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Pandastic

Pictophonetics??

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Pandastic

Hello fellow learners :)

I was thinking of starting learning chinese by what I think it's called pictophonetics. Yes I know that there are different aproaches to start learning as a beginner but everyone has their own way of studying and I think that this will benefit me.

The thing I am trying to find and think that it's called "pictophonetics" is a word list, or some kind of classification of the chinese characters which are similar in their base and have different radicals.

example: 

中 - center, 种 - seed, race, 冲 - soar, pour, 虫 - worm, 忠 - loyal, faithful, 融 - melt, 蛇 - snake, 仲- middle.

These characters above all have 中 somewhere in them and their pronounciation is similar to zhong because of it. They only have different radicals.

If you know how these characters are classified feel free to tell me and if you can find a wordlist or a classification of them feel free to also send it. 

 

 

 

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DavyJonesLocker

Unfortunately with this approach for every character whereby you can find the same component , you can find a whole pile more characters with that component that sound different. I found this approach which beginners books like to introduce to make Chinese seem easy , are actually very misleading . You get sent off on the wrong track . It just a possible clue at best. 

 

E.g from your examples above , the characters 独, 革 , 贵, 串, 蜂, 虽, 强 all have a compound 中 in them somewhere (as far as I can tell) but don't sound similar to zhong. 

 

It could well work for you though. Just was too misleading for me. 

 

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Pandastic
52 minutes ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

It could well work for you though. Just was too misleading for me. 

 

Yes I think it may work for me. Do you know any wordlists which diferentiate the characters like this ? 

 

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DavyJonesLocker
11 minutes ago, Pandastic said:

Yes I think it may work for me. Do you know any wordlists which differentiate the characters like this ? 

 

 

sorry I can't seem to recall anything like that

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Publius

You are confusing "radicals" with "components".

The Chinese term 部首 simply means "section heading", under which characters are listed in a traditional dictionary. In the language learning circle, radical means "a part of a character conveying lexical meaning", that is, the semantic component. The sound-carrying part, or the phonetic component, therefore, is not radical.

 

Secondly, 中 and 虫 are two distinct entities (中 is not a radical in the traditional sense, itself being listed under the 丨 heading) and they are not related. That they should rhyme is coincidental.

虫 is a pictograph (象形) depicting a worm or a snake (same thing to the ancient Chinese):

(oracle bone script)c1.thumb.png.4ad4669a247962d90e464c6e809c771b.png(bronze script)c2.thumb.png.4c87c513e93c583c1c48d8275bd0adc3.png(seal script)c3.thumb.png.ed0d1096700a7a298f2970a0ab12d8e9.png

中 is an ideograph (指事) indicating the middle part of something (a staff, I believe), thus conveying the meaning of "middle":

(oracle bone script)z1.thumb.png.d1adcb319013639af40248e1bc07aa32.png(bronze script)z2.thumb.png.d855658a2bf0022f25b73f23684f3ab5.png(seal script)z3.thumb.png.6b74ae4376ed564fdac273d9fc44d16f.png

 

虫 is the phonetic component in the semantic-phonetic compound 融, so of course 融 has a similar pronunciation.

虫 is the semantic component in the semantic-phonetic compound 蛇, therefore the pronunciation of 蛇 has nothing to do with 虫.

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mungouk

(Mistaken response.)

 

 

 

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Gharial

Are you aware of http://zhongwen.com/ ? Oh, and http://chinese-characters.org/ too. Those are both reasonably explicit and serviceable-enough resources for such purposes, and you can fill in any gaps by consulting the character breakdowns in apps such as Pleco, or sites such as MDBG ( https://www.mdbg.net/chinese/dictionary?page=chardict&cdqchc=中 ). There are actually any number of sites that offer some sort of breakdowns or listings of related characters: https://hanzicraft.com/ , https://www.archchinese.com/ , and so on.

 

Then there are books such as Wieger's Chinese Characters, Karlgren's Analytic Dictionary ( https://archive.org/details/analyticdictiona00karl ), Paton's Dictionary of Chinese Characters: Accessed by Phonetics ( https://www.amazon.com/Dictionary-Chinese-Characters-Accessed-Phonetics/dp/0415460476 ), and most recently, Van Amstel's Chinese Character Dictionary (though its look-up system is frankly too difficult to use to really recommend: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/58141-review-of-adrian-van-amstels-chinese-character-dictionary/ ).

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markhavemann

Not to discourage you from using this method but one thing to consider is that it might be a long time before you encounter some of these characters, and that time might be better spent learning characters or words that you are much more likely to encounter in the early stages. 

 

For example I don't think I've ever seen 仲. By that I don't mean it's never been in anything that I've read or heard, just that it's never been important or common enough for me to notice or learn it. 

 

A slightly different, but related approach that I have taken is to do almost the same thing but with characters instead of words. You will find that the majority of Chinese words consist of two characters and, as I see it, it makes sense to break words into characters rather than characters into compounds.

