I saw this video going around among expats in China and thought I would share it. Embed from youtube below or you can view on ted here:

ShaoLan: Learn to read Chinese ... with ease! 

Basically I think these two comments on Youtube sum up pretty well the 2 main reactions I've heard so far - if you have learned a lot of chinese, then this is nothing more than a good way for beginners to start. if you have no exposure to the language, you might be really impressed by this.

What do you think of the video? Do you agree with either of the people above? 

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Alright Tyson,

I should have already bought this book by now.  I've been waiting for my Amazon points to accumulate but maybe I'll just go for it.  I think a lot of us need some reassurance before plunking down the cash and I'm certainly one of them.  Thanks for the persistent recommendation ; ) 

Hey Tyson.  Real quick - do you do the simplified or traditional?  It seems to me that it might be worth doing the traditional even if you only plan on reading and writing simplified: perhaps the components are better explained through traditional?

I did simplified (am still doing but at 2900 now so nearly done).

I think it's easier to do whatever you are using for other content - I live in Beijing so simplfied made more sense.  Plus I was exposed to it from other courses/learning in the past - but I never learned more than 100 characters before.   Plan to learn traditional later when i have more vocabulary as I think it's easier pick it up based on context and just "get used to it".   I tried to learn both at once it's too complex and I don't recommend it.

Might be easier to memorize the stories with more complex elements in them, but realistically i think exposure is more important.  If you are outside China it might be easier to get content in traditional (e.g. Taiwanese stuff) so I'd go for that.

Thanks Tyson,

I'm having a little bit of a difficulty deciding which to do.  I've been doing simplified just because it's easier.  I think you make a good point about just getting used to it.  After a bit of study I started to realize that the traditional really wasn't all that tough once you knew which radicals you were looking at.  So I think it might be best for me to continue on the simplified path just for the sake of maintaining progress. 

I'm going to congratulate you early here as you approach the 3,000 mark!  I'd love to know what you're overall impressions are of your ability to read and produce characters at this point.  I'm still fumbling around at the 1,000 mark but I'm hoping to be closer to 2,000 by the end of the year. 一步一步来吧!

I find that there are rarely characters I see in daily life that I haven't studied, and 80% of the time I remember them.  The thing is, it's often very slow, but it speeds up over time.

There are quite a few characters I don't know the reading for (the pinyin) but i can remember the meaning.  So I can read comic books and get a good idea of the story, and what people are saying, but would not be able to read it all out loud very well.  I am reading One Piece and TinTin pretty well.

I can read all elementary and most of the intermediate dialogs of ChinesePod and understand them quite well, but if I listen to them it's much harder (unless I read them first).  If I slow down video (I use VLC to do this) I can read the subtitles pretty well (say 75% of them) while people are talking and catch a lot of the meaning of movies/TV (and strengthen knowledge of how to pronounce the words at the same time).

Some newspaper articles I can read (slowly) and get 50% of the meaning - articles about kids or family life are easier.  Still a long way to go on this.

Producing characters - writing is still slow but speeding up and I sometimes write down expressions and phrases that my teacher says in characters rather than pinyin.  It's still much easier to copy characters than write from scratch.  Using pinyin input has improved a lot as I can much more easily select the correct characters.  I can chat on Taobao with merchants with relatively little use of dictionaries.

So now that a big chunk of learning characters is largely done, my study is becoming more about  linking 2/3 characters together to get vocabulary and pronunciation, and ensuring I have good understanding of common grammar items so that I understand sentence meaning better.  That, and practice reading so that my speed increases.

I'm sure you can make your goal!- Add 10 new characters a day and you'll make good progress.

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