I’ve been recently learning Chinese Characters with the Assimil book Chinese Characters. When learning new characters how do you know the pronunciation. In other languages, for example Hindi, I can figure out the pronunciation because the language has an alphabet. In Chinese there is no alphabet, so how do learn the pronunciation of a new character unless you learn it first in pin yin, which is what I’ve been doing thus far.
In Chinese you either know the character or you don’t. There are phonetic components in some but they aren’t consistent enough to rely on. The best thing, I’ve found, was to set aside time to study characters in isolation. It took me close to 3 years to be able to read most of the characters. I’m at the point where if I see a character and I don’t know it , I can sometimes guess at the general pronunciation but it’s not always right. So I always have to double check if I’m unsure.
Also a way to find out how a character is pronounced if you can’t access the pinyin is to have the “handwriting input” on your phone. That way you can draw the character into the phone to look it up. Then you can look it up in a dictionary to find out the pinyin.
It takes some time but once you learn how the characters are built up, learning them becomes only a matter of time not difficulty.
Is this question about how do you do it when you’re reading from a physical book? There are dictionaries where you can look up characters based on how they look. But it’s a lot easier to use the internet etc… I use a browser extension so I just have to mouse-over to see it.