Learning Chinese Characters

Mandarin, Books

Revised April 29, 2013

Authors  Alison Matthews, Laurence Matthews
Publisher  Tuttle Publishing
Publication Date  2007
Price  $29.95
Skill Level  Beginner, Intermediate

According to the highly enthusiastic book Learning Chinese Characters, it represents “a revolutionary new way to learn and remember the 800 most basic Chinese characters.”

That’s a lot. There are thousands of characters, but 800 would be an excellent start.

In a very friendly way, Learning Chinese Characters uses imagery to help with memorization of characters as well as with pronunciation. I ultimately read very little of the book during my Chinese unit, because at a certain point, given the time limitations, I decided it would be more productive to focus on oral skills and pinyin, and save the characters for the future.

I did like what I got through of it and found the methodology effective, but I don’t know whether I would have been able to make it through hundreds of characters with this approach. Maybe, maybe not. (Mnemonic schemes tend to get on my nerves.)

Down the road I will try to return to the question of how best to learn Chinese characters on one’s own, and in the meantime, I welcome reader comments on this book and suggestions for other options.

Reducing the Intimidation Factor of Learning Chinese Characters
Reducing the Intimidation Factor of Learning Chinese Characters

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