Stroke-shape patterns

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Western scripts are usually made up of stroke-shape patterns just like the Chinese scripts. Chinese kids start handwriting lessons by learning the basic stroke-shapes of a regular script. The names indicate the shape, direction or how the stroke-shapes are written:

yongzibaFrom left to right the stroke-shapes written with a pointed brush are: 點 (diǎn,) dot, 橫 (héng) horizontal, 竪 (shù) vertical, 鉤 (gōu) hook (these two are joined), (tí) raise, 彎 (wān) bend, (piě) slant, (nà) pressing forcefully.

This is usually called the Eight Principles of Yǒng 永字八法, because this character, 永 (meaning ‘forever’), has eight common strokes that are used to write the other characters.

yong.jpgThis idea can be applied to Western letters to explain the importance of stroke-shapes in letter construction.  This is an example of the basic stroke-shapes of a regular roman script.moresotrkes.jpgBased on these stroke-shapes and their variations, we make up all the letters of a basic script.

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