A list of most common 3000 characters based on study, we want a volunteer to make them in a list here

A list of most common 3000 characters based on study, we want a volunteer to make them in a list here, because I really have no idea how to do so!

This is the link of the list and the website where you can read about how these characters were organized and picked up.


All best.

I saw that another user pointed you to pre-existing lists in another thread, so I won’t repeat it.

However, I would like to point out that single-character instances are often not as helpful as they may appear. Sure, you could memorize 3000 individual characters, but you’ll still be unable to parse many, many chinese words because so many are dual-character (bigrams) words…and just knowing the elements doesn’t help much for some words…for example, 踢球

A better solution IMO is to search for the lists showing real words, such as the HSK lists. It has frequency ordered lists based on “words” rather than characters.

I am new to the language, I so far know only 10 characters!!!

Do you think it is best to start with individual or like what what you said is better?

What if I start with the most common characters then move to HSK and parse words?

Character and word lists are important for expanding and adding to your vocabulary. However, they teach you nothing about the grammar and structure of the language.

Hence, I’d ask what resource you are using to learn the structure of the language. Is it a textbook? If so, there is very likely already a Skritter list made for that textbook…that would be the ideal list.

If you don’t have some reference to clarify grammar/structure, then I’m curious how you plan on putting the words you learn into a coherent sentence?

If you are an “analyst/decomposition” type and want to better understand some of the “bottom-level-base” character “pieces”, I found the list of Radicals to be invaluable (but I’d say you don’t have to worry about learning the pronunciations, just their meanings and forms, but I’m sure others may disagree).

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I am not going to learn how to write by hand, I do not need it and it is a waste of time in the era of google pinyin. I am using Teach yourself, and other resources, some paid resources.

My plan is to learn how to write the first 1000 common characters, just to get how the language works and to know how to read the language and then I would just learn the pronunciation and if I want to write, I would write using Pinyin since I know the pronunciation, it would work well.

A couple things:

First, Apomixis is 100% correct that learning individual characters by themselves, apart from any context, doesn’t work well. Characters I’ve seen often in words are the easiest to learn to write; characters I’ve never seen before and that I don’t have context for are the hardest to remember how to write.

So Skritter on individual characters is an inefficient, boring, and ultimately not that useful way to learn more than 100 or so. I always get huge benefits from seeing the same new material in at least two contexts (for instance, learning it in flash cards, then hearing it in conversation, or vice versa), so you gotta supplement Skritter with something else.

Second, I’ve lived in China for 2+ years and was recognizing ~1,200 before I started Skritter a couple months ago (can write ~1,000 now). Even though I physically have to write something maybe once or twice a year, learning how to write those characters I already “knew” is life changing. I feel way more aware of what’s going on and I’m able to use Chinese apps with an ease I never had before. The investment of one hour for every 30-40 characters is small for such a huge payoff.

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I understand what you have said Mr.Physicles, I would try to supplement Skritter with Chinese podcast, or maybe lingq.com.

But again, I am not going to learn more than 1000 words by hand due to lack of time and I think spending time learning them is not good use of time for my circumstances, doing other things such as reading, listening and conversing, for me it is quite enough and better.

Everyone has his own time, and patience :), and priorities, for example, I do not intend to study a course in Chinese that wants me to write in Chinese in order to answer questions or pass the exam, for example.

** I still miss a point, if I wanted to supplement Skritter with something else,( how can I do that? )
Thank you very much for your help

@mredres, I’m a bit puzzled in that you ask for advice, but then discount the advice by stating you already have a plan. So, in that case, follow your plan!

When I began learning Chinese, I had a plan too, but found after several months that that plan wasn’t working for me and I wasn’t retaining anything. So, I nuked my Skritter progress and started over, dropped the plan and the things I thought would work for me. I then replaced that with things that did work for me based on my real, prior experience, and am progressing, albeit slower than I would like.

TL/DR: Don’t get too attached to your plan and don’t be afraid to drop it when it needs to be revamped.

I hope that you do not get me wrong brother, you have experienced the language more than me so you know better for sure, what I meant is that I am afraid that I learn all characters let us say 5000 by hand, then that means I need to invest a lot of time doing that, but what I aim to is to be able to read and write ( using Pinyin ) and converse well for business, if as you said that you realized after several months that plan was not working for you, this is important for me, because I really have no time to waste ( it is like to be or not during 1.5 year, I want to be able to converse well - read well and write ),

So please if you do not mind tell me about your plan, how your plan goes exactly, please

  • Conversing
  • -Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening

I really appreciate your time and help for responding. Thank you very much.

That’s a much different question :slight_smile: it’s totally worth it to spend a few hours reading blogs (like hackingchinese) and find out what’s worked for other people. Check out Olle’s post about minimum effort for learning characters. You’ll also need a different approach in the very beginning than a little later on.

Back to the learning characters thing… As we’ve been saying it’s not gonna be useful to learn 1,000 characters just by themselves, apart from words. Individual characters don’t really have complete meaning in and of themselves; knowing that 紧 means “tight” doesn’t help you know that 紧张 means “nervous”, or knowing 现 doesn’t help you know 现金,现实,or 发现. The ideal process is a mix between learning words (which are used to communicate) and learning characters (which you need to know to understand and remember words).

Thank you very much for your response, now I can understand better what is really happening in Mandarin.

I am waiting for Apomixis response also.

Experience is relative to each individual. I still consider myself a newbie to Mandarin.

