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billybills

List of components and radicals online?

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billybills

Hey everybody I´m new to the study of chinese. I´ve read quite a bit about the Heisig method and I´m a big fan of the AJATT method; it seems to me to be the best way to go. So as a total newbie I´ve decided to learn a couple thousand of the most frequent characters and go from there with regards to pronunciation ect. Ive found a lot of helpful radical lists on this site and also great links to websites with freeware programs (wakan, zdt). I´m definitely going to start with memorizing the 214 basic radicals but I am also aware that there are common components in characters which aren´t radicals but occur frequently enough to deserve individual attention. Does anyone know of any list that has these common components of hanzi that aren´t radicals. I´ve search this site pretty good and could´nt find any threads on such a list . (There could of course be threads I didnt find). Anyways thank in advance.

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here2learn

#1 - Welcome to the wonderful world of chinese. :D

#2 - Sorry, I don't have the list you're looking for. :(

#3 - But I want to say some other things. :)

You said, "So as a total newbie I´ve decided to learn a couple thousand of the most frequent characters and go from there with regards to pronunciation ect."

Hmm. Maybe it's just the wording of your sentence... but I'm worried you might mean that you'll learn a couple thousand characters first THEN work on their pronunciation. Please don't mean that. It will take you a LONG time to learn a couple thousand characters, and if you don't have their pronunciation correct you have not actually learned them. Learning them means learning their pronunciation. Furthermore, I would HIGHLY suggest getting pronunciation right from the beginning and not having to correct it later. Especially tones. Say them right from the first time you say them, and never let them slide. They are part of the word, not something to be added later.

It sounds like you're a memorizer, as far as leaning goes. I'm am NOT a memorizer, but from my experience teaching, even the students who are good at memorizing learn better when they are actually using the words and can make some connections in their brains. So I guess my point (and my little advice) is that I hope you don't wait until you've memorized things to "really start learning". I hope you are starting to make sentences and use the language even though you don't yet have this list of elusive non-radical components.... don't get me wrong, i LOVE knowing the radicals, I have an awesome book of them, with a full page dedicated to each one, with cute drawings and the cave-wall drawing of it and how it evolved... I LOVE that and it TOTALLY helps me be able to deal with characters very easily and in a fun way.

But you did say you're a "total newbie", though you've done all this research on methods of learning, and you know about radicals and non-radical components.... not sure how far along you are, but if you can't say anything yet, barely a sentence (total newbie?), don't get too caught up in "preparing to learn" and put off the actual learning. It's very easy to do that in chinese because it seems like there are so many different parts to it and it's tempting to want to organize them and plan the best way to approach them.

Make sentences, and you'll learn the characters and their radicals, etc, as you go along, all together. :)

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self-taught-mba
don't get too caught up in "preparing to learn" and put off the actual learning. It's very easy to do that in chinese because it seems like there are so many different parts to it and it's tempting to want to organize them and plan the best way to approach them.

Guilty of that here.

I've always spent 90% of the time analyzing something and evaluating different tools and only 10% or less of the time actually using them.

I agree with what h2l says. You definitely should learn the pronunciation at the same time. Alternatively, you could choose to skip characters altogether and only work on your speaking. (This of course is a little bit controversial on the board) it really depends on your goals.

What you really need is this: Chinese Characters: A Genealogy and Dictionary by Rick Harbaugh. Online here http://www.zhongwen.com/

Secondly, you should take a look at this useful program an entomology Explorer

Which includes more than just the radicals.

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here2learn

Ha, "h2l", I like it. It's like... water... but not. Now what can I abbreviate you as? STM? Not very pretty, but anyway...

Yes, I'm guilty of it too, that's how I know about it:oops: But now that I actually live in China I can see that I wasted a lot of time. I now have to accept the fact that I will know some words verbally but not know their hanzi, and I can read some hanzi at a higher level then I can speak it (which, btw, is still child-level)... it's NOT orderly at all when you're immersed and/or learning naturally somehow. In fact, the greater variety of input, the better.

