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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for memorizing chinese characters
This book uses an amazing concept with immediate results. I always had problem memorizing chinese characters. Some of them really gave me a hard time since they were almost identical (e.g. bai & zi). Using the visual imagery method I was able to remember 90 characters after just 1 week's 20 minute per day studying.
The stories are really easy to remember so I easily...
Published on 9 Nov 2008 by T. Kallioras

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Confused, confusing and totally hopeless
Having studied Chinese characters (and forgotten most of them) many years ago I thought this book would make it easy (who am I kidding -at least easier) to brush up and relearn. Totally wrong. The book is hopelessly confusing, mixes traditional and simplified characters, seems to have no logic at all in the order in which it sets out the characters except perhaps...
Published on 23 Jan 2012 by M. Samson


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for memorizing chinese characters, 9 Nov 2008
By 
T. Kallioras "T.K." (Athens, Greece) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Learning Chinese Characters: v. 1 (Paperback)
This book uses an amazing concept with immediate results. I always had problem memorizing chinese characters. Some of them really gave me a hard time since they were almost identical (e.g. bai & zi). Using the visual imagery method I was able to remember 90 characters after just 1 week's 20 minute per day studying.
The stories are really easy to remember so I easily connect the character to the meaning and then to the pronounciation. After a while I was able to create my own stories which helped a lot to speed up the memorizing process.
The characters are presented in a very well organised order. The new characters and compounds are introduced only after each character that is involved is previously very thoroughly presented.
The radical of each character is added in a box, the traditional character (where there is one) is given as well, and there is also a detailed stroke order.
What I would suggest for the second edition is to introduce the actual reasons why the characters were created the way they are (if it is applicable).
Generally an excellent job which gave me what I needed - fast and solid results.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fast and effective, 18 Jan 2009
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This review is from: Learning Chinese Characters: v. 1 (Paperback)
Learning chinese characters requires work. Lots of it. So an effective method is vital, and this is it. The book uses mnemonics and 'silly' stories to help you deconstruct the first 800 most important chinese characters (the HSK level A characters) and memorize them. It is simple and very effective. I started an intensive course in chinese a few months ago, and this book was a complete godsend. If you work regularly and systematically you WILL learn the characters,and your retention is far better than viaother methods. It still requires a lot of work - there is no way around that - but this way you will make genuine progress, and the method completely avoids the boring rote memorisation that is both dispiriting and relativly ineffective. In addition, the method employed can easily be extended beyong the first 800 characters. In short, this book provides a SYSTEM that you can apply to all chinese characters. I have no hesitation in giving it five stars. This comes top of my list of essential books for learning chinese.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Success at last!, 13 April 2009
By 
P. Allsop (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Learning Chinese Characters: v. 1 (Paperback)
Having lamentably failed after several attempts to lean characters, I found this book on the web. It really works. It makes learning characters a pleasure instead of a chore. You learn each character by way of a short story--just a sentence or two long. In the past, I learnt so many characters one week and forgot them by next. Now, the stories stick in your mind and you recall the character by association.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 14 Dec 2011
By 
Mr. T. Abdulla (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Learning Chinese Characters: v. 1 (Paperback)
This is a fantastic book. Every character has a story to help you remember.
Example:
' (xin) has the story "He was so fed up of his *kin* that he felt like taking an *axe* to them and finding a *new* lot. / The giant chuckled to himself as he thought of the *shindig* that would create."

The word equation is: kin ' + axe ' = new
The you get from the word shindig and the giant (the four tones are represented by: giant - , fiary /, dwarf \, and teddy \/).

Both kin and axe have their own stories, the word for kin ' being stand ' + tree ' (you imagine standing in a family tree).

For me, the system works very well, and you find characters really quickly with the book. Obviously, you need to use other things at the same time, as this is just for characters. But it really helps you learn characters in a fun way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but wordy..., 6 Mar 2011
This review is from: Learning Chinese Characters: v. 1 (Paperback)
I have been studying Chinese for about 6 months and I have to admit this book is fantastic. It has a smart lay out and is very easy to read. I particularly like the fact that it displays the stroke order and also includes other compound words which use the character - I have found this linking a key way of learning and memorizing new characters. Chinese is definitely not an easy language to learn and there is no getting round the fact that it takes hours of dedication and commitment to committing the characters to memory - but this book makes it so much easier. I, like others, have found the stories a little unnecessary but even without them, it is worth buying as it concisely displays the 800 characters required for the HSK Level A exam. I have friends who have used this book and love the stories and claim it helps them to memorise the characters far more easily - it is a question of personal learning methods. In conclusion, this book is definitely worth the investment, I have found it key to my progress in my chinese studies.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential "Learning Hanzi" purchase, 14 Nov 2009
By 
moocifer (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Learning Chinese Characters: v. 1 (Paperback)
This marvellous book (the first of a series I hope) is an essential purchase for anyone who possesses a willingness to learn, the dedication to persevere each day and a reasonably adept memory. Admittedly I am not fully utilising the picture/story structure the authors have come up with to serve as reminders for tones, building blocks and composite characters etc .. but I can see its merits for other people.

