Playful Illustrations Make It Easy to Learn Chinese


If you ever wanted to learn Chinese but never thought you could do it, here is a great opportunity! London-based entrepreneur and author ShaoLan Hsueh is developing a book, Chineasy, that makes it rather simple to learn basic Chinese words and phrases.

The visual system uses playful illustrations to help people understand and read the language very quickly. It works by transforming written characters into memorable associations that convey the meaning of words through shapes and colors formed around central black lines.

With more than 20,000 characters, Chinese can be an overwhelming language to learn. ShaoLan explains, "My methodology breaks down several thousand characters to identify the fundamental element behind each character. I have combined that with a set of beautiful graphics that allow people to recognize patterns and therefore the meaning of symbols very quickly." The project was funded through a Kickstarter campaign and it continues to grow with great success.


















Chineasy website
ShaoLan Hsueh's website
via [Lost at E Minor], [Wired]

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  • This is a awesome approach! However this is not new and the way to learn Chinese, in my opinion, would be losing its flare in the long run. Learning a language is a repeating and consistent process, it takes time and efforts! Fortunately there is a shortcut to learn the the language, which is to learn the radical of the characters first, which by itself usually has a hint from the writing (or drawing) and then forms the character.

    Many thought it is difficult to learn Mandarin Chinese. In my view, it is not true! It takes time and efforts to learn it well, but what doesn’t? On the contrary, Chinese is one of the most interesting languages in the world to learn! Because Chinese is a picture language, which means ancient Chinese people draw different pictures as Chinese characters out of everything they saw in the environment!

    By the way, I’m teaching Chinese online via Skype, add me to have a FREE Trial! My skype name is : chinese.tutor.frank or GO TO http://www.chinesehulu.com/tutoring

  • Interesting, though some of the illustrations fall apart (turtle?) when given the complexity of the hanzi. This is why Chinese, despite their economic growth, will never become the Lingua Franca of the world. To know 20,000 words, one needs to know the same number of symbols. And a 20k word vocabulary is actually quite small. With an alphabet-based system, one is able to add to one's vocabulary by sounding out the letters, which is impossible with a logographic-based writing system.

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