If someone wants to study hanzi before speaking, I'd AT LEAST suggest that for every new hanzi you learn, you make a new sentence. At least use them somehow, and speak them out loud, even just to yourself at home. Otherwise you'll be like my chinese students (learning english) and your brain will contain a big dictionary but you won't know how to even look things up in it and when it comes time to speak you'll be silent and tongue-tied. They book-learn for 10yrs but still can't hold a conversation.

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self-taught-mba
Otherwise you'll be like my chinese students (learning english) and your brain will contain a big dictionary but you won't know how to even look things up in it and when it comes time to speak you'll be silent and tongue-tied. They book-learn for 10yrs but still can't hold a conversation.

So true! See my rant from 2 years ago.

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billybills

[Here2learn:Hmm. Maybe it's just the wording of your sentence... but I'm worried you might mean that you'll learn a couple thousand characters first THEN work on their pronunciation. Please don't mean that. It will take you a LONG time to learn a couple thousand characters, and if you don't have their pronunciation correct you have not actually learned them. Learning them means learning their pronunciation.]

To answer your questions Here2learn:Yes I am a total newbie and cant speak a word. Yes it is my plan to learn a couple thousand hanzi or so and then learn the pronuciation. Hopefully i´ll have a firm enough basis to then read things with those hanzi, learn those sentences and the meaning of those sentences complete with pronuciation, pinyin ect.

It is all a part of the Heisig method I´m not sure if you are familiar with it or not. The idea is to learn the Hanzi then learn the pronuciation later since learning pronuciation meaning, and what character looks like is too difficult. His idea is to give certain components arbitrary meanings and to make a story involving those components every time they appear in a certain character. Here is a link to the pdf if u dont already know about him:

http://www.nanzan-u.ac.jp/SHUBUNKEN/publications/miscPublications/pdf/RK4/RK4-00.pdf

U can review the method yourself. Anyway there are threads already about whether Heisig sucks or not on these board so I dont want this thread to turn into that. Thanks for the advice though about "strategic dalliance". Its always good to be reminded of that:wink:

Here2learn, I am interested to know how you learned the hanzi while learning sentences with character, pronuciation/tone, and meaning all together. Did you just plow into texts with a dictionary?

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Zhuru

I just want to clear this up for myself (and maybe for billy too):

I always thought kanji were different from hanzi. There are a lot of similar characters, but some differ in meaning or writing. Am I mistaken?

@here2learn

I have an awesome book of them, with a full page dedicated to each one, with cute drawings and the cave-wall drawing of it and how it evolved...

Would you mind sharing the title of that book? You made me very curious about this book.

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darcey
[Here2learn:Hmm. Maybe it's just the wording of your sentence... but I'm worried you might mean that you'll learn a couple thousand characters first THEN work on their pronunciation. Please don't mean that. It will take you a LONG time to learn a couple thousand characters, and if you don't have their pronunciation correct you have not actually learned them. Learning them means learning their pronunciation.]

To answer your questions Here2learn:Yes I am a total newbie and cant speak a word. Yes it is my plan to learn a couple thousand hanzi or so and then learn the pronuciation. Hopefully i´ll have a firm enough basis to then read things with those hanzi, learn those sentences and the meaning of those sentences complete with pronuciation, pinyin ect.

I really have to second the suggestion to learn the pronunciation/tone/meaning at the same time as you do the character. Being able to do this will, I feel, make it a much more successful learning experience. I read through the .pdf link, and while some of the mnemonics are interesting and helpful, remember that if you only learn the character and not how to say it, you are only learning part of the word. Recognizing 2 or 3 thousand characters and their English counterparts still means you are missing how to say the word, or what it would look like in pinyin. I'm still in the "baby talk" stage of my studies, but I am also an incredibly verbal person, and so I have the need to be able to speak rather than to write it all... This learning style is almost antithetical to the way I learn! :wink:

Regardless, in your journey to try this method, this website may come in handy for you:

http://www.zein.se/patrick/3000char.html . It's a website with 3,000 of the most common characters, and includes the pinyin and English translations.

