Chinese Language Asked on December 24, 2020
Just as knowing PIE and etymology can assist with learning vocabulary, I desire to learn Chinese characters from fathoming e.g. progression diagrams and their glyph origins. Your book recommendations must befit tenderfoot Anglophones who know no Chinese like me, so the book must be mostly written in English.
If you’re recommending more than one book, please stipulate the difficulty of each book. I don’t know how serviceable the following books are.
On Dec 6 2018, Furio Petrossi recommended
On May 25 2014, OneEye quipped that
Wieger’s book [Chinese Characters: Their Origin, Etymology, History, Classification, and Signification: A Thorough Study from Chinese Documents] is interesting historically, it’s a fun read, and at the time it was probably the best thing available in English/French. But it’s badly outdated now, so I don’t think anyone looking for real character etymology should bother themselves with that book. It can be a handy book for learning characters, but for that purpose I personally like Rick Harbaugh’s Chinese Characters_: A Dictionary and Genealogy_ better. As I said here, it also gets a lot wrong, but it’s the best thing in English right now. But actually, Wieger and Harbaugh would probably go together nicely.
I suggest you try to get a sample of the books first and then decide which serves better your purpose.
I think there are mainly two type of books:
They are focused mainly on Chinese learners, are less about etymologically accuracy and more about memorizing characters and stroke order with simple descriptions / stories. There are a large number of these books, but most of them appear to be similar. For example, I found:
Matthews, Alison. Matthews, Laurence - Tuttle Learning Chinese Characters (Hsk Levels 1 -3) Revolutionary New Way To Learn And Remember The 800 Most Basic Chinese Characters (2014, Tuttle Publishing):
They are more about the etymological origin of the words. I also posted some useful websites:
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ A free content dictionary website from the Wikipedia group.
HUMANUM by the Research Centre for Humanities Computing of the Research Institute for the Humanities (RIH), Faculty of Arts, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. In Mandarin.
In addition: https://www.zdic.net/ probably has also some etymological description, but it is fully in Mandarin and I can not confirm it.Note: I have not been able to access these other books:
Correct answer by Puco4 on December 24, 2020
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