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Jōyō kanji (常用漢字) good starting point for illiterate native speaker?


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I'm an American national, but my first language was actually Putonghua with a Wuhan accent.

I would say my ability to speak and listen is pretty good. I can understand about 80-85% of Chinese movies.

Do you think that the 1945 jōyō kanji (常用漢字) are a good starting point for gaining literacy?

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The jōyō kanji list is for Japanese. Buying a book about it would not teach you about the pronunciation, meaning, or common compounds used in Chinese (although the latter two are sometimes common to both languages); a lot of the characters would not be correct to use in either simplified or traditional Chinese (some kanji are simplified, some are traditional, some are simplified differently from Chinese, and some were created specifically for Japanese); and a lot of important Chinese characters are not in the list, such as 們 (plural suffix), 你 (you), 她 (she), 廳 (room), and 聽 (to hear).

The equivalent list for Chinese is the Xiandai Hanyu changyong zibiao. You can get the list online here, ordered by stroke count; and here, ordered by frequency. If you go to http://www.zhongwen.com/ and click on "Vocab" then "Frequency of Chinese characters", you can get a similar list with pronunciations, definitions, and common compounds.

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