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here2learn

Ok, I read the first part of that pdf through the first few pages of kanji. I feel a variety of ways about it. I think it's interesting to approach it like that, just learning the meanings in your mind first... but I don't see how that method is any better than any other, and I still don't understand WHY he says the different aspects of the language should be separated. I just feel like it's an odd way to spend the first few months of learning (or whatever the time frame is). Also, he isn't saying you need to be able to WRITE them from memory, so that's different from what I thought. It would be impossible to learn that many hanzi in that short a time if you were COMPLETELY learning them. But with his method you're not completely learning them, it's really just an introduction to them.

And making the images or stories for them is nothing new, they ARE images with stories behind them, that's how many of us learn/remember them no matter what method we're following.

All in all, I would never discourage anyone from trying any learning method, and I hope you keep us updated on how it goes. :)

I have heard that some kanji are different from hanzi. There was a japanese kid in my chinese class and we were laughing at how different characters were chosen to represent "toilet paper" - if I remember correctly. You wouldn't want to ask for the wrong one, heehee. From what I saw of the first 2 chapters they all seem the same, but as they get more complex I think you should check them against the chinese meanings just to be sure, or have a chinese person look them over and point out anything that may cause problems, if any.

You asked,

Here2learn, I am interested to know how you learned the hanzi while learning sentences with character, pronuciation/tone, and meaning all together. Did you just plow into texts with a dictionary?

I started learning chinese in a college language class, Chinese 101. Before that, I'd tried learning at home, but it was SLOW going and I never got past the 3-4 unit in any of many systems I tried. So I figured taking a class would at least keep me in one system and push me to continue, not stop at a plateau. I was right! So I went into the class knowing there were tones, and able to read pinyin pretty well, though not perfectly, and being able to recognize a small handful of hanzi.

We used:

Practical Chinese Reader, Elementary Course: Book 1, and 2 workbooks to go along with it (an exercise book and a writing book), and the school had a system where we could bring in blank cassette tapes and they'd copy the audio for us. In a 1 semester class, from Sept-Dec, we got through the first 14 chapters, a bit less than half the book. I ended up knowing about 100 hanzi, able to write from memory, not just recognize. We didn't concentrate on hanzi because most of the students said they mostly needed oral, so she just suggested that if we DID want to learn hanzi (which she did teach, just not focused on it) we should make sure to keep up in the writing book and do our homeworks and tests in hanzi (she only required pinyin, so hanzi was optional). And she suggested that every time we learn to say a new word, we also learn the hanzi, at least write it a few times so we can maybe recognize it in the future.

I was so happy when I got to Chapter 5-6!!! Remember, I REALLY had stopped at 4, max, in every other book.... but she had us KEEP GOING even if we weren't perfect (that's an obstacle for me personally), so it was good for me.

That class was a VERY good foundation. It was well-rounded enough for me to continue on my own, though I haven't done a good job of that, but it's my own fault.

THE PHOTO....

(apologies to the mods/site if I'm doing something wrong by posting a page in a book, it's just in the spirit of sharing learning methods, no harm intended):)

To the left middle you see 3 short sentences. Each chapter begins with a dialogue (they get much longer of course!), then has a list of new words. Then there will be any notes on usage or grammar (top of next page). After that, each chapter varies. The beginning chapters have pronuciation/tone practice. Later chapters have more grammar.

Next will be some exercises completing sentences, etc. Scattered throughout the book are some interesting facts about China or the language.

The book doesn't teach the radicals and what they specifically mean, I made that my own supplementary task because it fascinated me.

1677_thumb.attach

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here2learn

from Zhuru:

Would you mind sharing the title of that book? You made me very curious about this book.

Well, I don't want to get off topic in this OP's thread, though I think he might be interested too, it's along the same lines.... but to show it to everyone I made a new thread of it in the Resources section:

http://www.chinese-forums.com/showthread.php?p=140457#post140457

If you hurry you may win the contest! (haha) I want to put up a screen shot of a sample page, but I couldn't decide which radical to choose, so the first person who asks will get the one they want. :D

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leosmith
Does anyone know of any list that has these common components of hanzi that aren´t radicals.

