Creating Mnemonics from Chinese character components

For learning Chinese characters I found the most efficient way to memorise the writing is to find a mnemonic sentence, that includes all the components of the character.

For example, for 突 (suddenly) there is: “A 犬 dog suddenly charging into a 穴 hole, to catch a rabbit. Since the dog can’t fit all the way into the rabbit hole, its tail sticks out.” Great!

But coming up with a mnemonic is quite difficult, if you don’t know the meanings of each individual character. And of course, when starting to learn Chinese, this is the usual case.

There is already a really nice Chinese Mnemonic website available. However, I have so far not been able to integrate these mnemonics into my Anki Deck. So, for learning the characters every day, this is not yet useful.

As a solution, I finally managed to create a nice character decomposition database. So far, an example entry looks like:

載: 土 (tǔ) soil, earth; items made of earth / 戈 (gē) halberd, spear, lance; rad. 62 / 車 (chē) cart, vehicle; carry in cart

Since 載 means “load; carry; transport, convey”, I can now easily come up with simple and stupid mnemonic like “Knight transports 載 his spear 戈 in his  cart 車 to the tournament on the earth 土”.

The format of the file is easily machine readable, so I have it now integrated in my Anki deck and can see the decomposition always along wit the character on the card.

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