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I grew up in a Mandarin speaking household failing to learn Chinese when my parents tried forcing me to. I forced myself to learn in college for personal reasons. Oftentimes, this was hard, really hard.

Having said all that, this page was quite a joy to read. I know all those characters, and the page has one big flaw for learning these characters--the pronunciation. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic way to express the meaning of these characters.

If anything, I'd say that it captures the essence of Chinese characters--building up new meaning blocks by compounding basic pictographs together. This is the premise of the Chinese 'radical' system--radicals are the subcomponents of characters like the "child" and "female" characters that comprise "good".

Developer aside: the majority of written Chinese is comprised of about 1000 or so radicals. This may seem like a lot, but having learned enough to recognize them has helped me even in development--I feel like I learn hotkeys, plugins and VIM commands a lot faster than my coworkers because I forced myself to learn how to memorize.

The lack of pronunciation information doesn't seem to me like a flaw; it's just not what they were trying to teach. After all, Chinese uses semantic logographs, not phonetic representations, and lots of different spoken languages use the same Chinese writing system (thus a Shanghainese speaker can exchange letters with a Mandarin speaker despite difficulty actually conversing). Unlike learning to read, write, and speak English, or Russian, or Hindi (e.g.), learning to read Chinese and learning to speak some specific dialect of Chinese are much more distinct tasks, and this is tackling only one of them.

But there are phonetic similarities with characters that share the same right-radical. I can honestly say that many intermediate-level characters were easier for me to learn because I knew 2 things: they followed the pattern of symbolic-radical on the left and pronunciation-radical on the right. Learning the pronunciation can help learning to read characters as well.

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