Resources for studying Chinese characters
July 10, 2011 11:07 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for resources (preferably online and free) that will allow me to practice reading and writing Chinese characters at the level of a beginner.

I have been studying Mandarin for two semesters. My speaking and listening skills are fairly good, but I find characters difficult. I have been reviewing the characters I learned this year using flashcards, but it's getting boring. I would appreciate any other methods or resources that could help me practice.

While browsing the AskMe archives, I read about a concept called "extensive reading", where you practice and learn by reading texts at or below your level. This seems interesting, although I'm not even sure if there is a text basic enough for me at this point. Any suggestions?
posted by vogon_poet to Education (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
There's this "Chinese writing pad" at Pop-up Chinese's site.
posted by Abiezer at 1:02 PM on July 10, 2011

You can get a browser add-on like Perapera-kun for Firefox that gives you word translations on hover. Armed with this, you can try reading some Chinese news articles or short stories? Googling 童话故事 (fairy tales) gives sites that look like they might be geared towards younger readers, like this one.
posted by segfault at 5:54 PM on July 10, 2011

Check out MDBG and YellowBridge. They have guides to the stroke order and information on the radicals and character components. There are a variety of character search options that I've found help me in learning Mandarin. Good luck.
posted by KevCed at 6:02 PM on July 10, 2011

Skritter is a good tool for practicing writing. It costs money.

I really like paper and pencil.
posted by msittig at 3:00 AM on July 11, 2011

I have successfully used Columbine's Mei Hua to learn enough Chinese to figure out what I was going to get when the Dim Sum carts went by in Hong Kong.

(And found that using the flight from the U.S. to Hong Kong to copy characters as practice meant I got impromptu Chinese character lessons from the people sitting beside me.)
posted by straw at 7:10 AM on July 11, 2011

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