"Spelling" Chinese characters without an alphabet

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From r/TikTokCringe via Reddit:


Reply to @gegethejing Chinese Fergie comin ATCHU 🎤🎵 #fyp #comedy #chinese #asian #growingupasian #lyric #fergie #singing ib: @ggnohadid

♬ original sound – ♡ Gege Jing ♡

In all of her manicness, what did she do?

In order, she called out and wrote in the air the strokes composing these two chararacters:



"charm; glamor; fascination; enchantment; spell; loveliness; witchery; witchcraft"

The problem is that she "writes" the characters incorrectly.  She has too many strokes, the wrong ones, and not in the right order.  They should be:

One of my expert calligrapher correspondents said, "Most people nowadays don't write characters according to 'correct stroke order'.  'Proper strokes in the right order' seems to be an elementary-school kid thing."

Another remarked, "I guess we don't need to dwell too much on the correctness of how she 'writes' the characters, as stroke order matters less than the rhythm and sound in this case."

Selected reading

[h.t. Bryan Van Norden; thanks to Diana Shuheng Zhang, Leqi Yu, and Xiuyuan Mi]


  1. Victor Mair said,

    December 31, 2020 @ 10:58 pm

    From Chunfeng Wang:

    I think she writes the character in a wrong way, both in terms of the order and the number of strokes. When I was in elementary school, my teacher was very strict with strokes. Pupils were all required to practice their handwriting in the right order of strokes, or they would be punished in some way. But after I entered middle school, teachers no longer emphasized that aspect, so I guess many students might forget the right way to write. But this is just the case of my generation. I don't know much about how children nowadays learn to write.

  2. Daniel said,

    January 4, 2021 @ 4:40 pm

    The only difference is that she writes the ghost radical on the left 鬼 with the head and legs written separately, rather than combining the middle stroke of the head with the left leg. This turns out to be a difference between Simplified and Traditional. Therefore, she is perfectly correct by Taiwanese standards. I wonder if the young lady is of Taiwan.

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