Been studying for two years now and despite writing characters a lot still struggling to memorise characters. Any thoughts on the best ,learning technique would be welcomed.

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Many Chinese characters are form with few parts. These parts defien the meaning or pronuncation or both of the character.

Could you show some characters that want to remember?

hey Viking - 

I personally did not feel like I was making much progress until I went back to basics, learned stroke order & started writing them out by hand. Something about the 'tactile' nature of it made the characters far easier to later recall accurately. My problem with just flashcards or apps was too many characters would look the same later on so I could guess sometimes but was not sure. Forcing yourself to learn radicals & how to write it worked best for me.

You should check out these posts / discussions as well for others' opinions.

What is the best way to learn Chinese characters?

Is there a wrong way to learn Chinese?

I agree!

Hello Viking. Brandon is right. Simply using flashcards to memorize randomly is not quite effective, considering the amount of characters to be learned. The most effective way to memorize characters,  or anything for that matter, is association (but I think you already knew that). The wider the scope of experience you incorporate in memorizing (e.g visual association, writing and/or sound) the better the characters will stick. There are many resources which can aid you in this respect.  You should definitely check out this splendid book called "Fun With Chinese Characters" which comes in three volumes. It accompanies each character to be learned with an amusing story and graphic about it and stroke order for writing. After learning a few characters (like 10 or s0) you can then use flashcards with a program like Anki to study the cards you have learned, slowly progressing and increasing the flashcards as you learn them.

I'm using flashcards at memrise, and memrise is certainly good at what it does, but single words in isolation don't give you practice at making sentences with them. It's food for the dictionary at the back of your head, but I remind myself to do other things like come to this site and try to make sentences.

Memorizing hanzi characters and lrarning the language two different business.
Learning a language lays on 3 base:

I have used for about two years and I think it is great, also I realize that since you will be somewhat forced to write in correct stroke order, you will end up with a muscle memory helping out remembering the character - sometimes I'm not sure I remember, but once started writing the character I recall it.

(I have used Skritter on computer with bamboo tablet with pen and on iphone using finger as pen).

Thanks for all your comments, really helpful. My greatest challenge is words with two characters but think it may just involve increasing my repetitions.will also look at using association as suggested and spending more time on sentence construction.

I can share you with the way I learnt the chinese character.I correspended with chinese friends and also took texts written using the characters and converted it to pinyin with applications available on the net.then i read the characters allong with the pinyin/i did it for a few month and this way i started to recognize and remember more and more of them.allong with this i started to use the pin input method to write the chinese characters while corresponding with chinese and taiwanese friends.this was the best way for me to learn and remember the characters.this method is not good enough if you want to learn how to handwriting them.then you need to practice and practice.practice makes perfect....

Hi Viking,

I think the best way - which is also scientificially backed up - is to go with mnemonics. See every Chinese chacter is made up of different components. These components all have their own meaning and pronunciation. So a good start is that when you want to tackle learning a new character, to first analyse its components. Look them up, bring some logic in there. If you do that for every character, you will learn their components automatically. No need to actually learn the components on their own. When it comes to remembering those characters for good, I'd recommend making up stories that involve the meaning of the components and the character.

Here's an easy example: 好 (good) is made up of 女 (woman) and 子 (child). I guess in ancint China it was considered to be a very good thing for women to have children. See if you concentrate on learning to write those 200+ components, then learning this character this way will be super easy.

There are actually books out there that provide you with a way to learn 3000 characters in a short time. E.g. the book by Heisig, you can google it. Recently I also discovered an app using this approach to teach Chinese characters (

I hope this makes things easier for you. Have fun learning :-)


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