Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

How I Started Learning Chinese Characters?

March 19, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 110

I was about 10 years when I met my best friend who was Chinese. His name was Thomas Lee, known then as Li Min Kwai. Tom was from Fung On village in Toisan county, Guangdong (Canton) province by way of Hong Kong. All my knowledge of Chinese and the Chinese culture started with him.

We became fast friends and I took an interest in his culture. He gave me odd things to eat and I ate them! I was one of the few people he introduced to his parents. His mother did not speak English and I wanted to speak to her. I then started to learn a little Chinese. I did not realize that there were any dialects at that time. I would later discover that my friend was teaching me his village dialect of Toisan. Toisanese also called Hoisanese is a county dialect of Cantonese. Some words I couldn't pronounce so my friend stop teaching me. I decided that I would teach myself. What I could learn on my own was the Chinese characters. Knowing Chinese characters became helpful since I did not have to speak as much! My friend had shown me the basics and I kept a notebook with the Chinese I had learned. Tom also gave me my Chinese name Shi Tie Fun that I still use to this day! The Chinese character unites the Chinese since the spoken language (8 major dialects & many sub-dialects) don't really matter since everyone reads the same Chinese characters.

Many years later my friend wanted to learn Mandarin Chinese which is the national language of China, Taiwan and Singapore. He invited me to go to a mini course given in a church So I went and started learning Mandarin as well as Chinese Characters. I even was using the Chinese brush he had given me years earlier. The teacher after looking at my work remarked that I should find a Chinese calligraphy teacher. He said that I would improve my Chinese writing. One day walking around my job during lunchtime my friend & I stumbled on the China Institute on East 65 Street. The China Institute is where I met Professor George Young. I signed up for two classes: Cantonese and Chinese Calligraphy. I would now get a better understanding of Cantonese and learned that my friend had been teaching me Toisanese and not standard Cantonese (Guangzhou dialect - the capital city language). From my Chinese Calligraphy I formed a special relationship with my teacher and learned from him until his death.

The best two books that helped me the most were Read Chinese by Fred Wang (Fang-yu) and Chinese Characters: Their Origin, Etymology, History, Classification, and Signification by Dr. L. Wieger, S.J. Below is a review of one of my best Chinese books.

Chinese Characters: Their Origin, Etymology, History, Classification, and Signification by Dr. L. Wieger, S.J.

This is the book (820 pages) that helped me to be able to memorize Chinese characters! Many years ago I was with a Japanese friend and came across this book. I recognized the importance of this book immediately. The author breaks down the Chinese character and shows the reader how the Chinese characters evolved. This is one of my most prized possessions. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand Chinese characters and how the written language evolved. The author is a member of the Society of Jesus better known as a Jesuit priest. Jesuits are Catholic scholars that study a subject to the fullest. The author has done just that in producing this great masterpiece. Anyone can learn Chinese. It was my desire to communicate with my friend's mother. Later my interest in learning more got the best of me! After meeting my teacher, Professor George Young my journey in learning Chinese calligraphy just started. I hope that everyone may have a great opportunity in learning Chinese as I have.

Stephen C. Callender, MT(ASCP)

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Chinee Calligraphy


Chinese Characters


Chinese Brush


Start Learning

For gaining entrance in coveted fields in a reputed University, the entrance examinations are the gateway. The purpose of these entrance examinations is to test the potential of a candidate and how

By: Sarkariexam l Reference & Education > Science l December 23, 2012 lViews: 521

Competition is increasing at an alarming level in every sphere. The students have to focus completely on their studies to ensure that they get admission in the line of their choice. What more, the

By: Sarkariexam l Reference & Education > Continuing Education l December 14, 2012 lViews: 1443

'How hard is a PhD'? Many PhD holders have been asked this question millions of times, but there is never any definite answer. We look at those who walk around proudly with a 'Doctor' title with

By: onlineedublog l Reference & Education > Continuing Education l November 11, 2012 lViews: 284

In this fast paced world which is sadly recession struck, it is indeed a good idea to work while acquiring further education. A master’s degree is obviously better than a bachelor’s in almost

By: onlineedublog l Reference & Education > Online Education l November 04, 2012 lViews: 262

An Online Degree Program in Finance is gaining popularity as it helps students to develop a lucrative career. It helps in a competitive business world. This has resulted in more number of students

By: Matthew l Reference & Education > Online Education l October 31, 2012 lViews: 288

Supporting justice is one of the reasons many people get into a career in the legal field. All-inclusive Online Associate’s Degree in Legal Studies assists many in the beginning stage of employment

By: Richard l Reference & Education > Online Education l October 26, 2012 lViews: 222

This article would give a review on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. These letters are Gimmel, Dalet, and Hey.

By: Jim E. Staleyl Reference & Education > Languagesl June 14, 2012 lViews: 189

This article would briefly review the depth of the first two letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. The First two letters are Alpeph and Beit respectively.

By: Jim E. Staleyl Reference & Education > Languagesl June 14, 2012 lViews: 202

Have you read an email, magazine article, or newspaper recently that was grammatically incorrect in the use of the words: "two", "to", and "too"? Unfortunately it appears to be happening more

By: Krystalina Soashl Reference & Education > Languagesl June 13, 2012 lViews: 186

The other day, I was reading a very interesting piece in the New York Times by a professor of language who stated that in actuality the language one speaks is not a barrier to the way that they

By: Lance Winslowl Reference & Education > Languagesl June 13, 2012 lViews: 181

"Interaction" is a very trendy word used in the sales pitches of almost all language programs on the market today, and research mentions how crucial it is for language acquisition. So when language

By: Julio Foppolil Reference & Education > Languagesl June 12, 2012 lViews: 164

This article covers the fundamentals that are found in Spanish software program called Rocket Spanish. This software program has been designed to teach individuals Spanish in as little as 60 days.

By: Ryan Thomas Pl Reference & Education > Languagesl June 12, 2012 lViews: 178

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus