What's the best way to learn the characters
Can I have some tips on learning the characters please. I'm starting slowly to learn some and use pre-printed flashcards. I find that I can memorise them pretty well, except that if someone asked me to write them, especially the more complicated ones, I don't think I could. What do other poddies do when learning the characters? Do you write them out?
Ken recently said that in all his time living in China he has never really had to write characters so I'm wondering if I should skip that part and just familiarise myself with being able to read them.
bodaweiSeptember 16, 2009, 01:32 PM
If you go to xiaophil's post of 10 August 2009 you will find a thread with useful advice on learning characters. [I would like someone to show me how to link threads!]
If you never get to write characters you miss one of the great joys in this life!
pretzellogicOctober 20, 2009, 02:19 AM
thanks. I do get it about breaking down the concept. I was saying that urgent, think about, hope, other, and other intangible concepts were less memorable than tree, cup, desk and tangible objects. I know that part of what makes memory/mnemonics work is that one object has to touch another in your mental picture, but it appears that you and simonpettersson use the words to do the linking and the touching.
jckeithSeptember 17, 2009, 12:54 AM
As for memorizing the characters, I'm using the book "Remembering Simplified Hanzi" by James Heisig. Rather than rote memorization, the book associates vivid short (2-3 sentences) stories with each character. I highly recommend it, especially if you're someone who can't stand rote memorization (like me).
To link to a thread (or any page), just highlight the text in your message that you want to make into a link, and click the icon that looks like a chain-link at the top of the comment form. Then enter the URL of the post in the popup, click "Insert", and voila!
Here is the previous thread.
chenhuaOctober 12, 2009, 07:18 AM
actually,i am chinese, and i have the same question with you, when i learn English.To some degree,English word is much simpler than chinese character.If you really want to learn how to write,you must konw the structure of every character.You know,each character is composed by dot,across,erect ,and all of these have their own sequence,so you need understand it before you write.
I am sorry,I wonder if you can konw me,because my written English is poor,however, i hope these words could help you.:)
jckeithSeptember 17, 2009, 12:44 AM
I feel that study time is better spent on listening, speaking, and reading. I don't particularly enjoy writing Hanzi, so I don't spend much time on it. I typically just use my finger and write them on my hand real quick when reviewing.
simonpetterssonOctober 19, 2009, 10:36 AM
When I learned it, I learned it as "would like". I think my mnemonic was something like "I see the tree and then I would like to have it", with the heart as a "also, it has to do with feelings" thing added on. Mnemonics aren't always logical or complete, but they can still work pretty well. In fact, illogical mnemonics may be easier to memorize.
Of course, later I realized that the "相" in "想" is a phonetic radical, which made more sense.
xiaophilOctober 19, 2009, 04:23 PM
bodawei, haha, I thought this was mine for a moment.
Actually, I have been using a slightly low-tech method (relatively speaking). I go to here. (This link has flash animation that shows the strokes of Chinese characters.) I cover the animation with my hand. I look at the definition and think to myself, "Do I know how to write this?" Then I uncover the flash and see if I was right. If I was right, I move on. If I was wrong or had no idea, I practice the character several times until I feel comfortable writing the character.
ousijiaOctober 20, 2009, 02:14 AM
Ha!Well for xiang3 (this is rather far fetched - but it works for me!) Is similar to Simonpettersson's idea.
I break the character down into 'xiang4 - appearance/picture and 'mu4' - tree
In order to imagine a picture of a tree you have to 'think'. The xin1 at the bottom reminds me of deep feelings. So I have to think hard if I want to imagine the appearance of a tree in my mind.
Ok this was a complicated explanation..and probably doens't make sense to anybody else..but that's how I remember the character xiang3... :S
ousijiaOctober 19, 2009, 03:52 AM
I find the easiest way to learn characters is by writing them over and over again. Although it's incredible tedious...it does eventually stick in my memory!
Also, it helps me if I know the composition of the character for example the character - 'nan2' (male)
It's made up of 'tian'- (field) and 'li' (strength). So when I think of the the word 'nan' I imagine strong men working in a field! It sounds a little ridiculous written down here..but it helps me remember characters!