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Manuel Fuchs

Most frequent Chinese Characters

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I just started to study Chinese and I think it is a good idea to study some vocabulary at the beginning. I would like to study the most used chinese characters first. Can I find somewhere a list with the most frequent chinese characters? Maybe the most important 500 chinese characters or so..and do you think it is better to study single characters or immediately words? As far as I know most of the chinese words are two characters, not one. Some flashcards to study (online and if possible free) would also be nice. Let me know your method and your favorite websites to study Characters online please.

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Each word may contain one character, two ... till many characters, depending on the word itself. I don't think if there are popular characters than others. If you wanna read and write Chinese besides speaking and listening, it's better to study from the characters, if just for communication, maybe learning the pronunciation with Latin words would be okay. And it also depends which kind of Chinese language you wannna learn, Cantonese (traditional Chinese ) or Mandarin (simplified Chinese).

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There is a frequency dictionary of Chinese characters here: http://lingua.mtsu.edu/chinese-computing/statistics/char/list.php?Which=MO.

I have had mixed results trying to learn this way. In one way it makes perfect sense to learn the most common characters first, rather than characters you never see. I have found it difficult to learn from big lists like this though. Maybe it'll help someone else.

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I think the best way is to start learning some basic spoken Chinese first before attempting to learn hanzi. This way, at least you have something to refer to when you are learning the characters. I think certain books teach hanzi in a way that utilizes mnemonics so you remember the story behind the creation of the character and this helps a lot. Many characters in Chinese like 妈妈 (mother) are made of two parts - the first part 女 means "woman" and the second part is the clue to the pronunciation 马, meaning "horse" and it is pronounced "ma". Therefore 妈 represents a word pronounced "ma" but which has something to do with being a woman, hence "ma" or "mother".

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Besides the frequency list provided by polybus, there are some other information about the most commonly used characters:

1. 现代汉语常用字表(issued by Chinese government in 1988) and 通用规范汉字表(issued in 2013). Each of them contains 3000+ most commonly used 汉字 in modern Chinese (in mainland China). You can get the lists from Google or Baidu.com.

2. A Frequency Dictionary of Mandarin Chinese(available on Amazon.com), based on data from large corpus.

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On 7/16/2013, 1:44:19, Manuel Fuchs said:

I just started to study Chinese and I think it is a good idea to study some vocabulary at the beginning. I would like to study the most used chinese characters first. Can I find somewhere a list with the most frequent chinese characters? Maybe the most important 500 chinese characters or so..and do you think it is better to study single characters or immediately words? As far as I know most of the chinese words are two characters, not one. Some flashcards to study (online and if possible free) would also be nice. Let me know your method and your favorite websites to study Characters online please.

 

 

All the formal classes and text books teach you words and expressions, etc grouped into themes. The themes run according to their level. The idea is to master everything to do with one theme: characters, words, sentences and expressions, grammar, culture, history, etc and then do exercises, tests and role plays to cover both the written and spoken aspects, before moving on to the next. This way, you are more prepared for situations in real life. Otherwise, what have you really learnt by writing the "top 500 characters"? At least this way, if you have to leave classes at some stage, you still have something useful:smile:

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If you want to improve your chinese in a short term, please add my skype(Kevin Zang).

I need to improve my oral english, so we could be mutual benefit through video contact.

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