Chinese mnemonics and annotator

Trouble with Chinese characters?

The extensive reading method described above works for any language of your choosing. Before you can commence the vast reading, however, there is a small prerequisite: you have to be able to recognize the letters of the text you want to read. This is trivial for European languages - even if you are going for Greek or Russian, you can master their alphabet in one afternoon. But Chinese characters turn out to be quite a challenge.

Learning by rote?
Forget it.

Let me give you an example: The characters and : One is pronounced the other - the same, just a different tone. Both look quite similar, and this is no unique exception. Learning by rote could work if there were only a couple of characters. But there are thousands of such characters. You would start confusing them after learning fifty of them. (Was it suí or suī?) How are you supposed to remember this all?

There is a secret that can boost your memory. The trick is to use a different part of your brain than people usually use for memorizing. Think about this: how many places have you seen? If you came to one of these many places again, would you remember being there already? Of course. And you did not have to spend time memorizing, it just sticks to your head.

Why is it not the same with the Chinese characters? Well, it can be. Learning Chinese characters can be (almost) so effortless as remembering the storyline of a movie you are watching (and even so much fun).

Just imagine a video clip would teach you the meaning, pronunciation (including tone) and even how to write each character! Well, you don't actually watch a video clip, you imagine it. The story is built so that it allows deducing the translation and sound of the character.

What I am talking about is the learning system as described in Learning Chinese Characters. (You can read the full explanation of the system for free in the online preview.) I learned all the characters that were available in the preview - after that I ordered the book without hesitation.

Some people prefer to built their own from the scratch. But even in that case I would suggest peeking in that book - to get some inspiration.

Then, after finishing the book, I needed mnemonics for all the other characters that I wanted to learn. The first 800 characters were enough to start reading, but honestly it is still just the beginning. I couldn't find any mnemonics for the less common characters, so I started writing my own mnemonics. And I remember it was quite a trouble, since I needed quite some time to come up with creative ideas.

That is why I've decided to publish them. (I've learned over 4500 characters, so it is quite a collection.) And that is one of the reasons for this website: everybody can write (and optionally share) the mnemonics. Hopefully will the content on this site boost your Chinese studies!