How to Remember Chinese Characters

Posted by Lilian Li on 12/11/2015 10:23 PM 3526

It is well known that Chinese characters already had five thousand years history . It is the one of the three oldest character systems in the world and used by the largest number of people. Its invention represents the wisdom of the Chinese nation. And it is the carriers of Chinese culture.

In order to help more and more people easy to understand and remember Chinese characters, first we have to know the origins, elements and explanations behind the formation of the Chinese Characters. Or take the Chinese character course for the system learning.

There are a lot of legends about the origins of character. But the famous one is about “Cang Jie” who is worked for a founding hero--- Huángdì. Cang Jie was in charged of a lot of things in that era without any script. Everyday he has to remember and record. So he came up with a way which using rope to record the number. But it has limitations. One day, he walked in a forest and saw some tracks of animal. He suddenly found inspiration. A footprint represent a beast, why can't I use a symbol to represent what I manage. Then Cang Jie start to create a lot of different symbols like below picture.

learn chinese character Cang Jie

Actually we have a total of 6 kinds of word-formation methods. But there are 4 main ways you have to know it, it is good for students to understand charterers.

1. Hieroglyphic 象形(xiànɡxínɡ)

Using a symbolic symbols to be a word. As below :

learn chinese character hieroglyphic

2. Self-explanatory characters 指事(zhǐshì)

Using symbolic symbols or a graphic symbols with indicative signs to represent the meaning of word.

Self-explanatory characters

3. Semasiography 会意(huìyì)

Two or more words combined a new word, the meaning of new word are also combined by individual words. So the learner can based on the composition of word to understand the meaning and will be more easy to remember it.

Semasiography learn chinese character

4. Phonogram.形声(xínɡshēnɡ)

Two or more words combined a new word, a word is responsible for the category of things, another is responsible for the sounds of things.

learn chinese character Phonogram

After you get the method of making characters as above .It will be more easy to help you understand the meaning and remember each parts of it. Meanwhile you will find a lot of fun in learning Chinese. But these ways are just auxiliary function, if you want to master Chinese characters accurately, you have to read, write and practice a lot in daily life.

Still find it difficult to remember Chinese character? Ask our teachers here!

About The Author

Lilian Li

Lilian has a master’s degree in linguistics and didactics from Rennes University in France. An expert in linguistics and educational psychology, she has taught Chinese as a foreign language for several years, primarily in France. Her classes follow a logical and thorough path to ensure students build a methodology of learning that will continue to help them improve their language ability. She likes jogging, swimming, partying, and hang out with friends! Learn Chinese online with Lilian Li >>

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