Study guide for the new Chinese Etymology

Study guide for the new Chinese Etymology

Postby moderator » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:26 pm

Study guide for online course or for the self-study for the new Chinese Etymology.

A. Preparation -- Please read the following web pages before your study.

a. PreBabel (Chinese) at

b. Course Outline and Syllabus at

c. Chinese Etymology -- Presented at "AP Annual Conference 2007, College board" at

B. Chinese Etymology -- workbook one

a. Learning the 220 word roots -- you must learn them by writing them, memorizing them with your pen-tip with the exact pen-stroke sequences. The pen-stroke worksheets are included.
Note: Some roots are also standalone words, and they do have sounds (pronunciations). But, roots in a word are always silent. Thus, you will not be taught the sound of those roots.

b. Dissecting the G1 words the first time -- You should not concern the meaning of those G1 words at this point but must find out how those words are composed with the 220 roots. Note: you should be able to do this for the 80% G1 words. You can do the other 20% later, that is, skip them for the time being. At this point, you should not concern the pronunciations of those words.

c. Learning the 300 sound modules -- they are the examples of dissection and decoding. In addition to learning those modules as they are, you must learn the way of word dissection and decoding.
Note: although it seems to be funny, you should not concern the pronunciations of those "sound" modules at this point.

d. Dissecting the G1 words the second time -- by knowing the 300 sound modules, you should re-dissect the G1 words by dissecting them to their largest components, not all the way to the root level.

e. Decoding the G1 words -- now you can read out the meaning "directly" from those dissected components of your second dissection. This should be the innate (the original) meaning for the words.

f. Looking up the semantic meaning from a dictionary -- the semantic meaning (the usage) of a word can be quite different from its innate meaning. But, a linkage should be there, and you should learn the ways of bridging these gaps.
Note: there are many online dictionary available, such as, .

C. Chinese Etymology -- textbook

a. Goto lessen three to learn the theory and the camouflage of the Chinese etymology.

b. Go back to work on the 20% G1 words of which you were unable to dissect nor decode from your previous study.

c. Goto lessen one to learn the G2 ... Gn words with the similar method of learning the G1.
Note: up to this point, you are learning the etymology of words only without concerning the pronunciations of those words.

d. Goto lessen two to learn the decedent words of those 300 sound modules, with the following procedure.

i. learning 300 word etymologies first without the concerns of their sounds.

ii. you must already mastered the etymology of all those (about 1,100) G1 words. If not, you must go back to lesson one to re-learn them.

iii. after you have mastered the etymology of 220 roots, 300 sound modules and 1100 G1 words, you can begin to learn the sound of those 300 sound modules (by yourself with any dictionary, don't have to be using the Taiwan pinyin, or from a friend who can speak Mandarin well). Note: This is the first time for you to learn the pronunciations of Chinese words in this course.

iv. after you have learned the sounds of those 300 sound modules, you should learn the 4-tone from them, without the concern of the words' meanings which are listed in the 4-tone bracket.

v. after you have learned those 4-tones, you will know the sound of those words in the 4-tone brackets. Now, you can and should try your newly learned skill to dissect and to decode those words yourself. Then, check your finding with a dictionary. Note: there are often having some differences between your decoding and the word meaning from the dictionary. But you should and could bridge those gaps quickly at this stage. If you are successful at this stage, you need dictionary no more. You will know the meaning and the sound of any newly meet word 95% of the time without needing a dictionary.

Note: if you are able to read the Taiwan pin-ying, you can try this yourself. If you cannot, you can find a Chinese friend to help you on learning these four-tones. At any rate, you can always use an online dictionary (such as, ) to find the pronunciation of those words.

With the above courses, you have learned over 3500 Chinese characters. And you should have gained the ability to dissect and to decode any not-learned Chinese word. You now have the foundation to read the current Chinese newspaper as the Chinese phrases can be reasoned out and be picked up by reading and reading.
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Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 2:37 pm

Study instruction for advanced Chinese Etymology

Postby moderator » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:30 pm

The study instruction for advanced Chinese Etymology

The meaning of a sentence of all languages arises from its composing vocabulary and its grammatical rules. For English, the majority of the vocabulary are words. That is, everyone with an English dictionary can read and comprehend English sentences. However, this is not the case for Chinese. By knowing every word of a Chinese sentence might not be able to understand its meaning. This is because that most of Chinese vocabulary are composed of word-phrases, not words (character) alone, such as,
蝴 蝶 (butterfly), 密 蜂 (bee), etc..

Thus, the advanced Chinese etymology material is about word-phrases.

1. Study the Kangsi radicals and the related word phrase.
2. Study the word phrases of 300 sound modules
3. Study the word phrases of file henry01
Note: After this point, students must begin to try to construct some sentences after each lesson.
4. Study the word phrases of file henry 02
5. Study the word phrases of file henry 03

After this point,
a. Students must begin to read newspaper daily and begin to read some short novels.
b. There are many books of Chinese idioms available in any Chinese book store. Students should begin to study those Chinese idioms.
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 2:37 pm

Re: Study guide for the new Chinese Etymology

Postby Huiliam » Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:27 pm

This is excellent. I do not see very many language courses with a plan as detailed as this one.
Are there any children's books which you recommend for us to read before we attempt the short novels?
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Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:46 pm

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