Fun with Chinese Characters (in three volumes) makes learning Chinese
characters entertaining and memorable! Every page contains all the information
you need to learn a Chinese character: the origin (etymology) of a character,
its description and an entertaining illustration by cartoonist Tan Huay Peng.
Knowing the origin greatly simplify the recognition the characters. The
cartoons which accompany each character are often comical and clever. Examples
of how the character is used in compound phrases are offered. First volume
contains an in-depth introduction on the genesis of the characters. The third
volume contains index of all 480 characters and their location.
The characters are written in traditional and simplified characters and has
romanized pinyin pronunciation. Stroke orders, definition and example sentence
make this book a valuable resource. Learning Chinese characters has never been
so much fun! --This text refers to the
Text: Chinese, English
- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Hippocrene Books (May 1983)
- Language: English
- ISBN: 9971460726
- Average Customer Review:
based on 17 reviews.
|1 of 1 people found the following review
Outstanding Work for a Number of Reasons, March 15, 2006
This book (with its two companion volumes) is a wonderful work for a
number of reasons. Its introductory essay (a nine page historical overview
of Chinese characters, emphasizing their phonetic-radical structure) is
worth the price of the book all by itself. The cartoon drawings are artful
and evocative. The generative and mnemonic entries are informative,
historically based, and sublimely written. The work emphasizes simplified
characters but supports traditional characters as well. It has examples of
I have only a few caveats: The handwritten characters for given names
(e.g., those for Cang Ji) in the introductory essay are virtually
indecipherable. There are unfortunately no examples from literary Chinese
(wen yan wen). Many proverbs (cheng yu)occur only in English translation,
not in the original Chinese.
Nevertheless, I highly recommend this work for beginners and intermediate
Chinese readers. Advanced Chinese readers will appreciate it for its
colloquial and artistic qualities--and may find amusing or enlightening
Awsome as a study aid!, January 23, 2006
This is a really fun book. I'm currently in my first year of chinese
and really enjoy using this book outside of school. My teacher recommended
it to me. It illustrates characters that normally seem difficult in a fun
way. This isn't the best choice for someone who is not taking chinese in a
class but independantly. It doesn't give much detail on how to use the
words. It's just like an interactive dictionary. I absolutely love it.
|3 of 3 people found the following review
Great for What it Is!, March 15, 2005
This series is a great aid to memorizing characters. There is one
character per page, and for each character there is an accompanying
illustration, along with a selection of words and phrases that feature the
character, the pin-yin pronunciation and the traditional character, if
applicable. In addition, there is an illustration of the evolution of the
character over time, from the most ancient form found on the tortoise
shells, to the modern form.
It is not a scholarly reference book, and is not organized as such. It is
meant to be flipped through casually and enjoyed. This series has been in
print since the 1970s, so the illustrations ARE dated, as one reviewer
points out below. Often the illustrations are of people in traditional
costume, but one shouldn't take offense because of this! It wouldn't make
any sense to see a pig, for example, hanging out in the house of a
Beijinger with a bike parked out back; but the pig does make sense in an
old farmer's house. Furthermore there is intelligent irony to be found in
the illustrations that is sensitive to women's history and other issues.
So, if you take offense with illustrations of people in traditional
Chinese costume or of silk worms, lanterns, etc., this book is not for
you. I say, lighten up and enjoy this wonderful book!
|1 of 4 people found the following review
Light hearted approach to Chinese Characters - RECOMMENDED, July
Reviewer: A reader
This book is not just for Chinese learners. It can be read just for fun.
How that characters are formed. I don't speak Chinese but it is still fun
to look at this book series. The series cannot be viewed as a textbook
because they are not intended to be. It is not for young children. My high
school aged son was entertained by the book.
|9 of 12 people found the following review
No Fun With Chinese Characters, June 5, 2004
I bought this book to teach my 12-year old daughter basic Chinese
characters. However, she and I really struggled with this book in many
ways. First, the book, though new, looks dated. Many of the comics feature
a "Fu Man Chu" type Chinese character in humorous situations (that weren't
humorous at all) to teach you Chinese. In fact, as a Chinese American I
found the character highly offensive and extremely insulting. This is not
a character who is representative of a Chinese national. I was surprised
at Master Communications/Infini Press' utter lack of sensitivity and
inability to create a more modern caricature of a Chinese person.
Second, I found the book disorganized and poorly written. I don't know
if this series was originally in Chinese, but the book appears to be
either a poor translation of Chinese or written by a Chinese person with
poor English writing and grammar skills.
While the book is an honest attempt at teaching a complicated language
in a seemingly uncomplicated way, this book ultimately falls flat. My
daughter and I would NOT recommend this book as a way to learn Chinese
You are better off with more tradional methods.
|8 of 9 people found the following review
Fun?, May 13, 2004
Reviewer: A reader
Hmm...I don't think so. As a Chinese language teacher (25 years), this
book is, perhaps, the worst manner in which to learn Chinese
hànzi'(characters). Originally released in the 1970s(this is a
re-release), this book makes a half-hearted attempt at humor by utilizing
outdated comics from a leading Singapore newspaper, the Straits Times. As
a result, "Fun With Chinese Characters" fails in its approach to teaching
Chinese characters. Don't spend the yuan. If you'd like to learn Chinese
characters I do not recommend this title.