A Chinese language learner can write pretty easily a simple Chinese character like  木  mù  ‘tree’. It is not difficult and can be written after a couple of trials.

When we understand the structure of this character, we can keep its order of writing in our memory for a long time, if not forever.

Decomposition of the Chinese character   木   mù  ‘tree’ looks like this:

十  shí ten,

一  yī one,

丨  gǔn line,

八  bā eight

Now we understand the decomposition chain of the character   木   mù  ‘tree’ : 木十一丨八.

Let us take a more complicated Chinese character   绩  jì  ‘achievement’.  Could it be written at the first glance? Too many components and component combinations are in it. If this character is analysed and each of its components understood, this Chinese character will also be written without any difficulty too.

Decomposition of the Chinese character   绩  jì  ‘achievement’:

纟  mì silk,

幺  yāo short thread,

厶  sī private,

一  yī one,

责  zé responsibility,

一  yī one,

土  tǔ earth,

十  shí ten,

一  yī one,

丨  gǔn line,

一  yī one,

贝  bèi shell,

冂  jiōng down,

人  rén man,


The decomposition chain of the Chinese character   绩  jì  ‘achievement’ has become more familiar to us and it does not cause any difficulty:

纟幺厶一责一土十一丨一贝冂 人.


One can raise an objection: I have to learn too many simple symbols. Right. The same as we learn the alphabet in the alphabetical languages, we need to learn 214 Chinese radicals at the initial stage of the Chinese language learning.

The radicals like letter are repeated in different Chinese characters. Not too much time is needed for learning the Chinese radicals if the Chinese characters are analysed and decomposed under the guidance of the teacher in the classroom.

We have compared two Chinese characters: a simple  木   mù  ‘tree’ and a more complicated   绩  jì  ‘achievement’. We can use the reserve of our brain memorizing the simple Chinese characters.

Regarding more complicated Chinese characters we have to rely upon the knowledge base in our brain – the Chinese character decomposition.


More information about the Chinese character decomposition: http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/the-chinese-character-decomposition-guidance/18847104 and http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/polina985