 

So for example if I come across a new two character word like 公园 - public park (to use a simple example) I will then go and find other HSK or very common words containing each of those characters, so that I can better understand each of them, and so (usually) better understand the word. 

 

I'll see that 公 by itself has something to do with public and then find the following HSK/common words and learn them: 

公路 - highway/freeway

公交车 - public bus

办公室 - office

公寓 - apartment building

公平 - fair (adj.)

 

and I'll do the same with 

动物园 - zoo

幼儿园 - kindergarten 

etc. 

 

For me this approach has made it easy to remember what really matters, and that's words and meanings. I'm also much more likely to encounter the things I'm learning in other materials, making them even easier to learn. 

 

I think understanding characters and radicals can be useful and you should spend some time on it, but in my experience, learning in very artificial ways like that makes things very hard to remember, because our brains (or at least my brain) just doesn't work like that. 

 

There is an interesting article on the internet about retention rates when people studied words grouped by theme (eg. fruit/colours) compared to some kind of theme or story to tie them together. I can't find the link but basically the result was that just taking all the words for all the colours led to lower retention rates than just learning random words, and much lower than more logically grouped word groups like "red, apple, fruit, eat" (not a real example but it was something like that) and also it was found that if words like "pink" and "purple" were learnt together in a kind of artifical, out-of-context way like that, then they would often be confused, same with "brown" and "blue" etc. and I think you would very likely find yourself with the same problem, knowing that one of these (中 种 冲 虫  忠 融 蛇 仲) has something to do with "melt" and one with "snake" and another with "honest" but being completely unable to remember which, because you have no real context in which to properly "file" these away in your brain. 

 

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mungouk
9 hours ago, markhavemann said:

do almost the same thing but with characters instead of words.

 

+1 for this. 

 

Once again I'll plug Alan Davies' "graphs" of words sharing common characters, which IMHO work really well up to HSK 3 level (but become rather complex and unwieldy after that).

 

184981028_Screenshot2019-08-13at10_56_43.thumb.png.6aeee59ecc014d0614c3fc38a54f9815.png

 

See http://www.hskhsk.com/graphs.html


The way I used them is to download the SVG files and then open those up using Chrome and "print" them to a PDF, which allows you to pan and zoom on-screen relatively quickly (or at least it does on a Mac where PDF support is very fast).

 

If you use the standard HSK textbooks then they also have exercises in each chapter, at least up to HSK 4, where they specifically present words that share the same character, presumably to help inculcate a habit of looking for these correspondences.  Then you can end up having conversations with your teacher where you're recognising or clarifying like this:  “地方” 的地 ...  "宾馆" 的馆 ...  etc.

 

There's also another thread where we were discussing almost the same thing 3 weeks ago: Characters learning - How to proceed after radicals

 

As for the components/radicals discussion, again I think this is something that "just comes" as you observe and learn more characters... your brain is a natural pattern-recognition engine and you will start to spot similarities and differences.   As @Gharial says above, using tools like MDBG (break down into components feature) and Hanzicraft will allow you to dig and explore a bit more, so you can start to make the connections in your own brain.

 

 

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Xiao Kui
Quote

中 - center, 种 - seed, race, 冲 - soar, pour, 虫 - worm, 忠 - loyal, faithful, 融 - melt, 蛇 - snake, 仲- middle.

These characters above all have 中 somewhere in them and their pronounciation is similar to zhong because of it. They only have different radicals.

If you know how these characters are classified feel free to tell me and if you can find a wordlist or a classification of them feel free to also send it. 

20 years ago I had a Chinese textbook that used a similar method to teach vocabulary. Each lesson had a group of words that shared a prominent radical, and the pronunciations were usually very similar (though tones and starting sounds often differed.)  Two notable differences were that the textbook focused on high frequency words, though it did include some high intermediate level characters, and provided sample sentences so the words could be learned in context.  I do think the common radical does help to remember new words, but learning in context is also essential. I tend to stay away from lists and flash cards unless they also provide context.  If you are disciplined to build your own context around the new words (making connections with your daily life or other learning, reading, etc.)  then they can also be helpful. 

 

I really enjoyed that textbook and am certain it's now out of print, don't know if something similar has surfaced in recent years.  It's a shame because I did find this method helpful, however, more as supplementary material rather than a main curriculum. 

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Shelley
31 minutes ago, Xiao Kui said:

Each lesson had a group of words that shared a prominent radical, and the pronunciations were usually very similar

 

The one thing I have to say about this is that it is similar to a piece of advice given to someone and when I read it was like a light bulb moment.

 

Don't learn words in alphabetical order. If you find yourself for example at the shi's you will have 10 or 15 characters/words that all sound the same with different characters/meanings. If you try and learn lots of Characters/words all with the same or very similar sound it will drive you crazy and you will have all these shi's running around in your brain.

 

The same applies with radicals I think, it would be confusing to have all the characters/words associated with a certain radical to learn.

 

I think that it is good to familiarise yourself with radicals, they do contain information and it can help with comprehension, but they are not all there is.

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