Want to Learn Characters? Here Are Some Tips to Get You Started
Chinese language is made up of lots of characters-more than 50000! Now for some good news: You only need to know ~2000 characters for basic literacy. That's more like it!
Have you started learning characters? Many students feel overwhelmed by the task. We're here to make it easier for you. Take a look at two tips to get you started.
Figure Out How It Fits Together
Although they may initially look like noodle soup, characters are exceedingly logical. Each character represents one syllable. They are words on their own, or they pair up with another character to make a more complex word.
Characters themselves are combinations of radicals, the simplest building blocks of the written language. Ready for some good news?
There are just over 214 radicals—and even less than that are used in simplified Chinese. That means once you have an idea about some of those radicals, you can make educated guesses about the meaning of more complex characters.
Check out an example of how this works below. Here's a radical:
木 (mù)
= wood
See how it looks like a little tree? Adorable!
林 (lín)
= woods
Makes sense. Line up a couple of 木's and you've got woods!
森 (sēn)
= forest
Then line up a more 木's and you've got a forest!
Once you figure out this pattern, you can dissect characters you may not be familiar with into radicals that you already know. After a bit of detective work, you can discover the character's mysterious identity!
Pinyin Is Your Péngyǒu
Chances are good that you've heard of Pinyin. In the simplest of terms, it's romanized Chinese. And it can be very useful, since learners don't know how to pronounce all the characters right away. Pinyin is also used by Google Translate, a tool that makes itself a fast friend of every language learner.
Pinyin isn't without it's controversy though. You see, some learners feel that Pinyin is a plague to be avoided, a crutch that hinders more than it helps.
Truth be told, Pinyin is just that a helpful, supportive crutch that can get you pronouncing words correctly before you know the characters themselves. And just like any crutch, once you strengthen your linguistic skills, you can toss Pinyin away and just work off of those lovely pictographs.
There has never been a better time to learn Chinese Characters online! Let us help you reach your Chinese goals. Book a free trial lesson today.

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