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Learning Characters - Methods

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I am wondering what people who have gained experence see as the best methods fro acquisition of character vocabulary. I have been frustrated by the prospect of wanting to get into a book and start reading, yet the task of looking up the characters and finding the pronunciation, and meaning is difficult.

I wonder if people like to start out with basic reader books, or if anyone has any methods to help gain skills in looking up characters? I have found some links to software that will pronounce the characters, as you read, and "makes dictionaries unnecessary". Luddite that I am, I like the idea of getting over the hurdle that it might take to learn to use a Chinese dictionary, and be empowered to look up any word at my pace, instead of being on a guided software tour of the language. I want to be able to live, and experience the language as dynamically as possible.

I have come to believe that basic reader texts are one of the best methods (other than total immersion), of getting into a language. I just would like the freedom of knowing how to maximize my use of a dictionary.

Hey, any recommendations of the best quality dictionaries would be far-out, groovy, and totally, da bomb too.




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We had at least one similar discussion over a year ago, and i suspect there are others.

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amory hill

there are some very good chinese dictionaries online. all you need to do is, try & find chinese reading matter online. then you highlight any character you want to lookup, cut & paste to dictionary, bingo! then return to text, one character the wiser.

I don't however see how you would be able to do that with printed material.

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personally I find that my visual memory is better than my hearing memory (I can learn stroke-combinations in making characters better than I can recall sounds and tones which leave my head so fast its not even funny :wall:wink: ) but I'm finding it hard to pick characters i should know. A lot of the characters are ambigious by themselves, with several completely different meanings. Some are completely clear cut with one meaning (like 小, etc..) but others are useless without a larger understanding of the language and context.

I would be interested in knowing what 100 characters you chose to learn?

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