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Mastering Chinese characters doesn't need to be hard.
With this 2nd edition of chinEASE, learn to read quickly, write confidently, and start to really recognize Chinese characters faster than you ever thought possible.
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With This Guide, You Will Discover How To...
Really Grasp Chinese Characters
Though you may have been studying the language for a while, use this guidebook to finally get a solid grasp on how Chinese characters are read, written, and pronounced.
Comprehend the World Around You
Never get lost again while traveling. Successfully read street signs and maps. Understand Chinese menus for yourself …and what you’re really ordering!
Communicate Better with People You Meet
Being able to read Chinese, you’ll not only become more confident with your communication, but you’ll also broaden relations by proving that you actually have an interest in the culture of the Chinese people you’re talking with.
chinEASE will guide you through the foundation and provide you with the necessary tools to learn hundreds, if not thousands of Chinese characters. You’ll also learn interesting words and phrases, as well as Chinese culture and history along the way. If you want to learn how to read and write Chinese, I highly recommend it as your guide!Fiona Tian Host of ChinesePod.com
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Are Chinese Characters Actually Hard to Learn?
You've probably been trying your best to learn Chinese. Maybe it's for a college course or maybe you just found it interesting and thought you'd give it a try. Learning this language is a great idea, so good for you for starting! No doubt you've heard people remark how Chinese is going to be very important in the 21st century -- China's century.
However, those same people might have forgotten to tell you that learning Chinese characters is not necessarily a walk in the park, and you might have only discovered this after you started.
You've probably seen by now that it can be a challenge to remember all the correct pen strokes -- if you can make out the individual strokes at all. And how can you possibly know what any of them actually mean or how they're pronounced?
Maybe you're not only trying to read, but to also write. Great challenge, but I'm sure it wasn't easy at first, right? Maybe it's still not. I'm betting a lot of the characters you're writing are pretty uneven and lop-sided. Don't worry though -- mine were too when I first started learning Chinese.
The good news is that learning Chinese doesn't have to be this difficult. And it can even be fun to learn!
What if you could learn it for yourself without the trouble that comes when trying to remember all those new characters?
You can become the language expert you want to be! Maybe even impress a few people while you're at it. In no time you'll learn how to read, write, and understand Chinese characters without pulling your hair out or giving up on the first try.
Use this guidebook to see how Chinese characters are actually very methodical in their makeup and how each character you need to learn doesn't in fact have a unique form from all the other thousands out there.
How Many Characters Are Necessary to Function in Chinese?
Although 2500-3000 is the “recommended” amount, you might be surprised to know that you can actually get by with far less. In fact, if you know just 200 characters, you’ll be able to recognize about 50% of the writing you come across.
If you increase that number to 1000, you’ll already be at 90%, and that’s a huge jump! Increase again to just 2500 characters and that lands you all the way at 98%.
Consider that the average educated Chinese person knows 5000-8000 characters and I think you can start to see how knowing even just 1000 of them, or about 1/5 of this amount, already allows you to recognize most of the characters (90%) used in China on a daily basis.
You don’t need to be any type of language genius to get along just fine in Chinese!
When it comes down to it, you have the potential to learn a lot quickly, and while increasing the number of characters you can recognize will obviously help you understand more and more of what you see, all you need is just a couple hundred to get yourself started.
And with the better understanding you’ll get from this book about how Chinese characters are formed, you’ll learn how to start reading every character for yourself, even far beyond the initial 1200 presented here!
This guide “teaches a man to fish” -- to actually provide you with a deep understanding of how and why Chinese characters are written like they are -- rather than just throwing some random characters at you and making you memorize them blindly!
What If I've Never Learned Any Chinese Before?
In order to help you see why Chinese characters are written like they are today, this guide also goes into depth about how they have changed over time -- this will help show you how to better understand their current forms.
For example, as you can see displayed directly below, these four Chinese characters look quite different.
However, upon further inspection, you might come to realize that they’re actually just different forms of the same character!
Look at the character on the far left-hand side. You don’t need a good imagination to guess that it’s just a drawing of a sideways horse. And in actual fact, this is how the character for horse was written about 3500 years ago.
