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Does anyone have experience with this? Just came across it on the web (for instance here, but plenty of other places too), and was thinking of tackling it.

It claims to use 4000 of the most frequently used characters, in rhyming lines, divided into sets of four characters, much like the 千字经 but hopefully more modern.

Would be interested to hear if anyone has found it useful or otherwise.

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I bought the original text several years ago when it first came out as a book (~20 yuan) and memorized the first 1,000 characters at one point. I can still remember the first four-eight lines and probably more if I really try.... I bought it with the idea of writing parallel texts in different calligraphic styles (cursive, etc), did that for a few months, then moved on to something else.

I wonder if the original author ever made any money out of it, or from the affiliated schools. It must have taken quite a lot of work to write it, and I don't think it was ever much of a publishing success, at least I never saw it on the mainstream publishing circuit (Xinhua etc).

Now that I have a four-year-old it may be a good time to look for my copy again....

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Not implying that they're the most common characters, but increasing the number of characters from 1000 to 4000 only gets you 9% more literacy (disregarding words and other definitions), and that's if anyone cares to go through all 4000. I'd argue that going over 500 characters in detail is more useful than 背ing 1000 or 4000 characters.

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