Use this tool to add tone marks to pinyin or to convert tone number (e.g. hao3) to tone marks.

Although you can use the red buttons to add tone marks, we highly recommend you use the number method (e.g. hao3) for speed and placement of the accent above the correct vowel. [Hint: Type "v" for "ü"]
Note: You do not need to use this tool to enter pinyin in this dictionary.

How to Start Learning Chinese Characters

Written Chinese > How to Start Learning Chinese Characters

You’ve joined us here because you probably want to learn Chinese, but you’re not sure where to start. Well, you’re at the right place and we’re here to give you the answer!

Let’s start by looking at some of the most important elements of written Chinese and how you can start learning to read and write Chinese characters.

Before doing anything else, you should start with radicals

If you’re new to the written Chinese language, you may not have heard of radicals yet. Well have no fear, I’m here to tell you why radicals are the MOST important part of learning Chinese.

Radicals are the building blocks of learning Chinese. Most radicals also have their own special meaning and when put together, they become a Chinese character. Radicals are essential for learning Chinese characters because we can use them to create ‘stories’ and mnemonics to help us remember them, and trust me, you’ll need them!

If you want to learn more about radicals and how important they are to the written Chinese language, take a look at our article, The Ultimate Guide to Learning Chinese Radicals.

One of the most exciting additions to Written Chinese is our brand new book, The ABCs of Written Chinese, researched and written by our very own Nora! 

The ABCs of Written Chinese brings together all the essential elements to learning radical and takes a deep dive into the first 20 Chinese radicals so that you’ll never forget their meaning ever again! 

The book features include: 

  • detailed lessons on each radical
  • learn how to write each radical
  • etymology and history
  • quizzes and exercises
  • tips for learning written Chinese