Learning Chinese Characters
Revised April 29, 2013
Authors Alison Matthews, Laurence Matthews
Publisher Tuttle Publishing
Publication Date 2007
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.