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I think the most helpful thing is learning to recognize the radicals and the common phoentics that appear across several characters. For instance, 青 /qing1/ is a phonetic that appears in many characters, so when you see it, you know that the character is most likely pronounced similar to /qing/.

For instance:

清 /qing1/ water radical 氵 (水) + 青 = clear

情 /qing2/ heart radical 忄(心) + 青 = love (as in 愛情), situation (as in 情況)

請 /qing3/ speech radical 言 + 青 = please, to invite

睛 /jing1/ eye radical 目 + 青 = eyeball

So, the next time you encounter a character you don't recognize, look at the radical for a hint regarding its meaning and think of other characters featuring the same phonetic for a hint regarding its pronunciation. The more characters you learn, the easier this becomes.

Not all characters are radical-phonetic compounds though, so this doesn't always work, but the vast majority of them are. Also, sometimes the radicals and phonetics don't appear where you may expect them to. For instance, in the character 問 (/wen4/ "to ask"), 口 ("mouth") is the radical and 門 (/men2/) is the phonetic, but in the character 闊 (/kuo4/ "wide"), 門 ("door") is the radical and 活 (/huo2/) is the phonetic. Again, the more you learn, the easier this will be to figure out.

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I agree with what the others have said, especially re: redicals and writing characters over and over again.

Also, I found it helpful to attach each character to a memorable idea...this will probably make other people laugh, but it works for me... For example, the character 'hei' , when I wanted to memorize it, I think of any concept that can help me remember it. With 'hei' I thought it looks like a little alien with the two dots looking like eyes and at the bottom it has four legs!! (I am not a mentalist, honestly). You could relate the idea to the actual etymology of the character, but I didn't find that effective personally so instead I made up crazy stories about each character that I found hard to memorize. I think it works because, for example, I always remember characters that are part of my friends' names, because they are 'attached' to the memory of my friends.

Another thing to remember is that using different colours in your learning can aid memorization. Also, It is better to study something for a few minutes, put it aside for one minute and then review it (repeating sveral times) than to study it for hours, then leave it for say, a week, before reviewing it (Ebbinghaus http://www.scism.sbu.ac.uk/inmandw/tutorials/memory/qu5.htm).

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Ive read somewhere that 80% of the chinese char are constructed with radicals. I mean meaning radicals and pronouncings etc. You might go to a bookshop/library and look for chinese radicals.

And another thing is some char are related with the orginal drawings.

I have somewhere some books about these things.. If you want I can find the ISBN number for you and the titles...

Most books are from Beijing University

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I'm a beginner in Chinese, but I went through the same thing with Japanese, so I think the principles are similar, if not identical. I will just add that in my own experience, learning the first hundred or so is the hardest. After that, you'll understand how the characters and radicals work, and it will be much easier to learn more then. Learn the characters, learn the radicals and their meanings, and try to learn the logic behind the construction of a given character through its parts. Write them over and over again, and learn vocabulary that include that character. Say them out loud. Try to write them from memory.

It's not hard; it just takes a long time . . .

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