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. 
Song You Shen

The importance of learning radicals...

Recommended Posts

Song You Shen

What is it? It is really important to learn radicals? While studying Chinese my class put absolutly no effort in learning Radicals. We never received any explinations or teachings about what they are, and the purpose they serve.

If Radicals are so important, does anyone have a recommendation of a good book that can help me understand their use? Thanks.

Youshen

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.

madizi

Strange...... :-? Learner can easily memorize characters, if he/she knows from which parts are they made. Radicals and phonetics are basic forms of characters and memorizing them can help in remembering the characters. Radicals can tell you the meaning of character or at least in which group of things does it belong. Phonetics are for pronunciation. One phonetic can have a lot of different, but in some way similar pronunciations.

That's why it seems to me very strange that your teacher did not put an emphasis on function of radicals and phonetics in characters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
logos

I would say that learning radicals in the beginning (at least some anyway) are important for these reasons:

a. Most of them are simple characters themself, with meanings.

b. Once you know a few common ones, you will likely see them very often. It will also likely help you understand some meanings of characters that you do learn. Example. hao3 meaning "good" is constructed from two radical characters nü3 (woman) and zi3 (child). A woman with a child, which suggests the completion of birth - considered a good thing.

c. The dictionaries are organized by these radicals, and stroke counts.

Because these radicals would be very common to see, some have likened them to the closest thing to our Alphabet. Now, if you were teaching someone to read English and understand words, you probably wouldn't want to teach them words without learning the alphabet.

It may be possible to teach someone to remember that "hello" looks like this, or it may be possible to teach someone how to write 你好. But, it would probably be easier to remember if you knew also what parts made up the character and understood it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
wix

When I first studied Chinese at university in Australia the teachers never taught us about radicals. It is really a failing on the teacher's part. Chinese characters are a seemingly confusing bunch of squiggles until you become aware of the radicals.

I remember one of the Japanese students in my class telling the teacher how to write a character. He said (in English) "fire plus rice" (=autumn). Suddenly it all made so much more sense.

When you consider that a large number of characters are made up of a meaning radical plus a phonetic radical or meaning radical(s) alone, knowing the radicals makes learning so much easier and intuitive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nipponman
He said (in English) "fire plus rice" (=autumn)

Wow, that's how chinese people think of characters... I prefer "fire plus turtle" though:mrgreen:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
laohu489

Wow' date=' that's how chinese people think of characters...

[/quote']

In my experience, Chinese people don't think of characters this way. One of the examples that comes to mind immediately is 嫖. They don't seem to realize that this is a 'woman ticket' as I like to think.

But yes, in learning the radicals, you can learn the phonetic component and the phonemic component, which really helps in understanding the character. You still may not know the exact meaning, but you can get a good idea of the concept.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nipponman

Really? Interesting. The main reason I don't like simplifications (besides the way they look) is because they sometimes take away the original phonetic component making it hard to discern.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password 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...