Chinese Society in the New Millennium
This website contains supplementary material designed to provide reference and to enhance the students understanding of the importance of the phonetic components in Chinese characters. By constantly noticing those characters in the textbook which are phonetic components themselves, students will develop a sense of association when they see the same components appear with different radicals in various situations. Also, by seeing in the list new characters which share the same phonetic components and appear in later lessons, the students will learn to pay more attention to those characters.

More than 90% of modern day Chinese characters are comprised of phonetic compounds, with a strong tie in the pronunciation of the phonetic elements themselves. Such characters are made up of a phonetic part indicating the sound of the character, and a part providing some information on the meaning of the character (these are called radicals or 'bushou'). Therefore, it is essential for the students of Chinese language to learn about the most commonly used radicals ('bushou') as well as the phonetic elements which are characters themselves. The students should also be aware that some of the characters, when combined with a semantic component ('bushou') in a character, change their pronunciation from the original phonetic elements.

By building up the knowledge of phonetic elements, the individual readers of Chinese will gradually develop a greater ability to guess the pronunciation of new characters. In turn, the learners will be able to decode the sound of unfamiliar words and then check the dictionary more effectively. In combination with the knowledge of 'bushou' (radicals) in Chinese, the phonetic components will help the students learn hundreds of other Chinese characters more efficiently.

The main objectives are as follows:

1. Raise the learners awareness of the importance of the phonetic component in Chinese characters

2. Build up a learning strategy for reading and writing characters -- guessing the pronunciation of an unfamiliar word, making an association between the previously learned characters, which are the phonetic components, with an unfamiliar character, and looking up new words in the dictionary.

3. Hopefully it will help the First Year Chinese students see one of the linguistic features of characters so they won't be overwhelmed by the number of new characters they will have to learn.

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