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:
From 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), 提 (tí) raise, 彎 (wān) bend, 撇 (piě) slant, 捺 (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.
This 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.Based on these stroke-shapes and their variations, we make up all the letters of a basic script.