Learn Characters by tracing the etymology
By looking at the elements in an character i learn faster and remember the characters longer. This is what i do:
. Take the new character e.g.
The character is ān, peace, calm etc. the two left pictures are the pictograph of the character. This I look up in an Character dictionary. The bottom part is a woman and she is under a roof =A woman under the roof of a house is something that will bring the man peace. It was the woman who cared for the household
Now, by looking at the radical here, the roof part (mián) we can find many other characters with this as a radical such as:
字 letter, character, word (zì) If we break down this we get a Child (子 zǐ) under the roof = word. A child in the family leads to communication. In this character the roof part is the radical and the child part is the pronunciation part.
Like this we can go on and look for other words with the same pronunciation part such as 仔 (zī) responsibility. Person and child = it is a persons/parents responsibility to take care of the child.
We can also go the other way and find words with this character such as:
安排 ānpái to arrange; to plan
安全 ānquán safe; secure; safety; security
平安 píng'ān safe and sound; well
I usualy concentrates on words that are on the top 2000 list when breaking down the characters. The words i get from on line dictionaries.
After a whort while we will notice that most characters can be traced down to a few elements. There is only 214 radicals in simplified Chinese. All characters has an radical so it might be a good idea to learn the radical in the character. Since the radical tells us something about the meaning of the character it is an vital part to know. My brain needs the sort of structure. Just learning to paint the character does not work for me. I need to know the structure. This is my structure:-)
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