How do I learn Traditional Chinese characters?

How do I learn Traditional Chinese characters?

John Defrancis Chinese Reader series

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Are you living in Taiwan?

Lingq has a feature that will display the traditional above the simplified ones in the main text, if you click on the settings of your lessons, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I think the difference with traditional vs simplified isn’t a big deal unless you are learning to write them by hand. You really don’t need to do that unless you are moving to taiwan and required to fill out official paperwork by hand.

But with lingq, I highly recommend getting a chinese character reader like this one for chrome Zhongwen: Chinese-English Dictionary - Chrome Web Store

It will show you the traditional and simplified characters as you hover over new words. You will start to recognize the difference between the radicals and it is extremely helpful for studying with lingq.

Also, when you learn to type on your phone you can select the traditional character keyboard which will automatically enter the traditional ones.

Finally, I will give you the good news. Chinese characters aren’t nearly as difficult or overwhelming to learn as they appear at the start. The hardest thing for me was the first 100-200 characters or so, then I started to notice the radicals and spot the different ones easily and got the confidence to learn them all, Now I know about 800 or so of the characters… you start to pick them up quick as you read.


I would suggest finding some course or structured approach you can learn and learn the first most common ones out of context, and start with the smallest and simplest ones. I used Heisig volume 1 (I dont recommend volume 2, because reading in context is definitely extremely important, and the first book by itself is enough to let you at least start to make sense of what is written. Maybe this is helpful as well:

Is it really so hard to implement an option to convert the original (simplified) text to traditional characters? Displaying traditional characters on top of the simplified text is not a great solution at all, especially not for someone who wants to focus on traditional characters.

I feel the same way, I really don’t like it. And I think quite a lot of people go to Taiwan or HK to learn Mandarin/Chinese because of the internet restrictions in the mainland, so I think a lot of people would like this option. I have seen several threads before asking for it as well

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