Many language learners think that Chinese characters are the most difficult part of Chinese language learning. But if you find a way to learn Chinese Hanzi characters efficiently, learning characters will be the most interesting part of Chinese language learning. And at the same time, Chinese character learning is very important because it can help you understand more composite words. When your characters achieve a certain level, you can sometimes guess the meaning and pronunciation of new words without problems.
Let’s take a look at how to remember Chinese characters
Let’s first see how many Chinese Hanzi characters you need to learn.
- HSK1: 172 Hanzi characters
- HSK2: 344 Hanzi characters
- HSK3: 622 Hanzi characters
- HSK4: 1027 Hanzi characters (in total)
And you need to start slowly or at a normal pace. Normally it is very enough to learn about 30-40 Chinese characters per week and within 10 weeks you will know 300-400 characters.
A good beginning is half of the success, so you need to have a professional start. GoEast Mandarin is eager to help you have a good and organized start. Our Chinese Hanzi Characters course is well designed over the past 8 years of teaching Chinese and characters. The Hanzi course teaches all the Chinese characters from HSK1 and HSK2 into stories in order of difficulty. Each chapter you’ll learn 36 new Chinese Hanzi characters, and then you can acquire more Chinese characters little by little just by reading and recognizing them. After finishing GoEast’s Hanzi course, you know 365 Chinese Hanzi characters, and you’ll be able to read 60% of a Chinese article.
After that, you’ll form your own habits of memorizing Chinese characters. The number of new characters will be double during your HSK3 learning and double again when you achieve HSK4. But all the radicals and other components are from what you’ve learned during your first stage, so it won’t be as difficult. And after HSK4, you will know 1200 words and 1000 characters and you can read 90% of one Chinese article without any problem.
What kind of characters to learn first?
Let’s show you 2 characters. 日 and 晴, which one you think is easy to start? Of course the left one. Characters like 日 is called pictographic character and they are from the shape of something from nature. You can sometimes even tell what is that from the shape of this character.
After that, you learn the Chinese Hanzi characters that are commonly used in our daily life, such as ‘谢谢’ (thank you), ‘喝’ (to drink), and ‘冰'(ice).
More complex Chinese characters
What can you do with the more complex Chinese characters? First, you need to look at its structure. In fact, Chinese characters have several structures, such as:
- ‘早’ (morning):up-down structure
- ‘打’ (to hit):left-right structure
- ‘回’ (to return): surrounding structure
- ‘起'(up) and ‘医’ (to cure): half surrounding structure
For example, the Chinese character of 打 is a left-right structure. On the left side is the hand action meaning. On the right, you can use your imagination for example it looks like a hammer, right? And bingo, its original meaning indeed is to hit something.
And during your 365 characters learning, you’ll learn most of the radicals and their meanings. There will be around 40 radicals in total in this period. What’s more, you can read most of the Chinese characters because you know a lot of commonly used phonetic elements. Therefore, you will be able to guess the meaning and pronunciation of new characters you will encounter in the future.
Hanzi Stroke order
You may also have one more question, is Chinese character stroke order important as well? It depends. I think stroke order helps you write better-looking characters, and faster. But to be honest: also Chinese language teachers with a master’s degree in language sometimes write a character with the wrong stroke order without noticing it. So don’t worry about the strokes too much. And if you want to know each character stroke order, here is the recommendation: use Pleco or an app called Chinese Stroke Order.
How to memorize Hanzi
Finally, you may want to ask, how can we keep memorizing Chinese characters? Here is my advice: you can try to find books that are ‘graded Chinese reading’, which can help you develop the ability to recognize Chinese characters, but also gradually improve your Chinese level. Of course, you can also choose websites or mobile apps good for learning Chinese, such as Du Chinese. Of course, many people learn more about Chinese Hanzi characters by watching Chinese movies with subtitles.
These are all my suggestions for Chinese characters learning. And hope they help or at least make your Chinese character learning more interesting or clear. Are you ready for learning them? Come to GoEast Mandarin and start your Chinese Hanzi character learning journey with us!