Posted by Grace Feng on September 13, 2012
If you’re learning Chinese on this blog like most other readers you can’t skip this post. The reason being the way a native Chinese “spell” his/her name to others is exactly the way the characters of his/her name being memorized. The others would easily get what the name is from the “spelling” because that’s a common way to memorize and recall a character among natives.
What you can gain from this knowledge is that you can gradually train your brain to memorize Chinese characters the same way.
Let’s jump right into an example first. Mr Zhang’s name is 张权宝 zhāng quán bǎo. This is how he would “spell” his name to others:
zhāng quán bǎo， gōng cháng zhāng， quán， mù zì páng jiā gè yòu， bǎo， bǎo gàitóu xiàyīge yù
In English he’s saying:
张权宝，弓长张，权，wood radical (木) plus 又, 宝, lid radical (宀) with a 玉 under it.
See how a Chinese character is being deconstructed? As a matter of fact, that is exactly the way a character is memorized in a native Chinese’s mind. When someone is having difficulty recalling a certain character, it’s likely that maybe the radical is being retrieved, or the other part is retrieved in one’s head, but the rest is lost.
Then what does that tells you about how you should memorize Chinese characters? Well, if you have only learned one or two hundreds of characters, you don’t need to bother that much what radicals they have. But if you’re moving towards thousand milestone, then memorizing the commonly used “meaning radicals” would definitely increase your efficiency a lot. So far I’ve introduced 45 radicals in the series of “Chinese radical show“. There are about another 10 more to go, then we’re done. Once I finish, I will post a one page “meaning radical ” table with links to each single one, so you can learn all of them in one place.
After that, you’ll see a new series be published on this blog to help you learn Chinese characters in groups (with connections between meaning radicals, pronunciation and sound radical). A redoable online quiz will also be included in each lesson. I’m hoping that this series will help ambitious Chinese learners to increase their efficiency in learning, recognizing and memorizing Chinese characters.
Category: Learn Chinese tips and strategies
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