You might be wondering what is this blog about. Well, let me explain:
How did I come up with the blog idea?
I have created this website as a motivation to study traditional Chinese characters. As a Brazilian born, I didn’t have much contact with the Chinese culture or language. I knew that the culture is very rich and the language is very old, but that was basically it. However, everything changed a few years ago once I moved abroad. I’ve had the chance to get to know more about the Chinese culture and language, and my interest in the Chinese culture has grown more and more.
I’m interested in learning the traditional Chinese characters because they have a very rich story behind each character’s straw. I’ve spent some time in the last few months gathering the best material that I could find for my studies, and it includes some books that are only available for sale in Taiwan (in Taiwan only traditional characters are used).
How this blog can help you?
I’ll try to bring as much content as possible for an enjoyable learning experience. I’ll be using some ideas from the books and some online material to work on writing and pronunciation of the characters.
After giving a try to some different methods, I quickly realized that learning a new language is a big exercise in memorization and in creating mental connections. So, I decided to create a post for each character, and in each post, I added a few components to help us to memorize the writing, meaning, and pronunciation of the character.
I’ve structured the posts like this:
- Animation of how the character is written.
- Image representing the meaning of the character.
- Zhuyin pronunciation for the character.
- Audio for the pronunciation of the character.
- Meaning in English for the character.
You can see that I left the English meaning for the character for the last, and that is on purpose. Our brain works better if we use images and animations to memorize the meaning of a character. So, once you open the post, you have an animation and an image for your brain to create the connections for the character and its meaning. The meaning written in English is just a distraction for our brain, so I kept at the bottom of the post only for reference.
This structure has helped me a lot, and I hope it can help you too! It might take a couple of days to get used to it, so please don’t give up quickly and give it a try. I promise that you will see incredible results once your brain gets used to the methodology.
And how about pronunciation?
Zhuyin will be used to teach characters pronunciation. Zhuyin (also known as bo po mo fo) is a traditional system to teach the right pronunciation of each character. Have you heard of pinyin? So, it’s a similar idea, but using Chinese characters to represent different pronunciations instead of alphabetical letters.
And why do I prefer Zhuyin? Because I believe it teaches the pronunciation in the correct way. Pinyin was created to simplify the process of learning pronunciation, and it might be great for beginners to have an idea of how the Chinese pronunciation sound. But Pinyin also causes lots of confusion, especially for Westerners, on how the right pronunciation should sound. For example, the R in English sounds completely different than the R in Pinyin, but our brain will have trouble trying to understand this difference. I’ll use the Zhuyin system, so we can avoid these problems from the start. 🙂
Where can I find out more resources about Traditional Chinese Characters?
I’ll post below some of the books that I was able to find on Amazon which are very good for beginners. Most of them have both simplified and traditional version of the characters. I’ve tried to find books or other materials containing only traditional characters, but I wasn’t able to find any on Amazon or other online bookstores. Still, I’ll be using some of the learnings from these books to add value to the posts of this blog.
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