Memorising a large number of Chinese characters is notoriously difficult and consumes and large amount of a Chinese learner’s time. Even after you’ve learnt a character, keeping it in memory is quite difficult. Experts generally agree that learning and understanding the functional components of characters is the best long-term, sustainable way to do this. There’s a crowdfunding campaign going on right now for a special add-on dictionary for Pleco that looks like it will be an excellent tool to achieve this.
The dictionary is called Outlier Dictionary of Chinese Characters, and it looks like it’s much more substantial and useful than a lot of the Chinese learning apps coming out these days (especially for those moving beyond the early beginner levels).
It includes the usual things like pronunciation, definitions, support for both simplified and traditional characters and stroke order. But some of the things it has that make it different include:
- character form explanations,
- original & derivative meanings,
- component-by-component stroke order breakdown,
- HSK/TOCFL stats,
- character history (oracle bones, etc.) with explanations, comparisons & trivia, and
- related characters by:
- sound series,
- semantic component (including corrupted components), and
- dictionary radical