent characters based on what you chose."

With the Iphone, you can also use handwriting recognition to input Chinese. I reckon it’s similar to what’s available on the Mac. It works OK but does take some getting used to. Also, handwriting recognition is an inherently slow method, not recommended if you need to write long love letters to your Chinese girlfriends/boyfriends.

As for bopomofo, I don’t know how it works. I’d think it’s some kind of phonetic method, and so wouldn’t expect a dramatic improvement over pinyin.

For what it’s worth, the method I am using now is Q9 (九方):

It’s not a particularly fast or efficient method, but an improvement over purely phonetic approaches. I am using it main because I am such a lazy bugger that I don’t want to learn other methods which require a lot of practice and training. It seems that, here in Hong Kong anyway, when people have to teach their computer-illiterate mom how to type in Chinese, they often resort to Q9.

For what it is worth, I learned traditional characters using Wade Giles and had no trouble moving to simplified and pinyin. Anything new is a bother, but once you get used to the strange use of Q and X, and the fact the the “u” in 娱乐, for example sometimes needs to be typed as a “v” and other conventions, it is quite straight forward. I remain attached to Wade Giles and have a strong aversion to bo po mo fo.

ive found it interesting recently that typing in Chiinese is actually a process of recognition rather than production. You type the word and choose from the list of characters, thus you only need to recognize. so if you can read you can type, but writing writing is another story!

You can also buy a writing board(手写板), it is very cheap, only 20-80 yuan, it is used just like mouse, you just connect it to the computer and then you can write or control the computer. I think it is a good way to use chinese for beginner.Hope this can help you!

Another way , there are different ways of input chinese, like pinyin(拼音), wubi(五笔), bihua(笔画)。I think the pinyin is the easiest and wubi is the fastest, but you should know the characters, it is a little bit difficult than wubi.