The book I am using is New Practical Chinese Reader 1 by the Beijing Language and Culture University Press. Volume 1 of the book has 14 lessons. Target end date is May 5, 2012.
MONDAY: Lesson Seven – 你认识不认识他？
We have 19 new characters for the week. I know, right. Like, seriously? Anyway let’s get it over with. Let’s start with 开 which means to open and looks so simple, doesn’t it? The traditional character though is much more complicated, but we are not learning traditional! Anyway just imagine that character as a door that you need to open and you will easily remember it. I actually imagine it as a bar door in the wild wild west. The second character is 目 which means eye and you will easily memorize this if you imagine your eyes to be square. The middle rectangle formed would be the pupil. The last character for the day is 下 which means below and is often seen everywhere because it is always used in tandem with another character. See that elongated dot thingy? That is your cue because it is below the horizontal bar on top.
TUESDAY: Lesson Seven – 你认识不认识他？
We have four for today every day until Friday! Eek! Let’s start with the first one which coincidentally means first and looks like 元. I think this is also the character used for China’s national currency, the yuan and you are most likely to see this with some numerals when shopping. 片 means flat, slice, or thin piece which you have already encountered in the characters for picture and business card. The book offers no illustrations on how this character came to be so better just memorize it. 皮 means skin and I honestly have not encountered this yet, or perhaps I did, otherwise they would not include it in the lesson notes, but I think it was in tandem with another character and yes I already forgot it. Harhar. The original illustration is that of a caveman raising the skin of a lion, by the way. 弓 is an archer’s bow and looks like one too, so no need to elaborate on that.
WEDNESDAY: Lesson Seven – 你认识不认识他？
First stop, 长 which means to grow, again, I already forgot where I encountered this one. I think it was used as someone’s surname on the dialogue. 来is to come and is high frequency which makes it easy to memorize. You don’t actually have to memorize it, just read whatever you can, it might pop up somewhere. 介means to interpose, whatever that means. This one is the first character of the verb to introduce. 父 alone means father and is the character that gives meaning to Papa which we learned earlier. The illustration shows a father carrying a daughter on his back.
THURSDAY: Lesson Seven – 你认识不认识他？
巴 on the other hand means to cling to and is the second character for Papa. In this case, it lends its sound, not its meaning, which is taken care of by the other character we learned yesterday. This is also one of the characters of a grammar particle often used in colloquial speech. 习 in itself means to study, although my teacher also says that it means to practice. It is the second half of the two character verb to learn. Let’ take the last two characters in combination: 专业 which means major, as in that field of study you are majoring in. 专 means special when it is alone, while 业 means line of business. Makes sense.
FRIDAY: Lesson Seven – 你认识不认识他？
Last four, phew! 羊 means sheep. My teacher also says goat. You could already see the two horns on top! 术 is art or skill and looks like that character for book but with a dot thingy on the upper left. Well, when you read and read you end up skilled, remember that. 系 means department and is personally a pain on the a** because I cannot figure out how to make it look like a department, at least in my brain. I just memorized it anyway and I recognize it easily so no problem for me. 为means act or to do and if I were learning the traditional version I would have jumped off a cliff by now. My mnemonic device for this one is the character for strength which resembles the katakana for ka.
For next week I will be covering lesson eight. We are making progress! The goal is to pass the lowest level of the HSK in September 2012! =)