Just a few months ago, I had set myself the goal to learn to read & write Chinese, and I choose Heisig as the approach to follow. I did the first 94 characters in 5 days from their free PDF - so I started off feeling optimistic. However when the book arrived, it was thicker than I was expecting, which got me worried. This was going to take forever!
But it didn't take forever. Three and half months later, and it's done.
I've got plenty to share about where the journey has taken me (and where it has not taken me!), but I'm writing this post from Jaipur, India - so I'll take my time over a longer article when I get back.
First, some summary stats:
- 1500 characters in 106 days
- this is about 14 characters a day
- if I allow for the fact that during October I studied no new characters because of work pressure, I could argue it only took about 2.5 months, at about 20 characters a day
- on average I spent 20-30 minutes a day learning to read & write Chinese, so I might guess that the total time investment was a mere 40 hours, including revision along the way
- I'm guessing that my recall is about 80%+ (going from hanzi to keyword) and 70% (going from keyword to hanzi)
- and even when I get a character wrong in my revision, when I look at the answer, it's almost never a total surprise - it was at the tip of my tongue.
I'm also spending lots of time using flashcards to learn compound words - because without those "reading" is still only guessing at the meaning.
Thanks for all your support along the way, including comments and encouragement. There's a long way still to go, so hang around for the rest of the journey ...