My mind is so literal that I think it would help me to understand and memorize the characters and their meaning. I recently found on this site an explanation for the difference between sun and speech. It included pictograms and explanations. With all that detail I will never forget it.

I am perhaps intermediate level. I studied intensely in college for two semesters before heading to Beijing where I lived for a year. That was in the late 90's. Unfortunately I haven't had the time to use it or study it since. Now that I am quarantined I can go back to this language that I love to learn.

I just want some help learning. Some tools to help me remember.

  • Are you able to clarify your level? When students first start learning Chinese, teachers often tell them 人 = person, 山 = mountain, etc., and students interpret this as meaning characters often resemble their meaning. The student quickly discovers this is not true in general, and instead phonetic components [which merely indicate how the character is pronounced] are more important.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Apr 25, 2020 at 3:05
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  • I studied for two semesters in college in 1996. In 1997 I lived in Beijing for a year and continued my studies. I am currently in refresh mode after a long time of inactivity. So I would put myself at an early intermediate level. My oral is much better than my written. Apr 26, 2020 at 4:13

2 Answers 2


this one talked about the early chinese characters from ancient inscription, in english:

early chinese writing, by frank herring chalfont

though it was printed in 1906, imo, the info is precise & correct; most important, it’s a free download, provided you’re not in “you-know-where” 😼

enter image description here

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    Spotted one mistake :) 虫 = 虺, not 蟲
    – dROOOze
    Apr 25, 2020 at 13:06
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    omg 😆 well, may i say this one is good enough for foreign-beginner? 😸 Apr 25, 2020 at 13:10
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    @dROOOze What books would you recommend? It would be great if you were willing to write a reply. :)
    – Olle Linge
    Apr 25, 2020 at 14:50
  • Seems like a good book even for Chinese people.
    – trisct
    Apr 26, 2020 at 6:39

"The Chinese language, Its History and Current Usage" by Daniel Kane.

Published by Tuttle Publishing.

  • Would it be possible to explain why you're recommending this book please?
    – Becky 李蓓
    Apr 25, 2020 at 3:05
  • Because I've read it some time ago and it has helped me to have a better understanding of the language, its history and current usage, even though I already have a good working knowledge of the language. Apr 25, 2020 at 3:09

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