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A Radical View of Chinese Characters

a radical way, to learn Chinese Nature to divine script (language) 生 Ceremonies Students who learn radicals have significantly better recall of Chinese characters than those who don't.' 知 Chinese radicals are like Lego™ bricks that snap together to make new characters. snap! Society woman mom horse 3. Here are reasons why learning Chinese radicals is easier than you think. Picture this. It's easier to remember pictures than text, and more than a third of Chinese radicals are pictographs-pictures of what they represent. That makes learning and remembering radicals faster and easier. pictographs 目 Strokes of genius. Almost half of radicals have fewer than 5 strokes, so writing Chinese radicals is often easier than writing words in English. person VS. 3 E Learn organically. All Chinese characters are rooted in radicals. Learn the radicals with the largest family trees because you'll be seeing them over and over again. 名 岁 殖 死 Can you spot the character in each of the characters on the tree? Take a radical approach... In "A Radical View," 182 radicals are color-coded by theme (like Nature, Society, Body), then arranged to Show connections that weave together stories of an ancient time. It's available free at Learn the larger-font radicals first.. these are pictographs with relatively few strokes and large family trees. A Radical View morning woman 鼓 rain drum flute mother 父 corpse sacrifical wine tripod father moon (month) child dusk death (evil) clan Nature illness fire to divine script (language) Ceremonies elder birth, life (grow; long) brush 王 Society minister scholar king person Each theme connects characters and paints a vivid image of life in ancient China, Pictures rule. king In learning, vision trumps all other senses, and pictures beat text.² 马 horse That's why every radical has a picture to boost your recall. And that means faster learning and better grades. woman Characters in motion. Our brains are hard-wired to pay attention to things that move.? That's why our characters move. The character for heart U beats, fire K blazes, fly & flies, and cow + moos. Get your free radicals at Sources: ITaft, Marcus and Kevin Chung, University of South Wales, Australia. "Using Radicals in Teaching Chine se Characters to Second Language Learners." Psychologia, 1999, 42, 243-251. 2Medina, John. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. Seattle: Pear Press, 2008. Print. Heath, Chip and Dan Heath. Made to Sti ck: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. New York: Random House, 2007. Print. gotCharacters Chinese made to stick • [email protected]

A Radical View of Chinese Characters

shared by kathferg on Feb 09
Growth in the number of people learning Mandarin as a second language is exploding. Find out how learning radicals--the building blocks of the Chinese language--is easier than you think.


Kathleen Ferguson


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