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sthubbar

Native Chinese speakers, how many characters do you know?

Native Chinese speakers: How many characters do you know?  

2 members have voted

  1. 1. Native Chinese speakers: How many characters do you know?

    • 6000+ I am very well educated. :)
      0
    • 5000-6000 I am well educated.
      0
    • 4000-5000 I was taught this many in school and haven't learned many more.
      0
    • Less than 4000. The statistics say I only need 3500 so I stopped learning after that.
      1
    • I am not native Chinese, and just want to see the results when I view this thread.
      18


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JimmySeal
If Jimmy claims, as he did, that he can learn 30 new characters a day, everyday, which amounts to over 10,000 characters per year, then I think that's either a flat lie or a delusion. Anyway, I see that tune has changed from 30 to 10. Maybe it will be 5 by this evening?

Again, at what point did I say that I would learn 30 a day forever? I said I was learning 30 a day, and when I said that, I was. Obviously I had a stopping point in mind. If I continued until I knew 10,000, I would be far, far past the point of usefulness.

The fact is, I learned 30 new characters a day [usually more than 30, actually about 45-50, and on one day, 110] every day for a month, while reviewing 400 characters that I learned the previous month. In an SRS system, when adding items at a constant rate for a period of time, the review load increases over time and that's what happened. I was reviewing about 250 characters a day, and there were a few that just weren't sticking (mostly characters with 皮, 分, and 白 phonetic components), so I have eased down to 10 a day and I am now learning the characters that were giving me trouble. This will also ensure that my reviews don't pile up too high when I go away on vacation for 11 days at the end of this month.

Once the dust settles and my daily review load isn't piled up to the sky, I may go back to learning 30 a day for a while, so I have not changed my tune, but all along, this was intended to be an initial burst before my trip so I may continue to learn at a more leisurely pace when I return from Taiwan because at that point there will no longer be a big hurry to learn.

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magores

Shouldn't the question in the poll be "How many WORDS do you know?"

FWIW... I'm native English speaker, and I know at least 26 English letters. Maybe even more! :)

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JimmySeal

I see your point and that the last part was just cheeky :wink: , but as you obviously know, 漢字 have meaning wrapped up with them and represent actual morphemes, while phonetic characters do not, and the fact that there are thousands of them makes "how many do you know?" a relevant question, as it is directly tied to literacy.

There are fluent Chinese speakers with full vocabularies who can't read more than a few characters, so sthubbar's question is trying to get at something else.

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gato
I see your point and that the last part was just cheeky , but as you obviously know, 漢字 have meaning wrapped up with them and represent actual morphemes

Actually, the meaning of characters depends on the words they are in, which is why dictionaries typically give many definitions for a single character.

The equivalent question for English would be something like "How many Greek/Latin roots do you know?" (tele- means far; logo means idea, etc).

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JimmySeal
Actually, the meaning of characters depends on the words they are in, which is why dictionaries typically give many definitions for a single character.

The equivalent question for English would be something like "How many Greek/Latin roots do you know?" (tele- means far; logo means idea, etc).

Nonetheless, each character expresses a (small number) of meanings that are usually related to each other, which alphabetic letters do not.

And the Greek/Latin root anaology still isn't too good because (1) many English words (and most essential ones) aren't made up of Greek and Latin roots, while all Chinese words are made up of 漢字 and (2) 漢字 are much more quantifiable than Greek/Latin roots. Chinese children specifically learn hundreds of 漢字 every year, while many English-speaking students may not know what a word root is until they reach mid-high school.

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