If you've already visited this site before, please note the update below.Anyone learning Chinese knows how difficult it is to understand and remember Chinese characters. Until now....
Welcome to Chinese-characters.org. As the example above shows, Chinese characters need not be cryptic or require tedious effort to learn. This web site will give you access to information about more than 70,000 Chinese characters.
On each page, you will see simplified and traditional versions along with images and text that help you understand not only the meaning of the character, but why it is written the way it is. Doesn't 見 [to see] make much more sense when you see the ancient pictographic way the character was first written?
For many characters a mnemonic phrase is given that will help you remember the character so you can recognize it again. In fact, using the technique introduced on this site, you can learn to recognize, understand, and even write complex characters - without spending hours staring at flashcards or mindlessing writing and re-writing.
September 8, 2019
Long Overdue Update
Thank you for reading this far. 😊 This site came to life in 2007 when I decided to share the results of my research with anyone who wants to understand Chinese characters. I'd already done a lot of research by that time, and this site developed for a time afterward as I continued to research. I kept a web log to document its progress, but sadly it was infected by a nasty malware attack that I couldn't find any sure remedy for, so I had to trim that part of the site. Happily, it is still available on the Wayback Machine archived copies of the site if you're curious.
Sadly, in the intervening years life's many obligations have eclipsed the time and energy I'd like to put into developing this web site. I did a lot of research that I haven't had time to put into a useable form for incorporation into this web site yet. I have many ideas for improvement for the site, and in reality it is due for a complete redesign, including making it mobile-friendly, but for now I am just keeping the site available in its present form for anyone who finds it useful. I hope this includes you.
Before I had to remove the blog, I was able to interact with several users of the site. Not the least was John Renfroe, whom I first met through this site, and who later co-founded a company with very similar goals. His company is moving forward in the direction I once hoped this site would go, by leaps and bounds. Here are a couple of headlines featuring his company:
Outlier Linguistics is teaching what most Chinese courses don’t – how characters work. (TechInAsia)
Outlier Dictionary Is A Savior For Overwhelmed Chinese Language Students (Tech Crunch)
While I hope you'll come back to this web site from time to time, I can confidently encourage you to check out Outlier Linguistics for the most up to date information on Chinese character development. As a jumping off point from my site to theirs, I recommend reading the blog post What is Etymology, and Is it Useful for Learning Chinese Characters?