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How to Study Chinese Signs

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Whether you are studying Chinese or Japanese, the task of memorizing thousands of Chinese characters (汉字 - hànzì) or their Japanese version (漢字 - kanji) can seem very intimidating - and indeed, it requires a lot of work. However, there are ways of making it easier and there are many methods designed to memorize the signs; these methods shall be presented on this page!

The basic "write until you die" method Edit

As a student majoring in Japanese studies I am assigned 100 signs to learn every month or so. We are provided with materials consisting of a list of new characters, all the possible reading for each of them and examples of compounds, idioms, proverbs and so on. My method of approaching these materials is such that First I browse through all the materials and mark things particularly important/difficult with a highlighter (I use a couple of different colors for that). Secondly I do flashcards and input the main thing to Mnemosyne. You can also do some separate notes while you're at it. After that I walk around my room and read all the materials very carefully out aloud. Don't miss the examples of usage, look for synonyms and antonyms. While at any doubt - refer to a dictionary. Next step is to write out every new character (at least a couple of times) and the new vocabulary. Don't be afraid to write "in capital letters", the bigger those signs are - the better. And then it comes time for revision with your flashcards and Mnemosyne. Whenever you fail to remember a particular reading or shape of a character - write it out again and again! Take your notes and flashcards with you at all times!

Plain Old Flash Cards Edit

While it is time consuming to create them, it is a well-worth effort. You do not only get to read through all your materials but also you can do the cards in a form you like the best and is most effective for you. There are different types of flashcards. Nowadays more and more people use software like Anki or Mnemosyne.

Heisig - Remembering the Kanji Edit

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