Use this tool to add tone marks to pinyin or to convert tone number (e.g. hao3) to tone marks.

Although you can use the red buttons to add tone marks, we highly recommend you use the number method (e.g. hao3) for speed and placement of the accent above the correct vowel. [Hint: Type "v" for "ü"]
Note: You do not need to use this tool to enter pinyin in this dictionary.

Breakup with Pinyin and Start Dating Wubi

It will only take 6 minutes to read this post!

Written by Nora at WrittenChinese.Com

At first glance the Wubi method looks completely intimidating. Take it from me, who has been staring at a printed copy of the Wubi keyboard guide for about an hour attempting to make sense of it. I have been using Pinyin ever since I started learning Chinese but I have been frustrated because it seems like for every new character I learn, one pops out of the side of my head.

 
confused about wubi 2

That’s because I am basically trying to learn 2 languages at one time- first learning the pinyin with its tone and then learning the character. So my brain is going from English to Pinyin to written Chinese. While I believe that extra step is essential in learning new words and re-learning forgotten ones, there are many characters that I can recognize that I still cannot write. Using Pinyin on the keyboard offers a nice cheat for that, but at the end of the day, that’s what it is: a cheat. While I can distinguish the character from a row of other characters, when you put the pen in my hand I hesitate how to write it. That’s because I’m still more strongly associating the word to its Pinyin than to its character. Is that so wrong? Well, no, and for some of you Mark Zuckerberg’s out there, you can easily remember the character and its Pinyin together so go for it and skip the Wubi. But for me, your average Wisconsin cheesehead, I’m all about simplifying my Chinese learning and finding ways that will reinforce what I’ve learned in my daily life.

 

Side note: I am in no way advocating to remove Pinyin from Chinese learning entirely, in fact I wrote this love poem to show how I feel:

 

Ode to Pinyin

 

You came and took the sounds from distant lands

Turning them into words I understand

Allowing me to see the other side

And faithfully have been my loyal guide

 

I turn to you when I forget the strokes

My brain more weak than Zuckerberg-like blokes

You’ve been my crutch and friend you’ll always be

But now it’s time to get to know Wubi

 

So what is Wubi?

wubi sample word 2

In a nutshell, the Wubi input method turns your keyboard into a calligraphy brush. Instead of typing in the Pinyin and then choosing from a sometimes very long list of possible characters, you type in the character shapes with a few keystrokes and the correct character nearly always appears first. Not only is this method faster than Pinyin, but it is more forgiving too! If you forget exactly how a character is written, you can put in the shapes that you DO remember, and often you can still get it anyway.

 

Do I have to give up my Pinyin?

 

Don’t worry, there’s no need to say goodbye to your old pal, Pinyin! Nearly all Wubi input methods include Pinyin (and even English), allowing you to easily switch between Wubi and Pinyin. This not only makes it an easy transition from Pinyin, but typing in the Pinyin will also give you the Wubi code so you can try using Wubi the next time you want to type that character. As I’m still learning Wubi now, I’m using about half Pinyin and half Wubi. This hasn’t slowed me down since the free Wubi software that I’m using recognizes both methods so there’s no need to even hit shortcut keys to switch.

 

So then how do we start to break away from Pinyin, and when is it too early to start using Wubi?

 

There are quite a lot of resources online that can help teach you the Wubi method, however, I haven’t been able to find a good comprehensive guide that makes it simple to learn Wubi. That’s why I want to create a simple teaching system that will include the following:

 

  • Recommended free software to start using the Wubi method
  • Printable Wubi shortcut keyboard map that work with the recommended software
  • Get Started Guide with everything you need to know about using Wubi
  • Common problems and solutions when using Wubi
  • Tips and tricks for how to quickly memorize the keyboard map
  • Practice sets to get you started

 

Not only do I want to give you a complete guide with good resources, but I want to break the learning process down into simple steps which any Chinese learner can follow, even if you haven’t started learning to write Chinese.

 

We will create these Chinese teaching tools about Wubi for you if we think you will find them useful. Leave your email here if you think you would use these tools. If we get enough interest, we will create them!

 






Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Add Your Comment Here!

 

As always, happy studying!

 

-Nora

 

If you’re interested in learning Chinese, you can check out our WCC Dictionary! You can learn more about our Chinese Learning Toolkit here! You can also click on the links below to download it for your iOS and Android devices!

new_wcc_dictionary_152xiosbuttonandroidbutton
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

If you can’t access the Android market on your phone, you can just click here to download the WCC Dictionary APK file!

Facebook Comments

  • Flavescit Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

    I feel exactly the same about Pinyin! Definetely going to try Wubi~
    Thanks a ton for this article.

    • Nora Joy Wilson

      Glad you enjoyed it! If I made a guide to using Wubi, would you be interested?

  • Sean Anthony

    Please consider making the guide. I know I am quite interested in learning your knowledge on the subject of Wubi. I will not discontinue use of Pinyin, but I would love to reinforce my writing skills. Thanks for this quick overview, it is inspiration to look into Wubi on my own.

    • Nora Joy Wilson

      Thanks for your comment, Sean! I got some response, but not tons so I’ve put it as a lower-priority project for the time being and put my efforts more into getting the OCR (Chinese Character recognition!!) put into the WCC Dictionary mobile app. Still, I haven’t yet abandoned Mr. Wubi! 😛 I’ll keep you informed!

      • Sean Anthony

        Thanks for the reply! I will keep my eyes open. I plan on being active on WC for some time in the future. Thanks for what you do!

        • Nora Joy Wilson

          I appreciate the encouraging feedback! Have you tried adding your thoughts to the dictionary for how you remember Chinese characters? It’s a great way to get involved with building better resources for people learning Chinese! This is what I mean (look at the comments): http://dictionary.writtenchinese.com/worddetail/mai/14868/1/1 Happy Studying!

  • jack

    I want Wubi!

    • Nora Joy Wilson

      Thanks, Jack. But seems not so many people want to learn it. So sad! Still, I will try to make a guide.