How many Chinese characters you need?


Should I learn Chinese characters and how many Chinese characters I need to learn? These are the two popular questions from our students.

Should I learn Chinese characters?

The answer is YES. Here are the three reasons:

  1. Pinyin is only a tool: Pinyin was published by Chinese government in 1958 to help people learn Mandarin. In1986 UN adapted Pinyin system after couple of revisions. While Pinyin is very helpful in memorising the pronunciation, searching dictionaries and typing Chinese, Chinese people do not use Pinyin for writing. They write and read Chinese characters.
  2. Chinese characters help you learn Mandarin faster: this may sounds strange considering the difficulties to memorise the complex Chinese characters. However, if you understand the rules of Chinese characters, you can guess the meaning of the words and build up your Chinese vocabulary very quickly.
  3. Chinese character is a part of Chinese culture. If you have heard of Chinese calligraphy you will understand it is an important part of Chinese art and history.

In summery, if you do not learn Chinese characters, you are an illiteracy (文盲).

Recently we were approached by a student who learnt Mandarin for 18 months from a Chinese student, but he found what he learnt cannot be understood in Beijing. He now decided to join our intensive course to learn Mandarin which he can use in Beijing.

How many Chinese characters should you learn?

Many people are scared away by Chinese characters. In fact, Chinese characters are not so hard to learn and there are much less vocabulary you need in daily life than English vocabulary.

According to Oxford Dictionary website, there are 171,476 words in the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary which are current in use; while the biggest Chinese dictionary “中华字海” (Zhonghua Zihai) only contains 85,568 words, less than half of English words in the Oxford English Dictionary.

How many Chinese characters you need to learn?

According to China National Education Chinese Language Curriculum , only 3,500 words are required after 9 year education for a native speaker.

In daily life, there are even less Chinese characters you need to learn – ONLY 500! This figure is based on the “现代汉语常用字表”(List of Frequently Used Characters in Modern Chinese) which was published by Chinese government in 1988. The 500 words cover 78% of daily life including newspapers and general magazines.

It is not hard to learn Chinese characters. With the new technology, we designed an intensive lesson for people who wants to learn Chinese characters.

We ensure you can master these 500 Chinese characters in 100 hours! If you can spare 5 hours per week, you can complete this course in 20 weeks.

You can join our small classes, or private lessons. We also offer online tutoring if you are not in Brisbane.

You set your goal and we help you reach it.

Please contact us for details.

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