Highly recommended - Mnemonics, multiple pictures for stroke order and details for each character's difficulty level give this book a completely different approach from the others I own.
Feel free to change the Amazon.com URL from .com to your language of choice. Odds are good that it'll be available from another amazon.foo website.
Size - 15.5cm x 23cm x 2cm. This is a book you'd have in your library and not your backpack.
Cover - Traditional fragile paperback.
Pages - Bright white and thick paper. The reverse-side's text isn't visible in most circumstances.
Font - Spectacular. This was done without compromise. Tables have lines, there's lots of white space, the text is big and bold where it needs to be and thin where it ought to be.
This book does have Traditional Chinese characters. I was worried this would clutter the entries, but it's tucked out of the way to the lower-right of an entry.
The chart of modern radicals
- Presumably they mean contemporary radicals, not radicals from the Modern era (16th century).
- The preface goes over the types of testing, number of characters and timelines for learning.
Student's guide - the writing system, a detailed explanation of the dictionary entries, writing the characters, pronunciation. There's more, and it's brief but good.
- The pronunciation is poorly-structured, but very detailed. Langenscheidt Pocket Dictionary Mandarin Chinese - (2011 book)[doesn't exist] has a much simpler list.
1,067 basic characters.
- Each character is numbered, the number of strokes is stated, and there's a detailed breakdown with pictures of each stroke as it would be drawn.
- These are not exactly words, but the basics which are integrated into other characters. Each entry is given its pinyin pronunciation where possible, and a good description. Multiple examples are often given.
- A mnemonic or other study-aid is given, to help the reader understand where a character comes from, warn them to not confuse one character with another, etc.
- Entries also have a Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi level listed. The idea is that a beginner could skim through the book and skip over anything which isn't at their level of study.
- A Traditional Chinese character is given where needed.
Remaining characters of the "A" list, the "B" list and the "C" list.
- More of the same. The breakdown of A/B/C is to help a beginner
- Pinyin index. Pinyin -> Chinese character -> page number.
- Stroke index. Chinese character -> pinyin -> page number.
The chart of traditional radicals.
Other notes ∞
There are different ways to use this book.
- It's sort of like a dictionary so you can look some things up.
- It can be read in order. The order of items was chosen so that each item builds on earlier items. It is often true that when looking at an item, there are component parts right beforehand, earlier on that page or just recently reviewed.
- It can be read with a focus on a specific stroke order or range of stroke orders. Strokes 1-6 are are said to be the important radicals to learn.
It can be read with a focus on the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) level you're interested in.
So far, the most interesting way I've been using this book is to "read" it in order, just to get passing familiarity. Afterwards I will start again, focusing on actual study of just HSK 1 items.
This book is so impressive, that it would easily inspire flash cards! It's too bad I've already printed out Chinese flash cards of my own design. Making flash cards with just radicals may be very difficult, but I may do this in the future.. if I get into teaching or some such.
How long can it take to learn Chinese? ∞
- 226 radicals, to be learned in order (1-6 strokes, at least)
- zi = characters
ci = words -- many words are a single character, some are two, some rare ones are four.
|List A - year 1||1,033 ci||needing 800 zi|
|List B - years 1/2||2,018 ci||804 additional zi|
|List C - year 2||2,202 ci||590 additional zi (11 supplementary zi)|
|years 1-2 total||5,253 ci total||2,205 zi total|
|List D - years 3-4||3,569 ci||700 additional zi|
They say that the average student, with a 16-week semester can learn 7 zi a day (35/week).
At the end of the second semester (first year), all of the A-List and some of the B-List can be learned.
At the end of the third semester, the remaining B-List can be learned.
At the end of the fourth semester (second year), all of the C-list can be learned.