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ocpaul20

colourful characters

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ocpaul20

I have been in China for 3.5 years now and I have found it very difficult to get down to learning chinese language, so anything that helps me remember characters and pinyin is a good thing.

I really dont know if this idea has been tried with chinese characters, but I do know that some people who teach autistic kids (kids who are mentally disabled in some areas) find that colour is very helpful. So I thought... Why not apply this to learning Chinese characters?

Applying this to chinese characters might be a good way to help some people remember the tones associated with different characters. For example, the character could be represented as white on a red background for the first tone, a yellow background with a black character for the second and so on....up to the 5th(none) tone. There will probably be some colours that are better to use than others too. There has been some research on this I am sure.

Some people remember colours or associate them with images more easily than plain black and white images, so I was thinking it might help in remembering the tones that go with different characters.

What do you all think? It might have been done already, I dont know what is out there.

Another point is that I feel flash cards or characters that go really big (30em size) or perhaps 8 inches tall x 6 inches wide would find their way into my head better.

Edited by ocpaul20

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roddy

I think the document reader module in Pleco 2.0 allows colour-coding of characters according to tones. Not sure exactly how it's done. Also if you have any kind of annotation software, tweaking it to output colour-coded characters would be fairly easy.

I can see this working for some people, and it might have the advantage of keeping you focused on the character, rather than flicking your eyes up to pinyin nearby, (or backwards up into your head as you try to remember the tone). Can't see widespread adoption, would make webpages look ugly and increase printing costs . . .

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skylee

Would there be a problem for characters with multiple tones/pronunciations?

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roddy

If it was in a chunk of text you'd want to give it the tone it actually takes. If in isolation . . . I guess have two characters, like you might do with pinyin (ie: 了 le, liǎo). Or you could have a checked pattern . . .

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Hofmann

It's a good idea. I'm thinking it could get one used to seeing a character with a color, and thinking of the color when one reads the character, and thinking of the corresponding tone.

It might also become a crutch.

May I ask why you use colored backgrounds instead of just using the color on the character? You could change the yellow to purple to make it more legible, like this:

午你麼?

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Luobot

ActiveChinese.com uses the following color scheme for the 4 tones + neutral.

1 - blue

2 - green

3 - red

4 - yellow

5 - black

They put a few promotional videos on Youtube, which you can take a look at to get an idea.

I think they're very good at the beginner level, btw.

In

, they explain the logic behind their color scheme (about 1 minute 50 seconds into it).

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imron

I think as soon as you get beyond a beginner stage, this will be more of a hindrance than a help, especially if you want to increase your reading speed. Looking at that page, I found I had a tendency to group characters of the same colour together, even if they aren't part of the same word.

For example based on the colour scheme my eyes naturally segment the text into:

"明" "天" "下" "午你" "干" "什" "么"

instead of "明天" "下午" "你" "干" "什么".

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Gleaves

I saw a book on Amazon (Chinese Through Tone and Color) that did something like this for a short list of characters.

Seems like an interesting way to approach isolated characters studying, vocabulary, and maybe phrases. I think full sentences presented like this could be more distracting than worthwile.

As a point on style, I think you should stick with all white font on colored backgrounds or colored fonts on white. (As opposed to switching to black font on some colored backgrounds).

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ocpaul20

Ok, thats good that it is already done.

I used the whole background rather than just the character because I thought it would make the character stand out more, but it is probably down to preference. The colours, I just dreamt up 4 so there is no particular reason why I used these.

Thanks for the links and info, I will check it all out and maybe it will get me past a block.

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anon6969

I think it would be more useful to use color to naturally segment sentence.

for example

nouns: green

verbs: blue

etc...

Has this been done before?

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realmayo

anon6969: I believe too many characters can act as either verbs or nouns, so this would not be practical.

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roddy

Though if they were in sentences they'd be more likely to be acting only as nouns, verbs, etc, so you could just give them one colour. Haven't seen that done, and I'm not sure I see the value of it.

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