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How many characters could one...


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Hi there all... I have been studying pretty much every day for the last couple of weeks as a prelim to starting my Chinese (mandarin) degree and so far I have managed to learn about 60 or so characters off by heart... I was wondering however how many characters could one learn properly each day... thanks in advance...

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At this point in your study I wouldn't do too many - maybe a half-dozen or so a day, but ideally just 3 or 4. Once you've got a few hundred characters under your belt, patterns start to emerge and it gets a lot easier to learn new characters. 请 for example might be difficult to learn by itself, since without having seen any similar characters it's just an abstract collection of strokes, but once you've learned it you'll have an easy time learning 清 and 情 and 晴 and 精 since they all sound similar and differ only by one radical.

There are a number of excellent books and guides to help you see connections between characters; http://www.zhongwen.com/ for example is a wonderful online resource (and the companion book is very useful too).

It can also be helpful to learn new characters in the context of new words - a single character's meaning can sometimes be rather abstract and difficult to understand, but seeing how it fits into words can help you develop a more intuitive sense of how it works.

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