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The radical way to learn Chinese characters

The underlying premise behind our writing curriculum is that we understand all Chinese characters are pictures. When you look at a Chinese character, you’re not looking at a random assortment of lines, swoops and slashes; you’re looking at a stylized pictograph or ideograph — a picture. Most Chinese characters are actually made up of several simpler pictures. For those of you who have already spent a significant amount of time studying Chinese, you know that we’re referring to bu4shou3, the smaller radicals or components that make up Chinese characters.

The approach we take in our writing curriculum is that we believe students should FIRST learn these simpler building block components before they begin learning whole Chinese characters. As you learn these basic components, you will discover all the Chinese characters that contain them, and when you have learned all the components that make up a Chinese character, you will unlock that character.

Think about it. You learn A, B, C before you learn the word medicine, so why don’t you learn 幺 艹 白 木 before you learn the Chinese character 藥? All 100,000 Chinese characters are merely different combinations of 400 simple pictographs and ideographs. The secret to quickly mastering the written language is to first learn these 400 basic components.


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