Learn Chinese in China
werewitt

Learning to read / sound out characters - useful or a waste of time? (intermediate-ish onwards)

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I recently realised that I am progressing a bit better with listening than reading and thought perhaps learning to read texts and sound them out would be useful as a skill on its own. Plus knowing chars is useful in remembering two-char words (at least for me it is). I understand Chinese words are constructed based on a totally different "metaphor cloud", yet I'd think knowing that "length"="long"+"short" instead of "长短" is useful at least when you first see the word. I've subscribed to http://remembr.it and even made an Anki deck / Skritter list based on principles similar to theirs. Waste of time or useful (apart from learning how to fiddle with Anki using SQLite :))?

 

I would like opinions based on personal experience - e.g. "I tried to learn 2000 most common chars when I was past the beginner stage and it was a waste of time / very useful", if possible.

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It helps but I guess you would reach some point where picking up words from other sources gives you better value than just a character list. How would you know when that point is reached?

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24 minutes ago, Flickserve said:

How would you know when that point is reached?

That's the secret point of my post - trying to figure that out :wink:

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41 minutes ago, werewitt said:

That's the secret point of my post - trying to figure that out :wink:

 

LOL. I give you my story. I picked up the DeFrancis Beginning Chinese reader as I though it rather cool to be able to recognise 70% of characters and pretty good value. I was back in England that time so it was rare to have exposure to Chinese. I got to about 400 traditional characters and got bored of writing characters but the next volume I would just flick through the pages and look at the characters. Just look and associate the meaning with the character. My pinyin was pretty bad then but it didn't matter - there was nobody talking in Mandarin to me and not me to other people. It would have been nice to carry on writing characters but boredom is hard to combat.

 

Later started working in HK and everything is in traditional characters. I would learn characters by trying to recognise place names on the trains. And you know, it is a bit tricky for Cantonese. So I learn the sound first, then look at characters which is basically how I learn now. Sometimes, I do pick up the pen to draw and help imprint the character.

 

so for me, it started with 400 words.

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