I think what is important is for you to take a look at your own learning style and figure out what works best for yourself. What works for me may be horrible for you. Are you a visual learner? Aural (Auditory)? Kinesthetic? If so, you need to try to find language experiences that play to those skills.

If your primary goal is to converse in Mandarin, then you need to find a forum in which you can verbally be required to form phrases and sentences, but that’s really difficult at the beginning because you don’t have any vocabulary on which to draw. So, to emphasize speaking, I would say one of the best would be to find someone with which to speak Mandarin. A colleague at work or a fellow student at school would be great if those options are available. Or perhaps a paid tutor if funding isn’t a limitation. IMO, speaking ability only comes with usage and real practice. No amount of reading/writing is going to get you fluent verbal capabilities.

Again, I would emphasize that “my plan” shouldn’t really influence “your plan”. Each individual’s life situation and ability to spend time, money, and other resources to study will affect how quickly things will go.

I have young kids and a full-time engineering job. My time available to spend on Mandarin is much less than I would like…sometimes just a few minutes a day. That is compounded with the fact that although I have a lot of interest in languages, I have little “natural” linguistic talent in leaning them (I’m a math/science/engineering type of guy). So, you can say, I’m on the long-term Mandarin learning plan and expect this to take many years with lots of small steps.

One of the major pitfalls I came across when trying to learn Mandarin at the beginning was trying to step away from my inner “analyst” and try not to “compute” the language. For me, a big trap was trying to use mnemonics for the characters. It accelerated my progress, but required me to “fall over” to the computational side of my brain rather than using the language side. Computation and analysis is very slow–you can’t have a fluent conversation if you are computing each step of the way.

My plan could really be considered “floundering around until I find something that sticks”. I have the Integrated Chinese Level 1 materials and am using that for a base study. I also own a few Mandarin grammar books that I use for details, but I try not to get too mired in that too much…it brings out the “analyst” too fast (and you have to have a REALLY good grasp of grammar terms and English grammar to understand them). I then have Pleco (a Chinese dictionary app that’s great) and Skritter (which I use on the iPad). These are currently my main study materials.

As of this weekend, I finished the Skritter HSK2 list, so I’ve now gone through the HSK1 and HSK2 lists, plus another 150 or so from my own lists of characters. Once I feel a bit more comfortable that I have these all sorted in my head, I’ll start reading with the Chinese Breeze series of graded readers (300 word level).

In parallel, I’m lucky in that that I work closely and eat lunch daily with a number of colleagues from China who speak Mandarin (but with a Shanghainese dialect accent). However, like many engineers, they are not really interested in languages, so I can’t really speak with them until I’ve “upped my game” a bit and can speak a bit more fluently.

So, it’s all work in progress, but YMMV.

I wanted to give one more reference that I’ve used, although it’s still a bit much for me. There’s a Chinese language learning show by CCTV (Chinese television) called “Growing up with Chinese”.

There are 100 episodes. The shows are available here and you can also find the episodes on YouTube. Each episode is about 20-25 minutes long.

I like these because you get to hear people speaking in a learning environment where they keep repeating segments over again and you get tidbits of Chinese culture along the way.

That is great, thank you for spending all this time just to write me these steps and advice, I really appreciate that. Well, It seems I have more time than you, because I am a university student,

This is my plan, and I wish to help me correct the wrong parts of it, or in other words, what I should not do, before that I want to tell that I have 2 to 3 hours a day working with all four skills, I hope that is good enough to progress fast in the language, so my plan as follows:

Speakng : 1- I stumbled in one course about speaking for a British guy who has spoken the language for 7 years now and he claimed that he has put his experience in this course. ( Survive Chinese ). He said that the content is spoken by a native Chinese not him.

2- I am an Arab native speaker, so probably many Chinese are interested to learn Arabic and I found a few Chinese to practice my speaking, so I can switch between them and almost get practice everyday.

Listening: 1- I am going to use the website Lingq.com where there is a big number of lessons and vocabulary associated with every lesson, the website revolves around listening and reading, you listen to the content then you read until you get the whole lesson.

2- For sure, I need to improve my vocabulary in order to improve my listening, so I am thinking as I said to use either Chinese podcast or lingq, both offers flashcards and other ways to review your stuff.

3- For writing, as I said I am going to use either lingq or Chinese podcast, I will associate the vocabulary I learn there with Skritter here, so I while use any content for listening, reading, I will use the same vocabulary in Skritter so I can keep my work going together.

4- For reading, I really feel this language is locked, I do not know how to start reading, ( maybe it is because I used to learn individual characters, so when I see a character I know with another I do not know, I fail to know the meaning ) but as you said, after I get 300 words, I would start reading graded books as I have done with my English 1 and half year ago.

2- I will use lingq.com to keep reading contents, and there is a way teach you how to read Chinese also from the channel of the same British guy " Chris Parker" called How To Read Chinese ( The easy Way ).

In conclusion, this is exactly what I intend to do, I hope you help me to formulate the best method for me, if there is any thing I have put in this plan which I should not do, please tell me.

Thank you very much, I really appreciate that.

I think your plan is great if it helps you learn. Keep in mind that you should be willing to trim, adjust, and modify the plan when something comes up that isn’t helping you with your learning. Don’t keep doing something that doesn’t work for you just because you WANT it to or think it SHOULD work (after trying it for an appropriate amount of time).

One point that did jump to my mind on reading this is this: If you are a university student, why aren’t you taking Chinese courses? I’d think that would be a nice high-potential opportunity that you don’t have an your list.