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xuechengfeng

How many characters a day did you learn as a child

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xuechengfeng

and do you think that number could be applied to an adult (if you consider 20 an adult), and if not, what is a more reasonable number in your opinion?

and how did the native learners go about learning the characters, as in, what teaching methods did you encounter?

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First semester in elementary school was all simple character study -- 一二三四...上下左右.... 金木水火...人心口耳 etc. Towards the end of the second semester, we were given simple poems and short stories to study, such as 小猫钓鱼,孔容让梨 etc. As time went on, we were given more and more difficult pieces and excerpts from literatures. Each piece/excerpt was treated as one lesson.

The textbooks would list new characters at the end of each lesson. In the beginning (1st grade), the teacher would go through each lesson line by line, and tell us what each line/character meant. Then he/she would assign the characters we studied that day for us to copy ten times, usually no more than 5 characters a day. One lesson would take many days, so it was a very slow paced process. We would get character quizzes frequently where the teacher would pick the characters we just studied and read out each one in class, and we would write it out and put a meaning next to it. After we went through a whole lesson, we would read it out loud in class repeatedly. Four or five lessons would be grouped into a unit, and we would have a unit exam in the end to make sure we learned everything that was taught.

Dictionary skills were taught in the 2nd grade. Each lesson would list new words at the end instead of new characters, and we would be given dictionary look up assignments and quizzes. As time went on, we would focus more and more on the styles, grammar and other literary elements of new lessons. Composition and essay assignments were given in the 3rd grade. By that time usually we would be able to pick up new vocabulary and characters in class or on our own as we went through each lesson or from outside the classroom. So, character copying pretty much stopped by the time we reached 4th grade.

At that point, new characters would tend to stick once we find out their meanings, no repetitive tasks were necessary.

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xuechengfeng

Interesting, thanks. I have studied speaking, listening, reading, and writing for a year now. We first studied meanings, then got into learning the characters. This quarter I only had time to schedule the reading and writing course. Do you think since I have a year under my belt I will still be able to progress my speaking and listening and overall ability by just learning to read a lot more characters, and go over the dialogue (in Chinese) in class? As in, do you think by simulataneously learning the new meanings and new character together, I will be able to remember them? Or is studying the meaning and drilling that, then studying characters better?

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