There are two character sets: Simplified Chinese characters
Chinese (正體字 or 繁體字). Traditional Chinese was the
writing used in much of
Chinese history, and continues to be used in Hong Kong,
China, Taiwan and among overseas Chinese; Simplified Chinese was the
reforms carried out in Mainland China and is now used in Mainland
China and Singapore.
There are some large differences between these two character systems,
so most native
Chinese speakers are able to write in only one of the two systems,
though they can usually read
Chinese characters were also been used in the past by many
Asia Ancient Koreans knew how to
read and write in Chinese and they
also regarded Chinese their official language in the past, until they have
made Korean characters their own language. However, until now they
can still write their
names in Chinese. The Japanese still preserve many Chinese characters
(they call it Kanji,
which means 漢字) today. They also write their names in Kanji.
However, some Chinese
characters are developed by themselves which are different from the
original Chinese characters.
If you have no prior knowledge of Chinese, but are
willing to take Chinese as a
Look for Mandarin Course that has a combination of
newvocabulary and new grammar in a gradual fashion, building on previous
· Pay attention to the tones. Since there are so few syllables
in Chinese, there are
many homonyms, making attention to tones very important. Learning to
pinyin with correct tones at the same time as the characters will
improve your ronunciation and your listening comprehension.
· Read the text aloud. Speaking (and hearing yourself
speaking) will help
reinforce the text in your memory. Exaggerating the tones can help
for radicals. Radicals are
components of Chinese characters that
you will see repeated over and over again. Learning the meaning
radicals will help you to see the connections between similar
of words. Many characters are comprised of radical-phonetic
where the radical is the "root" that hints at the meaning of the
while another part of the character hints at the sound of the
Learning to spot radicals is also useful as they are used when
unfamiliar words in Chinese dictionaries.
· Buy a
dictionary. Useful for looking up new words or just browsing.
Get a beginner's dictionary so that you can have a larger font,
examples and Pinyin pronunciation, all of which are sometimes
in comprehensive dictionaries. Get a second dictionary later on if
can't find every word you need. A good choice that provides many
sentences and phrases would be The Starter Oxford Chinese
Dictionary (sorry, Simplified version only).
· Children's story books (the characters are easier, many include pinyin
or zhuyin for difficult or even all characters)
· Take a look at various condensed dictionaries to get a feel for