Updated: Sep 11, 2020
“I don’t care about Chinese characters. I just want to chat with Chinese people.”
“Chinese characters are so difficult.”
“I have kids. I work full time. I can barely squeeze time to learn Chinese. I don’t have time for characters.”
“I don’t enjoy reading anyways.”
I understand :)
I used to think if you only care about listening and speaking, you don’t need to learn Chinese characters. However, after teaching hundreds of students, I realized I didn’t know what I was talking about. 听说读写 are all closely connected.
All of my advanced students told me the same thing, “knowing Chinese characters helps my speaking”. They said when they tried to figure out what to say in Chinese, sometimes they had the image of the characters in their mind, and it triggered the memories of their input from the past. They also said, Chinese characters are very logical. By analyzing the radicals and shapes of characters, they can guess the meanings of new words while reading.
What's more, listening and reading are input, speaking and writing/typing are output. Without enough input, you will not give correct output. If you don’t want to learn characters, you lose half of your input. Good language learners are always readers. If you want to pass beginner level, you need to 泛听，泛读 ，which means listen a lot, read a lot.
Most importantly, a lot of Chinese words are pronounced the same but use different characters.
Wǒ wèn nǐ, is I ask you, wǒ wěn nǐ, is I kiss you, wǒ wén nǐ, is I sniff you. You don’t wanna write an email in pinyin to your Chinese coworker, and explain to HR for 2 hours afterwards, do you?
So, what are you waiting for, go watch my video about how to learn Chinese characters, https://youtu.be/MslIqEdJOks
You are welcome ;)