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Thanks tumu - I didn't realize there was such a difference between Chinese & English dictionaries. I appreciate your lengthy response, it was very helpful. :)|
onepastyoung - yes, that's a very good point. I should notice for myself if I understand the Chinese definitions! I can see looking up a word that's in the definition now & then, but at this point I'd spend all day looking up the words in a definition, then looking up the words in THOSE definitions, then the words in THOSE definitions... maybe that'd be interesting for a day, in fact maybe I'll try it and see how long before I go crazy.
At this point I am DEFINITELY a beginner. I am not ready for a Chinese-only dictionary. I know the equivalent of about a year's worth of a college level language class. I am also studying on my own with children's books, newspapers, tv (can hardly understand anything, it's too fast!) and my favorite book right now is my book of 214 radicals, presented in the order they'd be in in the kangxi (sp?) dictionary. Each page has one character with a written description of the origin of it (as best they can), a few examples of how it is found with some other words, the proper stroke order (with the 9 square box - what's that called?) and the character as it evolved from its older known form, seal script, etc, until the current form.
I love that book. Learning the origin of a word or word-part is extremely helpful to me. Some people say "oh you don't need to know all that!". Maybe I don't NEED to, and practically speaking, maybe I could better spend my time learning more vocabulary or listening & speaking, but I know how I learn, and I have already seen that knowing some basics and word origins is helpful for the future.
I like practicing characters, I have a pad of graph paper I'm slowly filling... it's easy to forget them, but knowing their roots or at least associating it with a picture helps me remember words. I'm no good at memorizing, but if I fully understand something, or use it in real life, I'll remember it better.
Do Chinese children practice a character over & over hundreds of times? How do they learn hanzi?