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sangajtam

How native Chinese person learn new character?

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sangajtam

When native Chinese person sees new, unknown character - how one learns it? :

-knows pronunciation and meaning basing on/from radicals

or

-has to check pronunciation and meaning and memorize it to use later?

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Demonic_Duck

This would seem reasonable:

 

1) Guess meaning and pronunciation, using radical and phonetic components as cues. In some contexts this would be enough - think about when you read a news article in your native language and see a word you're not familiar with and perhaps aren't even certain on the pronunciation, but you can guess its meaning from context and still understand the bulk of the article.

2) If this isn't enough (e.g. it's for serious study, or the character/word it's used in is vital to understanding of the article), check it in a dictionary.

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lechuan

I would guess they would look it up in a dictionary. If they encounter the character often enough and keep looking it up they'll eventually remember it. That's how I acquire new English vocabulary. I don't try to memorize or test myself on new English words.

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sangajtam

Ok, but we are guessing here. Maybe is there any native Chinese person to reply?

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Demonic_Duck

OK, but here's how I see it:

 

You offered two options. The first is impossible (the best you can hope for in that situation is an educated guess, which I don't think amounts to "knowing"). Therefore, if we accept your dichotomy, it must be the second. Personally, I don't accept the dichotomy, as there's a third option: that in a large proportion of cases, an educated guess is good enough (it would be in any other language, and I don't think Chinese is particularly perverse in this respect, so this seems fair enough).

 

At any rate, I'm not sure this forum is the best place to get feedback from native speakers (there are a few who post here, but the majority of posters are learning Chinese as a foreign language).

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coolnicholas

I am native speaker, if i see unknown character on line, i will directly copy it and check it in baidu or google,  if it's on paper or something else, i will ask some people else for pronunciation( or guess by myself, try to type pinyin on cellphone and find the character), than also check on line, haha, i have no paper dictionary , of course, it's just my solution, but i think it's also for most chinese young people.thanks.

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li3wei1

There are probably many cases where a native speaker knows the word verbally, i.e. knows the pronunciation but not the character. They've heard it in many contexts, perhaps asked what it meant, they may even use it in conversation. Now they see it for the first time written down, and the combination of the context and the semantic and phonetic components will tell them that this is the written form of the word they know as "whatever". This happens in English. There are plenty of native speakers who wouldn't be able to spell 'diarrhoea' if asked, but they use the word in conversation, and if they see it in context, they'll figure out that's the word.

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