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bjgodefr

books for learning characters

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bjgodefr

Hi

I’m looking for a good way to learn simplified Chinese characters. The book that’s on roddy’s site ('Easy Way to Learn Chinese Characters') looks quite good. But I’m also looking for something like Mc Naughton’s ‘Reading and Writing Chinese: A Guide to the Chinese Writing System’. The author placed in this book a great emphasis on the building up of a character from its parts. So characters that are geometrically simplest are first presented, and complex characters are built-up from the simpler parts already presented. Unfortunately this book only covers traditional characters.

Could anyone introduce me to similar books with simplified characters?

Advice on other methods/books for learning characters is also appreciated!

Thanks,

Bart

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Guest ciwei

Hello Bart

You are probably aware of this but just in case you are not, McNaughton's "Reading and Writing" Chinese does include simplified characters. However the emphasis is still on traditional characters. All the examples under each new characters are in traditional form only.

Better news. According to Amazon, a simplified character edition of this book is due out in May 2004. Details from amazon.com are:

Reading & Writing Chinese Simplified Character Edition, by William McNaughton, Li Ying (Paperback - May 2004)

Hope this helps

ciwei

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bjgodefr

thanks for the reply. i know that there is a simplified version in the making, but i mailed to the publisher and they've told me that this version is due for 2005, so that's kinda late for me.

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Guest alfredo

Check out "WHAT'S IN A CHINESE CHARACTER" it explains the origins of 369 characters, mostly radical based(you know, at the end of the book you'll know most of the radicals), their stoke order. And has drawings to clarify the lot. Most importantly: it's easy to read, as there's isn't much.

I've found it useful...

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bjgodefr

well here is kind of a reply to my own post: i've just bought a book called '500 basic chinese characters' published by sinolingua.

I think it's quite good, it orders the (simplified) characters in such a way so that new characters contain parts of ones you've learned previously.

It also gives you the stroke order, it shows how the character appears in various script styles, gives tips on usage, radical, frequently-used words or phrases and (last but definitely not least) it gives good tips on how to memorise the characters.

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wushijiao

I also like "Cracking the Chinese Puzzles" by TK Ann, if you can find it.

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nathanuk88

You can order it on amazon.co.uk and it takes about 4-5 weeks! I just ordered it! In amazon.com it says its not realesed!?!?!

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Jamie

Bjgodefr, that sounds like a good book. I'll have to look for a copy for myself.

Here is what I have and it is VERY useful. It is called What Character is That? An Easy Access Dictionary of 5,000 Chinese Characters by Go Ping-Gam. The reviews for the book are all terrific (which is why I bought it) and the method for looking up characters is much quicker than traditional stroke counting. I also use it as a reference guide for making my own flashcards.

Link:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0962311359/qid=1077218837/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-7006222-9169463?v=glance&s=books

Jamie

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Jamie

Nathanuk, can you let me know when/if you get this book? I wanted to order it, but the publishers told me it would likely not be released this year. I would be willing to buy it at the UK price and have it shipped overseas if I could get it 6+ months earlier...

Thanks!

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channamasala

"Reading and Writing Chinese Characters" gives you the simplified in a corner of the entry, but doesn't show you how to write it as it does with the traditional. So they are there, but not emphasized. "500 Basic Chinese Characters" (available in the Wangfujing Foreign Languages Bookstore) is sort of a rip off of "Easy Way to Learn..." but teaches more characters.

My old roommate had a great book, I think it was just called "Learning Chinese Script" and taught you the philosophy behind it and a few characters to boot. But if you're far enough in to learning Chinese to ask these questions you probably already know most of what that book can teach you.

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Guest Mrs. Max Powers

i used 'the most common chinese radicals' by zhang pengpeng. its the middle book in a series of three, first starting with spoken chinese, then this book to learn a few radicals and stroke order, and the third book is for reading.

i have a number of textbooks and like this series as a whole the best, but if your not interested in the series, '500 basic chinese characters' is also good, but you should know basic stroke order before you start it.

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Guest lauragray

Jamie,

The book looks very useful. One question: are the characters simplified or traditional? If it gives both, which one is used to look up a character? I.e., do you use the stroke count for the simplified character or the traditional one?

Thanks,

Laura

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Guest lauragray

The book Jamie mentioned was, "What Character is That?".

Laura

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Jamie

Hi Laura. Sorry but I didn't see this post until just now! The book has both Traditional and Simplified characters (the simplified characters are to the left of the traditional) so it's great for anybody.

Edit: The additional stroke count would be for the traditional character, but I've found that many simplified characters have the same additional stroke count as the traditional, and the characters are quite easy to look up. At most you might have to scan an additional page to find the character. :)

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sunyata
I also like "Cracking the Chinese Puzzles" by TK Ann, if you can find it.

dood, that book has like 5 or more volumes... :shock:

it does look good though - found it in our library...

how good was your chinese when you started using this book?

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Learner

Get the "Cheng & Tsui Chinese Character Dictionary", by Wang Huidi. It is an excellent book, similar to the McNaughton book, but in simplified characters. Also, it gives the complete stroke order information for 2000 characters, rather than 1062 as in the McNaughton book (which has 2000 characters, but only 1062 with full stroke order information). You can buy this book online. The link below should take you directly to the book's page in the catalogue. If not, go to the Cheng & Tsui site (www.cheng-tsui.com) and search for it. The price is $19.95 U.S., which is about the same as the McNaughton book.

http://www.cheng-tsui.com/sb_catalog-csm.asp?grp=PC++&item=++++++++0887273149

Best wishes,

Learner

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