First, congratulations on beginning your studies. Many people have tried to learn characters in advance. Some have failed, some have succeeded. Unlike Japanese, in Mandarin I don't know of anyone who neglected the rest of the language completely while learning the characters. But I don't think it's impossible. Depending on your situation, perhapse it's the best choice, and I wish you the best of luck.

With regard to this isolated character study, the main difference between Japanese and Mandarin learners is that most Mandarin learners try to include tone and pronunciation. With Japanese, this is somewhat futile, due to multiple character readings.

According to furyou_gaijin, the most successful learner of Chinese characters I know, Cracking the Chinese Puzzle is a better approach to Mandarin than Heisig. He learned kanji with Heisig, incidently. I believe he learned 6000 characters in a few months, including readings and tones.

As for your question, I don't have such a list, and I don't know where to get it. But you should try asking here and here. If you find such a list, please post it, or a link, on this thread.

Good luck!

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renzhe
I always thought kanji were different from hanzi. There are a lot of similar characters, but some differ in meaning or writing. Am I mistaken?

They are the same thing.

Even in Chinese, you have traditional forms of characters (used in Taiwan and Hong Kong) and simplified forms (used in the mainland). Since Japan made their own simplifications independently from the Chinese government, the Japanese forms of these same characters (called kanji in Japanese) tend to fall somewhere inbetween.

But they are still more or less the same thing. There are a few differences in meaning or the odd stroke due to some language drift over the years, but those are the exceptions, not the rule.

Perhaps someone who is intimately familiar with both can explain it better, this comes from having talked to two Japanologist friends of mine, one of them translates Japanese for a living and the other one works as a tourist guide in Japan.

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realmayo

This may be a useful book for you: Fundamentals of Chinese Characters:

http://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals-Chinese-Characters-John-Jing-hua/dp/0300109458

- introduces characters and their meaning before their pronunciation.

- focuses on common radicals from the start

As for a list of non-radical components, how urgently do you need this? Consider learning, if that's what you want to do, the radicals and some proper characters; after a while you'll work out for yourself what the common components are, because you'll know they aren't radicals but will see them a lot.

leosmith: that TK Ann book Cracking the Chinese Puzzle is a great book but for someone starting out I'd hold off it for a while.

if you've got the funds consider buying the Wenlin computer dictionary, enter any character and it'll tell you what its components are, along with suggested etymological reasons why they are there. you can go on to click on a component to get a list of all characters which share that component, giving you a good indication about whether it's common enough to learn as a component, as well as providing a word list.

otherwise, the zhongwen.com website is definitely worth using.

anyway, I may have a preliminary list of common components, I'll see if I can dig it up.

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leosmith
This may be a useful book for you: Fundamentals of Chinese Characters:

http://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals-C.../dp/0300109458

- introduces characters and their meaning before their pronunciation.

- focuses on common radicals from the start

I'd like to point out (according to the reviewer) that this covers only 229 characters.

leosmith: that TK Ann book Cracking the Chinese Puzzle is a great book but for someone starting out I'd hold off it for a while.

You're probably right. furyou had already finished Heisig's RTK1, and had a pretty good handle on the spoken language from Chinesepod, etc. Also, there are 5 books in all. But if the goal is near-mastery of all the traditional and simplified characters one will ever need, these may be the best books. I'm seriously considering it.

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tooironic

Can I just point out that memorising whatever number of individual characters wont actually teach you any words whatsoever? Because the majority of Chinese ``words`` if you can call them that are made up of more than one character aka they are character compounds?

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leosmith
Can I just point out that memorising whatever number of individual characters wont actually teach you any words whatsoever? Because the majority of Chinese ``words`` if you can call them that are made up of more than one character aka they are character compounds?

Your second sentence contradicts your first a little, however because the point has been made so often (but rarely so diplomatically - thanks:D) I think I know what you're getting at. After learning individual characters, there will still be lots of work before you can read fluently. I don't think anyone will dispute that.

But here's why we do it. Learning the characters up front will make all that other learning much easier, meaning faster. So we believe it will mean becoming fluent readers faster. It's a long shortcut (to quote Heisig).

