Reading comprehension is innately challenging in any given language. However, the nature of Chinese allows some loop-holes which enables us to understand text despite a limited vocabulary.

Fact: only around 65% of the words in the HSK test is comprehensible to test takers.

Fact: there are over 50,000 distinguished characters in the Chinese language; learning all of them would take decades.

As a solution to these quite dismaying problems, Chinese learners often result to these creative reading strategies.

 

Radicals

Using radicals can be an effective method to understand difficult characters.

For example, we can infer the meaning of the word 网瘾 (wang yin) simply by examining its radicals. The first character has a radical suggesting “network” while the second character contains the “sickness” radical. Thus, in combining these two terms, we end up having “network”+”sickness” or in our modern day context, “internet sickness”.

 

 

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