I made this game because I thought it would be impossible to learn Mandarin.

It was so different from any other language I had seen.

I read somewhere that I needed to learn 3000 characters to be able to read a newspaper.

I couldn't imagine speaking it!

I didn't know where to begin.

Next

I started looking at this character:

yào

What could this strange character mean?


Since I was a child, I've always been intrigued by the art of taking things apart.

I've disassembled typewriters; computers; stanzas in beautiful poems; to try and understand how they work.

I wondered if it worked with Chinese characters.

Next

I cut the word apart until I can cut it no more.

yào

Three new characters appeared. They were much simpler to read; to remember; to learn.

My dictionary told me what they meant in my language.

silk
spoon
grass
Next

I learned my first word.

medicine
yào

I remembered it by the visual of eating grass with a silk spoon.


I put the silk spoon together and learned another new word:

appointment
yuē


Medicine was now an appointment with grass.

Next

I knew five characters now!

grass
silk
spoon
appointment
medicine

I wondered if I could learn the smaller characters to remember all the big ones.

Fired up with confidence I found myself speaking and reading Chinese characters.

Next

Play my game every day on your commute to work to become confident in Mandarin.

Are you ready!?!

准备好了吗!?!

Read why I made this game