Learn How to Read and Write Chinese Characters

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Chinese Character Tutorial

If you're interested in reading and writing Chinese characters, there's no better place to get started than with the numbers 1-10. They are quite simple to write, useful to know, and are exactly the same in both the traditional and simplified writing systems.

So grab a piece of paper and a pencil, give a click on the links below, and try to write the characters with proper stroke order as demonstrated:

One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten

Now that you know these characters, you actually know how to read and write all the numbers through 100. That's because Chinese follows a very simple pattern for counting:

11 = 10 + 1 = 十一
12 = 10 + 2 = 十二
20 = 2 + 10 = 二十
21 = 2 + 10 + 1 = 二十一
28 = 2 + 10 + 8 = 二十八
82 = 8 + 10 + 2 = 八十二
99 = 9 + 10 + 9 = 九十九

Ready for a challenge? Let's try something a little more interesting:

English: Love Beauty Courage Dragon Fire
Simplified:
Traditional: same same

Because the Chinese simplified system is based on the traditional one, many characters are exactly the same in both systems, as we saw with the the numbers 1-10. Even for characters that aren't the same, you will often be able to see similarities. For example, have a look at the character for "love" in the simplified and traditional systems. Almost the same, right?

To get a bit more practical, here are the 25 most frequently used characters in the Chinese language:
Source: http://technology.chtsai.org/charfreq/

  (a
possessive
particle)
is,
are,
yes
not,
no
I,
me,
my
one have,
has
big located,
at
person,
people
past
tense
particle
middle until,
arrive
Simp
Trad same same same same same same same same same same same same
  money,
supply
to
want,
need
can can this (common
measure
word)
you will,
meet
good do
something
for
someone
up,
above,
get on
to
come
Simp
Trad same same same same same same same

Want to keep going?

I've tested a lot of programs for learning Chinese characters, and after a long and disappointing search I finally decided to create my own system. It's still a work in process, but probably better than most programs you'll find out there. And it's completely free to use:

Continue learning Traditional Chinese characters

Continue learning Simplified Chinese characters

Not sure which style to choose?