Perhaps the book is lacking a little in the history or explanations behind the reasons why Hanzi are "drawn" the way they are and the meanings they have taken on over time but perhaps this is more suitable subject matter for a more in depth title.

The accompanying Tuttle "flash cards" (purchased separately obviously) are also an invaluable aid to learning, what will be to most, an "alien" set of symbols. Well that's what they look like to start with anyways .. :)

Of course having a computer with a translation tool and/or word processing package installed is also of great benefit and practical use.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellant Book, 29 July 2009
By 
R. Clare (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Learning Chinese Characters: v. 1 (Paperback)
Been using this book for about a month or so and already know about 80 characters. Well structured with a good method of memorising, I would suggest also getting the Tuttle published Flash Cards, most of the characters can be found in Volume 1 these really reinforce what you learn on the books.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning Chinese Characters, 12 Jun 2009
By 
N. S. Robinson (In flight) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Learning Chinese Characters: v. 1 (Paperback)
This is a remarkable book. I strongly recommend it. In addition to making learning Chinese characters easy, it will improve your memory. To begin with, I feared that I might end up thinking of China as a land of teddy-bears, fairies, giants and dwarves. However, once the stories have served their purpose they fade into the background.

Neal Robinson
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Confused, confusing and totally hopeless, 23 Jan 2012
By 
M. Samson (Perth., Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Learning Chinese Characters: v. 1 (Paperback)
Having studied Chinese characters (and forgotten most of them) many years ago I thought this book would make it easy (who am I kidding -at least easier) to brush up and relearn. Totally wrong. The book is hopelessly confusing, mixes traditional and simplified characters, seems to have no logic at all in the order in which it sets out the characters except perhaps attempting to follow the same shape. Surely the whole point of learning characters is to be able to read Chinese. This book has no reading exercises at all , no simple sentences, no reading drills or passages. At the end of it you would appear to have learned 800 characters in an unconnected fashion and have no idea of how these are used in sentences or how the language is put together. I would send the book back but having on received it this morning and having just finished Chapter Three the paperback binding is already starting to come apart and the pages will soon start falling out. Maybe if you were six or seven years old the silly stories about fairies and giants might appeal but for anyone who seriously wants to learn to read Chinese this is a waste of money.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why some people may not like this book, 2 May 2010
By 
T. Richardson "tim15905" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Learning Chinese Characters: v. 1 (Paperback)
I look forward to the second edition of this book, and especially the flashcards!
I bought the book as soon as Amazon mentioned it to me, because I knew the authors were on to something. Learning Chinese is not easy for the western brain, far more people give up than succeed, and this is because it is incredibly difficult to cram thousands of characters into long term memory.
For this reason we need all the help we can get. The artefact of using weird images to remember characters really works, but it is not intuitively obvious, which is why some people will buy this book and be immediately disappointed.
It is easy to criticise the childish drawings, the absurd story lines and the occasional cop-out of being told to invent your own way to remember a character, and if this is your reaction then I would feel sorry for you for not "getting it".
All these elements are precisely what makes this book work. Our western brains, while lousy at remembering things after a certain age, do nevertheless have the knack of remembering the absurd. Anyone in England can finish the phrase "Freddie Starr ate my ......." - this book works along the same lines.
This book is really useful at any level - skipping through, reading carefully or studying a page for an hour, some of the characters will end up in the long term memory, and in my opinion this is even more productive than copying texts or writing phrases.
The book is uneven, but this is not the authors' fault, some Chinese characters would defy anyone's efforts to write an appropriate weird story to remember them. Nevertheless it should be possible to create better "stories" for some of these characters and I hope the authors will be able to use suggestions from readers in the next edition.
I am buying another copy for my 13-year old neighbour who is studying Chinese, if this book works for me it should do wonders for the next generation.
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