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Incorrect Chinese Alphabet

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‘Extremely not correct’: Chinese alphabet printout purportedly given to third graders goes viral

  • A viral tweet posted by a parent in Irvine, California, shared an alleged printout their third-grade child brought home from school showing a false “Chinese alphabet.”

  • The sheet matched Chinese Hanzi characters with Roman letters, seemingly vaguely correlated by the shape of the characters and letters.

  • “I had to gently explain to him that this was, uh…extremely Not Correct,” the tweet author wrote

A tweet shared by an Irvine, California, parent shows an alleged printout their third grader brought home that incorrectly matched Roman letters to Hanzi characters labeled as the “Chinese alphabet.” 

Twitter user Foz Meadows posted the tweet on Tuesday, also Lunar New Year. A photo of the handout was attached. 

The sheet inaccurately matches Hanzi with letters from the Roman alphabet. The character for “three,” as an example, was matched with “E,” ostensibly because of the vague resemblance between the two symbols, while the character for “person” was matched with “V,” because the two share the same basic shape, albeit oriented in opposite directions. 

Hanzi characters and their adaptations are notably used in written Chinese and Japanese, among other languages. The system of writing is logographic, meaning that characters represent specific meanings, not just sounds, as in an alphabetic writing system.  

My 3rd grader came home with this today from school, excited to show me how he’d written his name in Chinese. I had to gently explain to him that this is, uh… extremely Not Correct,” the tweet reads. The post has accumulated 67,000 likes and more than 6,000 shares at the time of this writing. 

The original poster explained their son had a genuine interest in learning about written Chinese. 

“I explained as best I could about how characters/hanzi actually work, and my son was interested; he especially wanted to know about names & how he’d actually write his own in Mandarin, so if anyone knows how you’d transliterate Silas & what the characters would mean, please hmu!” 

Some responses helped Silas with his quest.

Other responses ranged from outright confusion to sarcasm. 

Feature Image via

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