Monday, November 09, 2009

Learning Chinese Characters

For some reason I have had a very bad attitude towards learning Chinese characters (hanzi). I started with the PC hanzi book and gave up after only two chapters. I felt discouraged at not being able to write the characters. For some reason, I had this idea that in order to learn characters I would have to be able to write them.

Learning Chinese vocabulary has so many steps:
1. Learn how to read pinyin
2. Remember the tones
3. Learn how to read hanzi
4. Learn how to write hanzi

So far I have only semi-mastered step 1 and I still sometimes make mistakes when I read pinyin.

This past week I had an epiphany.

To learn Chinese characters one does not have to write them. You can just read them and learn them through recognition!

I wish I had realized that earlier.

I can use a computer to do my homework instead of having to actually write out the characters. This makes learning the Chinese characters a lot easier! Yay!


alison said...

Yeah, character recognition was my strong point as far as Hanzi. Nick and I had a student copy down a full restaurant menu and we memorized it - the best thing I ever did. Not useful for reading the newspaper, but good for the belly.

Dr. Jen said...

For the past year and a half I have just relied on my sitemate to read the menu for me. Or else I point and ask the waiter what it is.

Memorizing a whole Chinese menu is crazy cool! Chinese menus are super long.