272 Chinese characters

How many Chinese characters do you need to be able to recognise in order to read a Chinese newspaper? Some Chinese scholars know tens of thousands of Chinese characters, but to be fluent in Chinese you don’t actually need to know anywhere near that amount! Josh from Transition talks with ShaoLan about the lego structure of many Chinese characters and how it’s possible to be able to recognize a lot of characters quite quickly using the right method. Indeed, that has been one of the original missions of Chineasy from the start! Josh also gets a history lesson from ShaoLan in how Chinese characters began to evolve from the original pictures/symbols into a standardized written format for communication.

In Chinese, the word for “Chinese Characters” is 漢字/汉字, where 漢/汉 represents the biggest ethnic group in China, the “Han” people, and 字 means “word,” so the “Han words” are 漢字/汉字, Chinese characters.

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Chinese characters
漢字 / 汉字
hàn zì
The Han dynasty
漢 / 汉
Character, word
Han people
漢人 / 汉人
hàn rén
Learn Chinese characters
學漢字 / 学汉字
xué hàn zì

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