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How to learn Chinese characters as beginners

Chinese characters are exceptionally beautiful, and essential in mastering Mandarin Chinese. However, that doesn't make them easier to learn for beginners, it just gives you the motivation to keep going.  


In this article, we're trying to summarize some tips on learning Chinese characters as beginners.


1. Photographic memory 摄影式记忆

Learning Chinese characters can be hard in the beginning, simply because you have nothing to link the new information to.

刚开始学汉字会很难,原因很简单 – 因为你看着汉字联想不到什么。

Try to commit the characters to your real memory, so that your brain can recall how to write them when your hands cannot. That's where it helps to have a photographic memory, or even any kind of memory that's good with pictures. 


2. Flashcard 学习卡

Downloading a flashcard program for your phone, creating paper flashcards, pasting the characters all over your apartment and writing them on your hands are all good places to start. Studying isn't only done in front of your desk. Diversifying your learning will vastly increase the time you can spend learning characters.


3. Sign up for a language course 报语言课

If you need some extra motivation or feel you would learn better in a more formal setting, try signing up for a Chinese language course.


4. Watch Chinese films and cartoons 看中文电影和动画片

Get your hands on some Chinese films (with subtitles) or watch Chinese cartoons online. This is an easy, entertaining way to get a feel for the sound and structure of the Mandarin Chinese language. 


Once you know how to write the character, write it until you can write the entire character without thinking too much. This is just to familiarize yourself with the hand motions involved and will help improve your handwriting in general. It makes sense to go from basic characters to more complex ones. This is very good for beginners. 


Learning Chinese characters takes quite a lot of time and effort, but it's not as hard as it might seem at first.


The article is translated and editted by Chinlingo. Please indicate the source for any use, reproduction or transfer. 



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