A bright and engaging illustrated methodology for Learn Chinese easily through fun and whimsical illustrations.
Because we make learning Chinese…easy! Sorry for the pun. Seriously though, it works! Our illustrations are fun, quirky and memorable and we have plans, big plans, if you will help us! Chineasy has been on the Internet now for a few months, since my TED talk, and we have already amassed quite a following, if we do say so ourselves. We have turned to Kickstarter because we KNOW that there is a real desire for a book, as well as other Chineasy material. We are here because people won’t stop asking us for MORE!
The Chinese language has long been considered the most difficult major language to learn, largely on account of the vast number and complexity of its characters. Being a Taiwanese native now living in London, this is a fact I am acutely aware of. When I began to teach my British born children Chinese, I realized just how difficult Chinese characters are for a native English speaker to learn. It was like torture for my kids! So I spent many years looking for a fun and easy way to teach them how to read Chinese. After years of searching, I realised that none of the methods out there were engaging or efficient enough. So I did what any entrepreneur would do, I created my own method to learn how to read Chinese characters: Chineasy. And you know what? It works.
Chineasy allows people to learn to read Chinese easily by recognising common characters through simple illustrations. Behind the charming and engaging illustrations, the entire system is based on a rather complex programme I designed on my computer by breaking down and reconstructing thousands of characters. It is the CPU behind this method.
The magical power of the Chineasy method is that by learning one small set of building blocks, students can build many new words, characters, and phrases. Master a few building block sets and your learning will accelerate to a whole new level. With very little effort, learners are able to read several hundred Chinese characters and phrases whilst simultaneously gaining a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural influences behind the vocabulary. Even though there are tens of thousands of Chinese characters, only a few hundred are actually necessary to comprehend basic Chinese literature and begin to delve into Chinese culture and art.
The Oxford English Dictionary has 171,476 words in it, but I think it is safe to say that most people do not know all 171,476 of them. In Chinese, though we have thousands of characters, not all of them are needed to understand the language. For instance:
- 20,000 = Characters in a Scholar’s vocabulary
- 1,000 = Characters used in standard literacy
- 200 = Characters used Basic literacy
With top 200 most frequently used characters a person will be able to understand about 40% of the basic Chinese literature. The trick is to know how to build phrases by using those characters. This is enough to understand Chinese found in Menus and on road signs.
The Creative process
What makes Chineasy unique is its beautiful visual style, which is highly memorable, but also captures the fun and modern side of Chinese. But, these simple illustrations are anything but simple to create – as our three designers will tell you! Each character we create has to follow the same three guidelines: they have to look stunning, be stylistically consistent with what we have produced before and most importantly they have to be educationally effective.
Before we even start designing our team researches the definition, origin and history of the character. We then move on to the applications (for example, how to build more characters and phrases) and finally we consider how to make stories out of them.
After this research our designers create their different interpretations of the character. We always have several versions and numerous drawings for each. Between us we then discuss, debate, bounce ideas and then finally decide on a final version to you. Each character is one of our children!
How Can You Help?
With your help we would like to publish a Chineasy book. We have already made a start, but we want to do more and we want to share the characters with you in all of their Glory! With your help we can finish our first batch of characters and publish them in a beautifully bound book. We hope to include characters and phrases and stories (what sort of book would it be without some stories!)
If we succeed we would also like to produce even more educational material such as an App and audio recordings, we have so many things planned!!!!!!