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!

How to learn so many?


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.

Staring at this character, I wondered what it could mean.


I cut the word apart until I could cut it no more.Three characters appeared.

silk radical
spoon radical
grass radical

With these I learnt my first cut up character. I remember the character, MEDICINE, with the visual of eating GRASS with a SILK spoon!

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


Not only did MEDICINE become an APPOINTMENT with GRASS, I was now familiar with five Chinese characters!

silk radical
spoon radical
grass radical

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


It was fun breaking the characters apart. I started calling this game:

cut / slice

To my horror not only could one character have multiple meanings, they could produce different sounds and become many different words!

qiē fēn
cut / separate
qiè jì
bear in mind

Time for a deep, deep breath!


I created a word bank. I will not be intimidated by the unknown.

One step at a time I will get to know this language.

I will bear in mind that there is always more to learn than just these. I make a note (+) for later.

Are you ready to play?

Yes! Play game!

Let's learn some words! Let's learn Mandarin!

Click one of the cards to start!

About this game