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Large Number and Complex Structure in Chinese Characters

When the foreign learners just begin to study Mandarin, they may find the characters are difficult to learn because they need to learn and remember one by one. The form of Chinese characters decides the structure of them. You can tell apart one character from another from the aspects of elements and strokes and places and so on, making it complicated and difficult. For most foreigners, the difficulty of Chinese characters firstly indicates in the character pattern which can divide character into the simple and the compound.

The simple characters are made up of the strokes directly while the compound ones include the strokes and components. The structures of the strokes are various and the combination ways of strokes and elements are also various. Most students are told that the strokes make up components and components make up the whole characters when they study in free Chinese lessons. The Chinese characters are two dimensional while Pinyin is one dimensional.

Generally speaking, the alphabetic writing is a kind of linear character from the appearance because it only has the order of letters without the complex structures of upper or down, inner or outside, left or right. As a result, for many foreign students who never learned Chinese characters, the characters are not written but drew. When they try to remember the structure of Chinese characters, they just pay attention to the general structures but not the details. Therefore, they always feel it is difficult to remember and often write Chinese characters incorrectly.

For most beginners of Chinese language learning, it is not easy for them to tell apart the detailed differences, thus often causing confusion. For example, the tiny differences between the groups of characters that often learned in Chinese school in China in the following parts are difficult for them to tell apart:亨and享,兔and免,未and末,土and士,扰and拢,棵and稞,陪and部,慕and幕,藉and籍,园and圆,辨and辩, etc.

Most compound characters are phonetic characters which is composed of sound indicators and meaning elements. Since there are many forms in phonetic characters, students will feel it is difficult to judge whether it is phonetic character when they meet one compound character. For example, both 休and沐are compound characters but the former one is associative compound and another is phonetic character.

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