HELPFUL HINTS FOR STUDENTS
Welcome! Are you ready to begin learning to read and write Chinese characters? For hints on how to get the best results from this material, find the section that applies to your learning situation.
For those taking their first-year Chinese language course
Your teacher will provide you with assignments that will guide you through the material. Follow your teacherís instructions, and ask your teacher for help when you encounter difficulties.
For those wanting to review, or to gain a more comprehensive understanding of characters
You may have had a tough time learning characters in the past. This is a common experience. This material will help you overcome whatever bad experiences you may have had. Here are some suggestions to help you conquer characters:
- Bad habits are hard to correct at first. Be prepared to start fresh and begin from the first chapter as if you knew nothing about characters.
- Donít skip the early chapters. In Chapters 2 and 3, be sure to take the time to learn the names of the strokes and the rules of stroke order.
- Be sure to learn the radicals.
- Put the learning and review strategies into practice.
- Make a seven-column character learning chart as illustrated in Chapter 5. Test yourself and see if you can supply all the information for each character.
- Study the word compound examples for each character.
- Be able to recognize both traditional and simplified forms of a character.
- Review the characters regularly.
- Read character materials such as simple stories, nursery rhymes, and poems.
For those who speak some Chinese and wish to study characters on their own
This material is right for you. If you already know how to speak some Chinese, learning how to write characters is a skill that you can accomplish either with a teacher or on your own.
General guidelines for all students
The most crucial factor for your success is you! You must be committed. Learning to write characters also requires a high level of patience and attention to detail. We have put together a step-by-step program with learning strategies that can help you learn characters efficiently and help you retain what you learn.
Start by reading Chapter 1. If you can understand the content in this chapter, you should be able to use this material to teach yourself how to write characters. If you have trouble understanding Chapter 1, you should reconsider your plan. You may want to sign up for a beginning Chinese course or get help from a tutor.
In order to use this material effectively, it is extremely important to complete all the Web work and handwriting practice. It would be ideal if you could find a teacher or someone literate in Chinese to check your work after you complete each chapter.
Things to do before beginning
If you do not know Hanyu Pinyin, learn it before you start using this textbook. Look for an instructional website to help you learn this romanization system. If you are already familiar with another phonetic notation system such as Zhuyin Fuhao or Wade-Giles, learn how to convert the symbols to Hanyu Pinyin.
- Make sure your computer is able to play audio files and view Flash pages.
Suggestions for getting the most out of your study plan
- You should study characters regularly for about one hour each day. Studying regularly for an hour five days a week is better than studying one day a week for five hours.
- You should find a space that is quiet and free from interruptions. Supply it with all the material you need (computer, printer, paper, pencils, etc.).
- If you know others who are using this material to teach themselves characters, form a study group and share the most helpful study methods.
- You should be able to pronounce each character example accurately. This is an area where you might want to seek the help of a native speaker of Chinese or a Chinese teacher.
- After you study Chapter 7, you should decide which character form (traditional or simplified) to study. After you make your decision, stick to it. You must know how to write one form but be able to read both forms.
- Search the Web and your local library for reading material that matches your literacy level.
Our best wishes to you in your studies!