Learning isolated characters is not for everyone, but my personal belief is that it's the best course for the average learner. I can't prove it, so maybe I'm wrong.

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dporter1465

The Clavis Sinica software provides analyses of characters into radical and phonetic parts, and allows you to generate lists of all characters that use a particular part. That way, when you learn a new radical or phonetic, you can immediately view a list of all the characters that it forms, along with pinyin and brief English definition. For many components, just glancing over this list allows you to grasp the semantic (for a radical part) or phonetic (for a phonetic part) function of the component.

For more details, have a look at http://clavisinica.com/characters.html.

--David

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tooironic
Your second sentence contradicts your first a little, however because the point has been made so often (but rarely so diplomatically - thanks) I think I know what you're getting at. After learning individual characters, there will still be lots of work before you can read fluently. I don't think anyone will dispute that.

But here's why we do it. Learning the characters up front will make all that other learning much easier, meaning faster. So we believe it will mean becoming fluent readers faster. It's a long shortcut (to quote Heisig).

Learning isolated characters is not for everyone, but my personal belief is that it's the best course for the average learner. I can't prove it, so maybe I'm wrong.

Well, sure, learning the individual characters might help in terms of overall comprehension. To me, that goes without saying - you should learn the basic meaning of the singular characters, inconjunction with the compound. However just understanding a loose selection of isolated characters will not ensure an improvement in your reading level - not all characters go together as logically as we might like. For example, 愛love and 國country go together to make patriotism/patriotic (愛國) quite nicely. But a word like 矛盾contradiction is made up of the words 矛spear and and 盾shield - one who is not acquainted with the chengyu 自相矛盾 would be unable to make this connection, and would thus be confused.

In my opinion, you're better off learning words that are relevant to contemporary situations and discourses, ie, the ones which are used most frequently. This is not possible through isolated character learning, nor is it through the route learning of compounds either. All new words, both in their singular and dual character-constructions, need to analysed individually and extensively so one can really comprehend every dimension of their meaning, everything from their context, frequency of use, tone and register, formality, etc, etc. I couldn't imagnine such an undertaking possible under your learning regime, no?

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renzhe

I think the answer to that question will be individual.

I find it much easier to learn compounds if I already know the meaning of the characters it is made of. So I always learn characters "ahead", getting ready for the words that will come later. I use the HSK character and word lists for this, and it works well. Once you know the individual characters, learning thousands of compounds is easy, even if it requires some clever mnemonics or understanding the background (like 矛盾)

But I like to have things organised and I'm happy with memorising lots of stuff and letting my brain sort them out -- thanks to my engineering background probably. Other people might prefer a different learning style.

Of course, learning compounds is the most important thing -- but memorising characters on their own first makes this task much easier for some people.

In my opinion, you're better off learning words that are relevant to contemporary situations and discourses, ie, the ones which are used most frequently. This is not possible through isolated character learning, nor is it through the route learning of compounds either. All new words, both in their singular and dual character-constructions, need to analysed individually and extensively so one can really comprehend every dimension of their meaning, everything from their context, frequency of use, tone and register, formality, etc, etc. I couldn't imagnine such an undertaking possible under your learning regime, no?

I disagree with this. First of all, there are widely known frequency lists for modern Chinese which are freely available on the web, including the HSK vocabulary lists, so you can definitely learn the most important and relevant words first.

You're completely right in principle -- only exposure to a word in different context will help you grasp fully the meaning, which often doesn't perfectly coincide with a translation in a different language.

But I think that it's far better to have a general idea of the meaning of many words first, which will enable you to roughly understand many texts/conversations and to talk about many topics, and then letting the contextual information finish the picture over the following months and years -- which is a natural process.

It seems like you're suggesting learning each compound (and its characters) perfectly, within a range of contexts, one after the other, and I feel that it's far better to arrive at a conversational level as soon as possible, because you will be exposed to far more context and far better examples in far greater volume than any textbook or organised study method with carefully prepared examples.

But maybe I misunderstood your point.

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