"Thank you for the great software! It makes learning Chinese characters an awesome experience!"
—Robin Yeh

"I have let my reading skills lapse since the last time I was in China, mainly because I can't enjoy reading when I have to stop to look up characters. Clavis Sinica takes the dictionary-induced eyestrain and boredom out of reading Chinese; it's made it much easier for me to read online news articles, and has really improved my reading."
—Eric Hayot, State College, PA

"My compliments to you for offering a product of such high quality and relevence for Americans now and in the foreseeable future."
—David Stanley, M.D.

"I have been using the program for about 5 months now and I have moved from knowing a little over 2,000 characters to consistently scoring 3,000 or more on your on-line character test. More importantly I have finally moved from reading intermediate texts to on-line news I find on the WWW. Your program has turned out to be an amazing aid. I am now a huge fan."
—Brent Nelson

"It's a great program, containing just about every option that a student could want. Steve Coffin"
—Paul Fendos

"I received my copy of Clavis Sinica already, and after looking at it must say that it is as good as I hoped: a very useful piece of software at a very affordable price. Thank you again for your quick service and this fine learning tool."
—Paul Fendos

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Learn Chinese Characters

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced student of Chinese, if you're looking for resources to help you learn and retain Chinese characters, you have come to the right place. Here are some of the learning tools and materials you'll find on this website:

Chinese Reading Materials for All Levels

The most effective way to expand your knowledge of Chinese characters, whatever your skill level, is to practice reading. You'll find dozens of short Chinese reading materials on this site, each one graded according to difficulty. There are very short, simple texts for complete beginners as well as longer, more challenging pieces for more experienced students.

  • Stepping Stones Lesson Series - A set of graded lessons designed to introduce adult beginners to the 300 most commonly used characters in modern Chinese. Lesson materials include audio recordings, character stroke animations, flashcards, grammar notes, exercises, and more.
  • Chinese Voices Project - A graded set of over 100 short essays on topics relating to life in modern Beijing. Each essay is accompanied by an audio recording; many also offer customized flashcard sets and interactive text reader functionality.
  • Chinese Text Sampler - A collection of over 100 authentic readings from Chinese history, literature, philosophy, and popular culture for more advanced readers. Each text is graded according to its relative difficulty.

Chinese Learning Tools

Learning characters requires a sustained commitment and lots of practice. We offer a variety of flashcard and dictionary resources to help you learn and review vocabulary and measure your progress:

  • Chinese Character Test - This popular web-based tool helps you estimate out how many Chinese characters you recognize and measure your progress over time.
  • Chinese Flashcards Applet - Our online flashcards tool allows you to drill yourself on the 800 most commonly used characters and all 189 radicals.
  • Zika Chinese Flashcards for iPhone - Our new flashcards app features a unique multiple-choice interface and 18 built-in Chinese flashcard sets for a total of nearly 1400 vocabulary items.
  • Chinese Flashcard Sets - A collection of 50 thematically arranged flashcard sets that help you learn groups of related words together. Can be used with the Clavis Sinica software's built-in flashcard tool or printed out using our Vocabulary List Converter.
  • Chinese Dictionary - Need a quick translation? Search the full Clavis Sinica dictionary by English, characters, or pinyin.
  • Vocabulary List Extractor - A handy tool that automatically creates a printable vocabulary review sheet, including character, pinyin, and English definition, from any digitized Chinese text.

Chinese Reading and Reference Software

Our popular Clavis Sinica software is used at dozens of schools and colleges to help students read unfamiliar texts and study the new vocabulary they introduce. The software combines four key components in a single, easy-to-use package:

  • The Text Reader provides one-click access to the pronunciation and meaning of any unfamiliar word in any Chinese document or website. Read any Chinese text that interests you without the need for a print dictionary!
  • The Analytical Dictionary reveals the underlying structure of Chinese words and generates lists of other words using the same parts. Once you learn why a character is written the way it is and how it relates to other characters in the same character family, it becomes much easier to remember. Of course, you can also search the 45,000-word dictionary by English, pinyin, or character strokes.
  • The Vocabulary List Builder helps you create customized vocabulary lists from any Chinese document. They can convert these lists into flashcards for review with the program's powerful built-in flashcards tool. Or they can print them out as study sheets using the free Vocabulary List Converter in our Chinese Toolbox.
  • The Character Inventory Manager tracks your progress in mastering each Chinese character that you've ever looked up or studied. A character inventory statistics window shows how many characters you've looked up and how thoroughly you've learned them, while the Daily Review tool sets up customized character review sessions for you each day based on which characters have given you trouble in the past and when you last reviewed them.

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