OK, are you ready to roll up your sleeves?!
That's what it's going to take to memorize Chinese characters. Yes you can make up stories or think up pictorial similarities to real life objects. But what about those abstract ones, and
those stories are soon forgotten when time lays siege to your unpracticed
memory? Having been to China, I have seen the way they teach their youngsters
their own language and it is simply repetition, repetition, repetition. I
personally have discovered that good ‘ole guts really do earn glory in this
language. It has been my habit ever since I first began learning Mandarin to
write old and new characters over and over again on sheet after sheet of paper.
Once I was in so much muscle pain from writing characters that I went in desperation
to a masseuse. She was so hard on my back and arm muscles that I hurt even
worse from the massage for weeks afterwards. That being said, after taking a
break from my studies for two or three years to have and raise a child I was
plopped down in China again. Although at first I did not remember even one
sentence, after two weeks of hard studying I was able to reach my previous
level and continue on studying as if I hadn't even left China. This is because
after having writing the characters so many times, re-remembering them was not
a chore. Rather, it was like bringing alive the past which so easily comes to
your hands when you really place it in your heart. One never knows what curves
life will bring that may interrupt one’s studies. So it is important to put real
heart and soul into this language if you really intend to keep it with you for
a lifetime. Best wishes and happy studies!
Until next time,