Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

  • Why you should look around

    Since 2003, Chinese-forums.com has been helping people learn Chinese faster and get to China sooner. Our members can recommend beginner textbooks, help you out with obscure classical vocabulary, and tell you where to get the best street food in Xi'an. And we're friendly about it too. 

    Have a look at what's going on, or search for something specific. We hope you'll join us. 
KanaGai

Need a character learning method

Recommended Posts

KanaGai

I have been struggling to learn characters for years. Memorization and writing practice has never been a viable method for me as I lose focus on anything and everything rather quickly. It took me weeks just to be able to recognize the character for "I" and that is unacceptably slow.

 

But the other day I found this beautiful, though simple app that had me able to recognize 15 charachters or more in under an hour. It was amazing and I love the method used for learning. My only dissapointment is how few characters the app has.

 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cdw.easycharacter

 

I need to find something similar to this method of learning. With video of the characters and the objects they relate to turning into the characters. Does anyone know of a website, app or computer program that does this? I cant seem to find any. These videos in the app look like they were intended for Chinese school children. Why can't more language learning sources realise the methods China uses to teach it's children characters are probably the best methods? So many just focus on memorization it makes my brain hurt.

 

Any suggestions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

edelweis

The problem is, not all characters were created from a drawing of a single object.

That is, not all characters are pictograms.

see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_character_classification

 

1 hour ago, KanaGai said:

Why can't more language learning sources realise the methods China uses to teach it's children characters are probably the best methods?

Actually I'm told the Chinese education system relies heavily on memorization.

With 3500 characters to learn, then can't waste time learning the detailed etymology of each and every character.

 

A book you might be interested in is "the most common Chinese radicals" by Zhang Pengpeng.

see picture:

http://www.studychineseculture.com/wms/Upfiles/20089361340.jpg

from

http://www.studychineseculture.com/book.asp?id=893

https://www.amazon.com/Most-Common-Chinese-Radicals-English/dp/7800525767/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516814782&sr=8-1&keywords=the+most+common+chinese+radicals

(they also have this book in French, Spanish, etc).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KanaGai
29 minutes ago, edelweis said:

Actually I'm told the Chinese education system relies heavily on memorization.

With 3500 characters to learn, then can't waste time learning the detailed etymology of each and every character.

I did not realize this. Thank you so much for the book. While I do understand not all are pictograms I have such an easier time remembering them with video and pictures to go along with them. Even if the character looks nothing like the object or concept seeing it transform like in the videos made something in my brain click. Next pay check I'm getting that book to help. Wonderful resource

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
imron

You'd probably be better off getting the Outlier dictionary for Pleco, which goes in to the etymology and evolution of each character.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KanaGai
11 minutes ago, imron said:

Pleco, which goes in to the etymology and evolution of each character

I do have Pleco, but I have never seen this feature. How do you get to it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
imron

From the menu -> Add Ons -> Outlier Mini (traditional or simplified).  You can also purchase directly from Outlier's site.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KanaGai
47 minutes ago, imron said:

From the menu -> Add Ons -> Outlier Mini (traditional or simplified).  You can also purchase directly from Outlier's site.

Thank you. I found it but it's actually buried much farther than that. Look forward to using it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shelley

I have 2 suggestions for you, the first will probably be frowned on by most people but it does follow a similar format to the app you have tried.  It is Chineasy by Shaolan

ISBN 978-0-500-65028-8

This is her first book, she has done a second book and has more associated learning materials. I was given her flashcards for Christmas ISBN 978-0-500-95204-7. If you really like this method I would say be careful about the usefulness of some of it, it is designed for children, but it is fun and colourful.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/ChineasyTM-New-Way-Read-Chinese/dp/0500650284/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1516832278&sr=8-3&keywords=chineasy

 

The second is an app I recommend a lot because it covers reading, writing , listening, speaking - HelloChinese Learn Chinese http://www.hellochinese.cc/

 

If you work your way through all the lessons, it teaches you useful vocabulary, grammar and more, there are also many video lessons. There are some premium paid extras but otherwise it is a free app with no adds. Have a look .

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lumbering Ox

Remembering the Hanzi and the Anki Spaced repetition system make homer go something something.

 

Remembering the Kanji seems to get a lot more love on the Japanese side than RTH does on the Chinese side. I don't know why.

I made it over 1900 on RTK before I gave on Japanese completely [for unrelated reasons]. As long as you accept that it only teaches one thing and nothing else, it works fine. Not meant to teach you how to pronounce or use in a sentence, only to write out the characters mapped out to an English keyword.

When doing the system I never bothered with visual stories or long winded stories. Just a simple short phrase to help remember.

Example

伯 one of the meanings is chief in Japanese. Instead of person a lot of people use a particular person like Mr T as he is memorable and that part looks like a T. You have white as the second part. Mr T would have made chief if he was white.

You might think I am a fool, but we all know Mr T pity the fool so nayh!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tomsima

Just putting in a good word for RTH, I finished both books, all 3030 characters, and have continued on making mnemonics based on his system by myself to around 3500 characters now. I think it's a personality thing, if you like storytelling and creative writing, this method is definitely for you. Also I learned so much about character etymology just by RTH piqueing my interest and making me want to know more about the origins of each 'primitive'.

Some character stories are one liners, others can get pretty long (one that comes to mind is 竊, which for me tells the story of frodo going to mt doom, and fighting an evil wizard to save a hobo trapped under his evil spell.....)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Luxi

You can also find the etymology and good information on characters in Yellowbridge.

https://www.yellowbridge.com/chinese/dictionary.php

 

Besides studying the etymology, watching the stroke animations (in Pleco and several other places) helps me to memorise characters, especially if I replay the sequence in my mind later. Not sure if it is my 'wiring' or if it can help other people. 

 

Edited to add:

I just remembered. There's a 3-volumes series of comic-like books published by The Straits Times.  It's called "Fun with Chinese Characters". It is fairly old but has had numerous reprints and is still available at reasonable price, at least in Amazon. It used to be fairly popular, 2nd hand volumes are probably easy to find.  

It seems to go some way towards what you're after. Running a search for Fun with Chinese Characters in Google Images will give you an idea

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shelley
4 hours ago, Tomsima said:

I think it's a personality thing, if you like storytelling and creative writing, this method is definitely for you

 

I agree, personally I dislike RTH , for the stories that are unrelated to the character and adding unnecessary layers.

 

4 hours ago, Tomsima said:

(one that comes to mind is 竊, which for me tells the story of frodo going to mt doom, and fighting an evil wizard to save a hobo trapped under his evil spell.....)

This for example, unrelated long winded stories that have nothing to do with 竊,

 

Cut out the middle man, as it were,  learn the etymology if you need a mnemonic, at least it has something to do with the character.

 

I would also strongly suggest you learn the radicals or the component parts of characters, once you know and recognise these,  you will be able remember that this character X is made up of its components and should make it easier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
edelweis
6 hours ago, Shelley said:

I would also strongly suggest you learn the radicals

Agree, which is why I like the "Most Common Chinese Radicals" book :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KanaGai

Thank you for all of the suggestions, everyone. For my learning tastes, I may go for some of the kid's apps, as they're pretty good at simplifying things, and etymology resources for the history and explanations. Writing stroke order is a good practice for me, too and of course radicals. There is a lot to learn but there are an awesome amount of tools out there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lumbering Ox
On 1/25/2018 at 1:29 AM, Tomsima said:

I think it's a personality thing, if you like storytelling and creative writing, this method is definitely for you.

 

I always kept things very short. The Mr T example above.

Stop Spooning Turkeys, there are females around

 

I downloaded an Anki deck with some stories in them. Some were so long winded it made me want to punch myself in the face.

I dislike storytelling and creative writing. Maybe RTH is different. With RTK it was rare I couldn't do a one liner that made sense, if so I just memorized a line with all the elements. It almost seemed at times that he picked English keywords to make it a line that just used elements with minimal story doable.

 

If I had to do long winded stories and create epic visual imagines, I'd probably have said fornicate this and switch to a non character based language.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tomsima

Each to their own. Worked for me, still works for me, gets me motivated, and on my journey I feel like I've learned so much about the mindset of the people who have used these characters over the past few thousand years. As Shelley said, it's important to know what the original elements are and why they're there. I know the original meanings of all my elements, and if I can create an image of sauron from 卜 because of its original meaning,  for me it is both fun and not misguiding, it anchors the memory for me. I have chinese friends that do this themselves (one that came up last week was a friend telling me how he remembered 橇 as a wooden sled being pulled along by three huskies in a sled race across the arctic).
 

Just one of many different ways to study.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...