Our Curriculum

Chinese Components Mastery CourseChinese Character Course

Chinese Components Mastery Course

Learn the 400 building block components that join together in different combinations to create all Chinese characters. After you learn all of the components that form a Chinese character, that Chinese character becomes “unlocked” for you to learn in our Chinese Character Course. Focus on learning all 400 of these to prepare yourself to blast through our Chinese Character Course.

Note to instructors: Our Chinese Components Mastery Course makes an excellent semester-long or year-long “Introduction to Chinese Characters” course that will take approximately 47-67 hours to complete.


1. Category Playlist

Learn “groups” of related components to help you better remember the individual components within each category. This playlist will first teach you all of the components relating to people, followed by all of the components in the “Animals” category, then the “Nature” category, etc. Recommended for learners who aren’t afraid to occasionally learn more complicated to write components earlier on. For best retention we recommend using this playlist to learn the 400 basic components in this way.


2. From Easy to Difficult Playlist

Learn the easier to write components first. The components in this playlist are organized by stroke count and frequency of use. That is to say, components with fewer strokes are taught before components with more strokes. For example (一) is the first component taught while (龜), the most difficult to write, is taught last. Recommended for brand new learners of Chinese or young learners who want to start with easier to write components first.


3. Straight Frequency Playlist

Learn all 400 components in order of their frequency. The first component taught is the one most frequently used in Chinese characters, followed by the second, third, etc. This playlist is recommended for learners who already have experience writing Chinese characters or for learners who are in a rush to start recognizing lots of Chinese characters.


4. Alternate Playlists

A variety of user and instructor created playlists to work through. Some of these user created playlists are modifications of our “Category” and “From Easy to Difficult” playlists, while other playlists only focus on specific groups of our 400 components. Log in to see the full playlist library and the descriptions of those playlists.



Chinese Character Course (COMING SOON)

(Note: The content in our Chinese Character Course is still under development, but will be coming soon. In the meantime, get busy working through one of our Component Mastery Course playlists to start unlocking characters!)

After you’ve learned all of the building block components that form a certain Chinese character, that Chinese character becomes “unlocked” for you. Learn those unlocked characters in our Chinese Character Course.

Alternatively, you can do a “Component and Character Combo Course” where you will be guided to learn the basic components in a specific order to unlock specific Chinese characters. In this way you can immediately start learning Chinese characters while simultaneously learning the basic components that form those characters.

1. Key Characters and Derivatives Playlist

Basic components combine to form Chinese characters, right? In addition, some Chinese characters also help make more complicated characters. One example is (咼), a simple Chinese character formed from the basic components (冎) and (口). We consider this to be a “key” character because this simple character helps make lots of other derivative characters like: 禍 渦 蝸 窩 and 鍋. In this playlist you will first learn ALL of the simpler “key characters” that more complicated Chinese characters build upon and then you will learn the derivatives of those characters (in order of their frequency). This is the logical continuation of first starting with basic components, then learning simpler “key characters” and lastly learning all of derivatives of those characters. Though a bit abstract, this playlist will teach you a huge blanket of thousands of Chinese characters in a very fast and efficient manner. If your goal isn’t to learn thousands of characters, but only learn the most used 100, 500 or 1000 characters, the Key Characters and Derivatives playlist isn’t recommended for you.

2. Straight Frequency Playlist

Learn the most common Chinese characters first. The characters are arranged by frequency order so that the first character taught is the most frequently seen, followed by the second, third, etc. If your goal is to learn the most used 100, 500 or 1000 Chinese characters, this playlist is for you. The most frequently used character is the possessive particle “的”, followed by “是” and “不”… just so you know what to expect. This playlist is designed to give you instant usage of characters you will see throughout your day on signs, posters, in newspapers etc. but it may not be the most time-efficient way to go about learning thousands upon thousands of characters because the characters aren’t introduced to you in such a way that new characters build upon characters you’ve already learned.

3. Learn the Characters in My Textbook Playlist

Already using a Chinese textbook? Learn the characters in your book, chapter by chapter, utilizing the ABCs of Chinese radical memory-enhancing approach. This playlist is recommended for users who are using the ABCs of Chinese software in a classroom setting in parallel with a textbook. However, keep in mind that the order of Chinese characters presented in your textbook may not be the most optimal order for teaching you large numbers of characters – which is our aim. The textbook is teaching you the characters you need for chapter-specific conversations. If your goal is to learn 1000s of characters ASAP this playlist may not be the fastest option.

4. Specialized Character Lists Playlist

A variety of user and instructor created playlists to work through. Some playlists are vocabulary themed, for example teaching the Chinese characters for food menu items, the most common verbs, etc. Other playlists were created to serve different purposes. Log in to see the full playlist library and their descriptions.