I've just discovered something that has never crossed my mind about learning Chinese.
Last week, my friend bought me a Chinese book for my birthday - it's all written with characters and no pinyin. Initially I thought "awesome - it's about time I paid some attention to hanzi". After all the excitment of opening presents, I turned my attention to understanding what the characters on the front cover said, so I grabbed my Chinese dictionary and was immediately shocked to realise something I've never considered before about learning Chinese - how do you look up characters in a dictionary if you don't even know the pinyin to begin with?
I am actually quite shocked that I've not considered this before.
How do I even begin to look words up in a Chinese dictionary when I've only got the characters and have no idea what the pinyin is? Is there any simple way of doing this? How do Chinese people do this?
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