I am playing an online game played also by many Chinese people. The game has an instant Google translator - but translations are always bad, sometimes missing.

I would like to be able to read, and understand the posts, without the aid of the translator.

I looked into apps or sites to help me learn, but so far all I have seen is based on conversation. I do not care about pronounciation, or about correct way to handwrite letters. I do not want to say hello, good morning... or anything else.

I relate to this question: Reading Chinese without speaking it - when Chinese people learn to read and write, they already have the vocabulary and capability to converse. Learning it all at once is a giant task.

I seem to have a huge mental block, because... everything is so different.

I want to start by just learning basics of how the language is created: building blocks, how the words connect...

How can I get started, to learn to read the basics ? I am sure there are books, websites and apps, can anybody suggest some please ?

  • 1
    There are no materials to teach reading Chinese without basic speaking knowledge because it is a terrible idea. When you have rudimentary speaking ability you can start with Chinese Breeze readers. They are brilliant. Take the genius Arthur Waley's advice: he learned to read Chinese without speaking it because he had almost no contact with Chinese speakers. He said in the future no one would be able to do what he did---and no one should if they could. Proper learning resources are just too good today for you to take the hard road to faulty knowledge. – Colin McLarty Jun 7 '17 at 23:56
  • @ColinMcLarty: I am not trying to learn to read without speaking - I am trying to learn to read, not caring if I can speak - I am unlikely to have real-life contact with Chinese speakers. What I am looking for are resources that concentrate on written language, the structure, basic building blocks, how to recognize letters... All the resources I find for beginners are concentrating on pronounciation. All approaches that start with speaking will take me years... I want to be able to get some basic understanding of chat in a week or two. – Thalia Jun 8 '17 at 16:55

I am curious about what game are you playing, because the genre of games affects the vocabulary that you want to see.

If you want to see blocks of Chinese text, just basic stuff, you can go to


and search 童话 and 寓言, which means tales and fables. These are usually for Chinese children and I think they should be good for starters to learn Chinese.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thank you. I will search. The game - War and Order. Putting more frequently used characters in wikipedia, I found explanations for some words - like big, small, man, king - that helped me remember them. – Thalia Jun 8 '17 at 22:19

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.