All characters originally used to quite clearly represent the objects that people saw in everyday life, kind of like the simple drawings that you or I might sketch on a napkin or a piece of paper.
However, they also changed over time, and "horse" is written today like the character on the far right-hand side of the image (but you can still see the four legs at the bottom, and the long tail at the back!)
While no one is expecting you to learn these ancient character forms, this guidebook explains many of these gradual shifts to the present so that you'll be able to better understand the modern forms that you will need to learn.
You’ll see that Chinese characters do indeed have a predetermined design and that you too can easily learn to understand them.
chinEASE is a delightful, absorbing, and interesting introduction to Chinese characters which especially appeals to me as a late learner of the language who is still struggling with absorbing the fascinating cultural differences between Chinese and English. Its approach to providing clear and simple explanations of how characters were developed and how they are constructed and used in everyday situations helps put everything into perspective for me and makes one feel that reading Chinese isn’t nearly as daunting as might be feared when first starting in this language.Jack Feka Retired Entrepreneur
Chinese Writing is Actually Rather Straightforward
Although there are probably more than 50,000 characters out there that have been used throughout time, only a few thousand are regularly used today, and probably even less if you're doing more simple tasks that only require certain types of characters.
This is good news for you, since the characters needed, for example, to read a menu, are often similar and easy to learn.
Remember how I said above that many characters share a small set of common parts? On a menu, these parts might indicate animals, so the characters for chicken, turkey, and pheasant would all have a part indicating "bird" within them. If you knew how to spot this "bird", you would know right away that the menu item you're looking at is a type of bird dish, and probably without even having ever seen these characters before either!
The character above is the character for eternal, or yǒng, and the picture on the right shows the order in which the strokes are written. If you want to write properly in Chinese, you'll need to learn this skill for every character in the language.
Sound like a big task? Well, it isn't actually. And chinEASE shows you why.
Chapter 7 goes into great detail about how, although they may not all look the same, all Chinese characters are actually written from top to bottom and from left to right. The character above here is no exception. Just count the order of the strokes and see for yourself.
Peek Inside the Guidebook
In Chapter 1, you start by being eased into a basic understanding of some of the most widely used characters and how they all actually just look like pictures that you or I might doodle on a napkin.
In Chapter 3, we start to break characters down and see exactly how they have transformed from “doodles” to the forms they have today.
In Chapter 7, you’ll learn why Chinese characters have specific spacing properties to them and how they are actually more straightforward than a block of English text.
You’ll also see how to properly write characters with their correct stroke orders (something many students really struggle with!), so this section will prove to be indispensable.
Chapter 9 details the different types of Chinese punctuation. You’ll see several differences from English, but through the detailed usage of example after example, you’ll thoroughly understand these new parts of writing in a flash!
Chapter 10 is your mega goldmine. I’m sure you know how varied a Chinese menu can actually be. With this in-depth chapter, you will come away understanding not only the most important characters for ordering your favorite dishes, but also how to understand those slightly more exotic foods not found here at home.
Duck feet? Beef tongue? Pork ear? Knowing how to recognize the characters for these foods is especially important if you’re not interested in eating them. This way you’ll know how to avoid them completely!
Chapter 11 will definitely help you when it comes to conducting business. Understanding what is written on a client’s business card is essential if you want to make an impact.
With this chapter, you will discover how to successfully locate a person’s name on a Chinese business card, their position, and their address, as well as a whole host of the most common Chinese surnames and positions within a company.
Additionally, this guidebook also includes several detailed appendices that contain information about pinyin, or the method of writing Chinese characters with the English alphabet, as well as a chart that includes information on every possible sound combination in the Mandarin Chinese language (hint: the number is far less than in English!).
Moreover, the appendices also include information on how to set up your computer so as to type in Chinese, as well as exercise sheets with grids on which to practice your Chinese writing by hand.
