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Jan Finster

Learning similar looking characters

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Jan Finster

What are your strategies for  learning similar looking characters (false friends) e.g. 凶 and 风, or  未 and 来 or 丢 and 去 ?

 

Are there any good resources?

 

I found learning words that contain two similar looking characters (e.g. 未来 = future) makes it easier to learn to distinguish them. Do you have other examples of such words made of similar character combinations? 

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mungouk

The website horizontalhanzi.com was set up to collect commonly-confused characters

 

Since users can contribute those they have trouble with, there's a body of user-generated "most popular" issues.

 

1834023226_Screenshot2020-01-13at13_56_17.thumb.png.9b71d6e7852c9e2861bd04b29cba401d.png

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mungouk

This blog post Top 258 Most Commonly Confused Chinese Characters also has some interesting resources, including dictation practice split across 3 levels of difficulty, and transcriptions which give common ways of describing the characters, e.g.

 

        刀、力


        刀刃的刀 — dāorèn de dāo

        力量的力 — lìliang de lì

 

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DavyJonesLocker

From my experience, I don't think anyone can really inform you what's confusing and whats not, its very individual . I have made a  character SRS deck and always update it periodically with confusing characters.  I remember at the start of my study that we were supposed to be confused by 八 人 入. I never was was though. However plenty of others I mixed up constantly , mainly when the radical differs like 快, 块 etc 

 

白  and 日 doesn't confuse me at all but some some unknown reason I get 通 and 道 mixed up a lot!

 

I found that updating your own customised list as you come across them is the way to go, but its important not try pre-empt what you might find confusing as it would soon spiral out of control with all the possible combinations

 

 

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Jan Finster
7 minutes ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

some some unknown reason I get 通 and 道 mixed up a lot!

 

Initially I thought the 辶 radical is easy enough to spot and remember.

Some of the first characters were: 这 and 还. At first somewhat confusing, but not too difficult after all.

 

Then I realised there are:

这, 还, 过, 进, 送, 连, 选, 远, 遍, 道, 腿, 边, 追, 逃, 近, 逼, 通, 达, 透, 随, 退, 迟, 迷, 造, 运, 迪, 逮, 遭, 逗, 遇, 缝, 速, 逛, 谜, 链, 逊, 避, 迈, 邀, 递, 莲, 遮, 遛, 遥, 迹, 逝, 巡, 哒, 述, 途, 迭, 逆, 蓬, 逢, 迎, 篷, 返, 违, 逞, 迫, 逐, 槌, 褪, 适, 遗, 迦, 迁, 谴, 遣, 暹, 迅, 逸, 遂, 鞑, 遁, 糙, 遵, 逾, 逖, 髓, 迸, 挞, 遏, 辽, 跶, 迺, 逡, 嗵, 謎, 樋, 逻, 醚, 邊, 遐, 迴, 辺, 逋, 邏, 遺, 辻, 邋, 燧, 逑, 迂, 遜, 迄, 這, 邁, 缱, 遽, 達, 迢, 選, 躂, 叇, 嗹, 嚃, 垯, 壝, 挝, 摓, 摙, 擿, 梿, 檖, 涟, 瀡, 煺, 琏, 璡, 璲, 穟, 笾, 簻, 繨, 缒, 膇, 荙, 蓪, 蕸, 薖, 薳, 蘧, 裢, 襚, 跹, 辶, 込, 辿, 迋, 迍, 迓, 迕, 迣, 迤, 迥, 迨, 迩, 迮, 迳, 迶, 迻, 迿, 逄, 逅, 逌, 逍, 逓, 逦, 逭, 逯, 逴, 逵, 逶, 逹, 遄, 遅, 遑, 遒, 遘, 遝, 遟, 遢, 遨, 遫, 遰, 遴, 遹, 遻, 邂, 邃, 邅, 邈, 邉, 邎, 鎹, 鏠, 鐩, 鐽, 闼, 隧, 餸, 髄, 鲢, 僆, 儙, 噠, 噵, 嚺, 塠, 塳, 墶, 嬘, 搥, 撻, 撾, 曃, 槰, 橽, 檛, 檤, 櫏, 漨, 澻, 澾, 濄, 瀢, 熢, 熥, 燵, 琎, 瓋, 瓍, 瞇, 磀, 磓, 礈, 禭, 縋, 縌, 縫, 繸, 繾, 膖, 膸, 膼, 蒁, 蒾, 薘, 藡, 螁, 蟽, 蠭, 譢, 譴, 讁, 讉, 蹆, 躚, 辷, 辸, 迀, 迃, 迆, 迉, 迊, 迌, 迏, 迒, 迖, 迗, 迚, 迠, 迡, 迧, 迬, 迯, 迱, 迲, 迵, 迼, 迾, 逇, 逈, 逎, 逕, 逘, 逜, 連, 逤, 逥, 逧, 逨, 逩, 逪, 逫, 逬, 逰, 週, 進, 逳, 逷, 逺, 逽, 逿, 遀, 遃, 遆, 遈, 遉, 遊, 運, 遌, 過, 違, 遖, 遙, 遚, 遞, 遠, 遡, 遤, 遦, 遧, 適, 遪, 遬, 遯, 遱, 遲, 遳, 遶, 遷, 遼, 遾, 還, 邆, 邇, 邌, 邍, 邐, 鎚, 鐹, 鑓, 闥, 闧, 隨, 靆, 韃, 韆, 韼, 鬔, 鱁  

 

😅

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imron
24 minutes ago, Jan Finster said:

Then I realised there are:

Half of which you'll never need to learn.

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Lu

Brute force memorisation with Anki (worked for 低/底), or just glossing over it because I get the meaning of the sentence without being sure (did this for a long time with 己/已 until I finally learned them). Or mnemonics: some silly story that will help you be sure, until at some point you just recognise the character and don't need the story anymore (I'm halfway there with 己/已)

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Jan Finster
6 minutes ago, imron said:

Half of which you'll never need to learn.

 

Half of them is bad enough 😅

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Tomsima

Muscle memory works pretty efficiently, knowing how to write the differences really teases characters apart. Lots and lots of writing practice really did the trick for me

 

Also, interestingly your list of characters is a mixture of both simplified and traditional, so the list can be significantly reduced for beginners only looking to get to grips with one character set.

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mungouk
5 hours ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

I don't think anyone can really inform you what's confusing and whats not, its very individual

 

Sure.

 

But equally, if there's already a set of characters out there which a lot of people have all found to be tricky, then surely it's worth a look to avoid those pitfalls without having to learn by actually falling into the pits yourself...

 

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DavyJonesLocker
6 hours ago, mungouk said:

But equally, if there's already a set of characters out there which a lot of people have all found to be tricky, then surely it's worth a look to avoid those pitfalls without having to learn by actually falling into the pits yourself...

 

 

Sure, depends on how much time you want to preempt the confusing ones. I made a deck of the top 3000 characters and as I went through them I just edited the card on the fly.  I see it as a bit like trying to learn words before you actually come across them. Useful for some circumstances like pre lesson preparation but as a general rule I think it's not ideal

 

I get your point but I think there is great value in making mistakes as your cautious the 2nd time around. 

 

Works for me but maybe not for others. Horses for courses and and all that... 

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