If you want any long-term success with Mandarin, then learning Chinese characters is 100% essential.
Why? Well, characters allow you to read, reading is the fastest way to acquire vocabulary, and mastering vocabulary makes you fluent.
With the current methods available, Chinese characters are exceptionally tough to learn.
If a native speaker teaches you characters, then you will likely be “rote learning.” Rote learning means writing or reviewing over and over until each character burns into your brain. Burning hurts.
Even the latest flashy apps and websites that claim to teach 汉字 are relying on some form of rote learning.
Visualization and Memory
The most effective methods for learning characters (or anything, really) employ specific memory techniques that tap into our brain’s evolutionarily derived ability to visualize. These same memory techniques are used by World Memory Champions to perform astounding feats, such as memorizing a deck of cards in 16.96 seconds or 520 random digits in five minutes.
Our brains did not evolve any suitable mechanism for remembering words, numbers, or Chinese characters. After all, on an evolutionary timescale, these are all brand new inventions. However, our minds did adapt to memorizing people, places, and objects, especially when involving emotions, visuals or sounds.
All these memory champions do is associate unmemorable numbers or words with memorable places, faces, objects & actions. The best memory technicians create a system to speed up the process.
THE HANZI MOVIE METHOD
Close your eyes and imagine the following as vividly as you can:
You are standing outside your childhood home. Next to you is a giant crucifix sticking out of the ground. In front of the crucifix stands Gandalf from Lord of the Rings. He is protecting the crucifix from Neo (Keanu Reeves from the matrix), who begins to run at both Gandalf and the crucifix. Gandalf shouts “You Shall not pass!” while attempting to stop him, but Neo jumps over him in slow motion, landing on the crucifix, driving it into the ground. As if Neo pressed a button, the landscape reacts by turning into a desert. Both Gandalf and Neo fall to the ground gasping for a drink of water.
Would you believe you just learned a Chinese character using the “Hanzi Movie Method”? Each detail within that “movie scene” maps onto a key element of the Chinese character 干 gān, meaning “dry.”
Each 汉字 hànzì (Chinese character) is like a movie scene in your head, complete with actors, props, sets, and scripts, all of which directly map onto an element of the 汉字 that you must memorize.
The best part? All of these elements are chosen by you, which transforms each character you learn into an autobiographical waltz through your life, packed with the whole range of human emotion & movie special effects to boot.
But that’s not all. We have been teaching this method to hundreds of people over the last three years, using it ourselves for six years, and in the process become experts in guiding you to mastery of each mnemonic skill and how it maps onto Mandarin.
Our video lessons articulate how to learn Chinese characters to anyone. Following the curriculum, you can not only learn this whole new skill in a few hours but also how to make these “mini-movies” so vibrant, personal and engaging that learning any 汉字 in less than 1 minute will be a piece of cake. Oh, and you’ll never forget it. Ever.
The Hanzi Movie Method is just a part of our upcoming project that will allow you to use a variety of advanced tools and memory techniques to acquire 80% of Chinese characters, vocabulary, and grammar in as little as a few weeks. The BETA test group is now available with free access, we just ask for your feedback in return.
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