Emil Persson has learnt 10,000 characters. This is certainly out of the ordinary, so we contacted him and asked him a few questions about his journey to 10,000 characters. Below, you can find his answers and the story of how he learnt 10,000 characters through Skritter.
Wow, this is awesome! Major props to Emil for learning that many characters, and thank you Olle for interviewing him. It makes my goal of learning all ~6,000 Japanese characters in JIS X 0208 look possible! (Of course, I think only like half of those are in Skritter, unfortunately…)
Would Emil be interested in sharing his year-by-year progress graphs? I’d love to see how they look.
Great article, thanks. Well done Emil.
I have a similar plan regarding reading and watching TV and then spending more time speaking after having covered the majority of the vocabulary I want to cover in Skritter.
I think the next plan for me will be watching some TV shows with subtitles - there are quite a few on Youtube, many with daily updates. I just wish there was a more efficient way to track progress and increase learning coverage.
In https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcFS10Adu4E as an example it took less than 30 seconds before I found a character I needed to look up (狄 - I recognised it but couldn’t remember the pronunciation). I see myself continuing to use Skritter for a while, I’m still adding around 100+ words a month to the Zhongwen quick add list from general reading and it would be good to keep practising them.
Now the focus should perhaps be more on using rather than learning as you say.
Maybe a good place to ask about a character I saw in Guangzhou museum recently: 木载 together, but I can’t even find it in unicode! Usage was (木载)下横楣, with translation as “Lintel under the beam”. Any idea what character this is?
Personally, I think this is the most interesting part. Obviously, it’s very useful, but it’s also much harder than “just” learning the characters (if learning means being able to write them based on definition and perhaps Pinyin). As I wrote in this article (The real challenge with learning Chinese characters), committing characters to memory becomes easier and easier (as Emil also wrote), but keeping them separate, including when and how they are used in which situations, is a lifelong project.
Also, as you point out, reviewing is an issue. It’s one thing to learn thousands of characters, but remembering all of them a year from now does require a fair amount of time. Of course, Skritter makes it easier, but it’s still far from effortless!
@ximeng, the codepoint of the traditional version of that character is 2ACFE. The simplified version that you asked for isn’t in the Unicode. http://unicode.org/charts/PDF/U2A700.pdf No other information can be found about it.
Thanks @pts, so it’s not even in unicode the character I saw! The character you found looks to be the traditional version 𪳾, but the one in the museum had the simplified 载.