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Szymon456

Characters learning - How to proceed after radicals

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Pall

Using the radical related prefix in Russian before a syllable in pinyin works very well for memorizing characters while typing. However,  the main radical, which we usually use to look up a character is predominantly one from the limited set of the "most popular" radicals like "man", "hart", "water", "ice", "tree", and some others. And even its combination with pinyin  repeats sometimes. This and the other consideration that it would be good to be able to imagine a character in a general shape in one's mind led me to the idea to pack in the prefix the information about at least two radicals (components), the main radical and one less important in addition. And it's better to take for  the role of the second radical that one, which is more rare, if the character consists of more than two radicals. For example, 禁  can be written as алтарелесо-jìn, where the prefix reflects the two radicals: "altar" and "forest" (more than one "tree"), and 意识 will be стоесердо-yì+речерото-shí , the "standing up" and "hart" radicals are reflected in the prefix for the first syllable and the "speech" and "mouth" ones for the second. 

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Pall

Even as many as four radicals (components) in the character can be packed in a prefix of a reasonable length. For example, for 搬 it is лунолодкостолоснова-bān, the prefix includes  the "moon", "boat", "table" and "again" radicals. Such prefix is an alternative way to "draw" a character, in fact. It contains enough information that one could imagine the character in his mind. Of course, there are characters with many small details, it's not reasonable to reflect all of them in the prefix. However, if only radiclas are shown in the prefix, it's quite enough to be able to imagine the character in general.

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Pall

It's well known that drawing characters helps to remember them. The prefixes can be used for that. But in this case drawing characters should be done with another sequence of strokes. The traditional sequence is aimed at making the character better looking. It's a kind of art in China. However, for foreigners this respect is not as important. For practical use it's better to draw the recognizable radicals first of all and then the rest of the strokes. For instance, for 锻 it's better to draw, looking at the prefix золотостолоснова-duàn, the "metal (gold)" radical first, then the "table" and "again", leaving some space for the less recogizable part in the middle, and only after that to draw the remaining strokes. But  the radicals themselves, taken separately, should be drawn according to the traditional rules. Such drawing procedure allows to remmember better how  the character looks like.

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Pall

Also it would be helpful to add to the prefix the word "экстра" (extra), in the end of it, meaning that something more must be present in the character besides the radicals packed in the prefix, if the character includes not only radicals. In the above example of 锻 it will be золотостолосноваэкстра-duàn, not too long.

 

And it's better to remember radicals in the same direction as they should be drawn - from the left to the right and from the top to the bottom. For example, in the well-known 想 character the main radical is "heart" obviously. Nevertheless it should be remembered as "tree" - "eye" - "heart" succession, the prefix is деревоглазосердо-xiǎng, and drawn in the same direction, from the "tree" to the right and then downward. I think, the advantage for the visual memory, which that succession creates, overweights the advantage for the associative memory, provided by the fact that "to think" is more connected to the "heart" than "tree". However, this proposal is arguable, one may decide which is more important for him, to have better mental association for a character  or better visualisation in his memory how to draw it.

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Pall

Or firstly one can learn how to draw characters according to the prefix (in the succession: all radicals drawn seperately from the left to the right and from the top to the bottom), just for the purpose to be able to imagine the character, and later, when the character is well known, to learn how to draw it according to the traditional rules.

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