When around 200 million Chinese children start school on Sept. 1, a major — perhaps the major — task facing them will be to learn 400 to 500 new Chinese characters over the year. It’s a challenge all the children struggle to meet, to varying degrees.
Chinese characters lack systematic visual clues for pronunciation, meaning they must be learned individually, via repeated hand-copying to build motor memory.
“Just as people can hear a sound but cannot see it, see a picture but cannot hear it, our eyes and ears don’t meet in Chinese.”
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