I’ve been reading some academic papers lately. I’m trying to find research on the importance of radicals in Chinese Orthography. It basically confirms what we all know, radicals are important in Chinese character recognition and learning. Chinese Orthography is complex, thanks to its logographic writing system. However, I’ve been hard at work trying to figure out if there is a better way to learn Chinese Characters/Vocabulary than mnemonics/srs/rote repetition etc.
The answer to me lies in Chinese’s orthographic knowledge. A learner needs to build that. Part of Chinese’s orthographic knowledge is of course radicals. During my course at University, radicals was not explicitly taught (darn!), but the presence of them was of course said. My acquisition of radicals took a very passive approach. Being the pattern seeking human beings that we are, I started noticing these “components”. From there on characters became not a “pile of strokes” but constituents. In fact all Chinese characters consists of just over 200 radicals. To me this is the best way to claim an “alphabet” in Chinese.
Alas, I’m starting to digress and mostly made this post to inform you guys of the excellent Mandarin Poster Radicals Page. It has awesome design and has all the radicals. Clicking on a radical also presents you with examples of where the character is used. Win!