Chinese characters are the most challenging aspect for foreign language learners. This handbook utilizes an effective method and a fun way to master the characters and has been applied by many Chinese learners to date. I strongly recommend it to anybody who wants to learn how to read and write Chinese effectively.Gerrie Ying Instructor of Chinese Language & Culture Studies
I have never seen another course like this anywhere. I’ve studied Chinese for over 10 years and I wish I had something this thorough and accessible to get me started. This book is packed with interesting and useful tidbits and is a fantastic value.Tom Hazelton Software Engineer
I always thought learning Chinese was an impossible task that just didn’t make any sense. But after reading this guide, it made me realize that it’s very possible for beginners to excel when learning Chinese characters, even if you have no prior knowledge. I’ve gone from knowing nothing to being able to read another language and THIS IS AWESOME! I would absolutely recommend this guide to anyone who wants to get a good handle on reading and writing in Chinese.Braden James Internet Marketer
Here's What You'll Learn In Every Chapter Of The Guidebook
Chapter 1: Your First Twelve Chinese Characters
Chapter 2: The Origins of Chinese Characters
The Actual Formation of the First Characters
Chapter 3: Modern Characters
How Basic Chinese Characters are Formed
What About Even More Complicated Characters?
Chapter 4: The Six Character Structure Types
Chapter 5: The Five Major Chinese Scripts
Chapter 6: Character Simplification
Traditional vs. Simplified Characters
Second-Round Simplified Characters
Chapter 7: Character Spacing and Stroke Order
Character Stroke Order
Names of Individual Strokes
Chapter 8: Outside Influences and Influencers
Using Chinese Characters to Translate Foreign Ideas
Substituting in English Vocabulary
Using Chinese Characters to Write Japanese and Korean
Chapter 9: Other Types of Markings
Chapter 10: Learn to Decode a Chinese Menu
Intestines, Brains, and Tongues
Fruits and Vegetables
Other Common Foods and Spices
Methods of Preparation
Methods of Cooking
Chinese Dishes: Characters in Context
Chapter 11: Learn to Understand a Chinese Business Card
How Chinese Names are Formed
Chinese Phone Numbers and Addresses
Common Chinese Surnames
Names of Positions within a Company
Chapter 12: Take the Long Road to Learning Chinese
Chapter 13: How to Get Good at Mandarin in 4 Steps
Appendix A: An Introduction to Pinyin
Appendix B: Chart of All Possible Sounds in Mandarin
Appendix C: How to Type in Chinese
Appendix D: Practice Grids to Improve your Chinese Handwriting
BONUS: 36 Extra Resources for Further Study
Here's everything you'll get when you purchase chinEASE
(plus all the extra stuff that's thrown in too!)
- chineEASE, 160-page full-color PDF guidebook
- chinEASE, audiobook format (2+ hour recording)
- 2nd guidebook: Your First 50 Chinese Phrases
- 3rd guidebook: Your Next 100 Chinese Phrases
- 4th guidebook: Read Korean in 10 Minutes
- Special report on learning foreign languages
- Pinyin pronunciation chart
- 88 most common Chinese radicals chart
- Chinese character practice grids
- 36 bonus resources
All you need to start learning Chinese characters.
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A Few Words From The Author
My name is Aaron Posehn and I’ve compiled over 20 years of experience studying Mandarin Chinese to let you see first-hand how simple it actually can be to learn this notoriously tricky script.
Although Chinese characters may appear daunting at first, it’s likely that you have yet to grasp their distinctive subtleties.
Find out why Chinese characters are actually very systematic in their formation, and by extension, why this means that they're absolutely 100% accessible to a language learner like you.
Will I actually learn Chinese characters by reading this guidebook?
Yes! Especially if you know nothing about Chinese writing, this resource will be very valuable to you. And even if you have learned a few characters before, this guidebook will increase the knowledge you already have so that you can start to read the minimum 1000 Chinese characters and gain that 90% fluency over time.
What if I hate it?
Well, hate is a strong word. But if you hate the guidebook, I don’t want your money. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org at anytime and I will issue a refund, no questions asked. I want you to be happy with what you've purchased, so I will accept returns at any time after you've purchased the book.
Can I get a physical book instead of a digital copy?
Unfortunately, not at this time.
You didn't answer my question!
That’s not a question. 🙂 But if you still have questions after having read this page, please get in touch here and I will do my best to answer them.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy reading chinEASE and gaining a deeper understanding of how to read and write one of the most widely used languages on the planet today!