100 Basic Chinese Characters100个基础汉字 INTRODUCTION
Chinese is a character-based language. Chinese characters express meaning and sometimes pronunciation. Each character has its own story and image. They contain thousands of years of Chinese wisdom, culture and philosophy.
I am writing <The First 100 Characters> book out of my passion for my language, and for teaching. It’s a summary in the rearranged method to learn characters that are based on student feedback, including common mistakes and addressing confusion that students often have.
Without adding too much pressure for beginners, they need to learn the pronunciation, train in tones and study basic conversational Chinese in order to make life easier in China. You can find that the first 100 Chinese characters in the book are built up from the easiest drawings, to gradually more complexed writing. For example from “一yī ” to “十shí” to “木mù”; from “人rén” to “大dà” and then “天tiān”; From “月” to “朋”. This arrangement fits the writing order of strokes: 横 horizontal，竖vertical，撇 left falling stroke，捺right falling stroke, and 点dot and it will help learners build good writing habits.
The first 100 Chinese Character book emphases basic Chinese character learning. 象形字xiànɡxínɡzì, the hieroglyph characters, are pictographic. The characters are also indicative of single components (独体字dútǐzì), which makes them fun and easy to learn. The ancient Chinese used abstract symbols to indicate meaning. The second reason I arranged this way is that 80-85% complex characters which were developed later on are combinations of 独体字dútǐzì, and most of these characters have one part often indicate the meaning which known as ‘radicals’. The another component(s) often expresses where pronunciation comes from. You will find more of these characters in the second 100 Chinese Characters book.
Another important aspect of this book is that I introduce several basic radicals, and give common characters that have each radical right after as an exercise and extension. Hopefully, this way it will help learners relate from character to character. For example “口” kǒu, mouth, to “吗” ma question modal particle and “叫” jiàoto call, to be called.
Each character has its pinyin on the top and the English meaning at the bottom. Often time one character might have several English meanings, so we recommend learners apply them under contexts. The exercise would be to expand one character to a 2-character-word, then into a short phrase, and eventually try it out in sentences. The red part in each character indicates the radical. The grey boxes are for learners to trace the character 7 times before they start to write their own. Tracing and imitating is helpful for learners to have better form. There are enough empty boxes to practice writing. We would suggest learners to apply the character in sentences. Making sentences with new words is efficient for learning.
In Chinese, we have an idiom that says “众人拾柴火焰高” zhòng rén shí chái huǒyàngāo, which literally means the more people pick up the wood, the higher and bigger the fire will become – Many hands make light work. If you have a better idea to improve this book, feel free to write to us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org I am more than happy to hear your feedback and will be highly appreciative of any suggestions and advice you offer.
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