February 03, 2018

Understanding Chinese Characters

Learn to understand 70% of Chinese characters in a few weeks

  • Do you want to learn Chinese characters, but don’t know where to start?
  • Have you ever studied Chinese characters, but found them difficult to remember?
  • Does knowing the structure and history of Chinese characters help you remember them?
  • Are you looking for academic preciseness without the academic language and clutter?

This book is hopefully for you:)

There is a flood of resources when it comes to learning Chinese characters, it is however unfortunately very difficult to find a good book which would cover everything you need precisely and in a reader-friendly way.

Books about Chinese characters are either very difficult to read, because they've been written by researchers and are not intended for the everyday learner, or are very reader-friendly and appealing like Chineasy, but are also very imprecise, incomplete, impractical and just frustrating.

When I started learning Mandarin, as a student of the Chinese department, my research specialization was Chinese character etymology. I was very frustrated too, because the books we were using, were the former of the two I mentioned: albeit precise, they were cluttered with academic data and very difficult to read. I also however noticed that my friends who were learning Chinese outside of the Chinese department on their own were learning from the latter type of books: albeit pleasant to the eye, they were critically imprecise.

After years and years of research and after becoming proficient in Mandarin Chinese and Classical Chinese after having read more than 100 books in Mandarin and Classical Chinese a friend of mine asked whether I could recommend a solid Chinese characters book for him. A book that would cover everything a learner would need in a very fast and functional way yet would be precise and even visually appealing. To my surprise, there still was no book like that on the market.

I first started building up a list of characters I could recommend to my friend and any beginner learning Chinese characters and started to write the absolute scientific minimum for each character, explaining its structure, main functional pronunciations and meanings. This soon turned into a massive project, taking more than 5 years involving a team of more than 20 people, which ended up in the publishing of this book.

Even thought we are self-published and had a minimal budget, I honestly do believe that the result of this effort is the best book about Chinese characters on the market to this date. It is academically precise, reader-friendly and functional. We wrote it with great professionalism and attention to detail with one goal in mind: to let the reader understand and learn Chinese characters as fast as possible in the most pleasurable and functional way.

Understanding Chinese characters is a book that compiles years of Chinese character study in a concise and understandable way for the learner. Learn to understand Chinese characters for what they really are with a book that is easy to use, combining the best modern Chinese character academic research with the best learner experience.

Written by Vladimir Skultety, a graduate of Chinese studies specialized in Chinese character etymology and a polyglot speaking 15 languages working as an interpreter of Mandarin Chinese, English and Slovak.

Buy now for € 14.99 (+VAT)

Free Character practice sheets included

Key features

  • suitable for anyone looking to understand and learn Chinese characters quickly and effectively
  • simple enough for beginners, detailed and accurate enough for advanced learners
  • characters in the book cover up to 70% of most modern texts written in Chinese
  • contains both Traditional and Simplified characters 
  • free printable character practice sheets with correct stroke order included
  • based on years of extensive and very detailed academic research, but written in a way which avoids academic clutter
  • high quality color images
  • custom designed illustrations
  • custom painted Oracle bone characters
  • licensed beautiful Seal Script font
  • 273 pages


"The author clearly put a lot of thought into this book and specifically tailored it to make it easily accessible to the masses of people who are interested in finding out more about the Chinese language and the history of how Chinese characters came about. 

The book is written in a very down-to-earth style and addresses a lot of frequent questions people have as they embark on their long journey of learning Chinese and coming to grips with the seemingly insurmountable writing system."

"This book is a very 'clean' and precise piece of work. It presents the information you need without any waffling. (I find that many other books in the same field resort to complicated back-stories and interpretations of characters that don't necessarily help you to remember them). 

The explanation of how different Chinese characters are constructed is very clear and useful. The focus on only the most essential characters also helps a beginner to not feel overwhelmed. Thanks to the author for this very practical addition to my library!"

"As a native speaker of Mandarin Chinese and a certified medical interpreter, I have to say that this is really an amazing book. It’s a very sophisticated and well-thought-out analogy but explained in an easy-to-understand way. The presentation of the Chinese characters and explanation of the tones are creative, animated, and the color-coding makes it easy to follow the explanations (the lil icons are quite cute too!). The high quality content just further illustrates the author’s knowledge, depth of understanding in the language and how much effort has put into the whole language-learning process. This is not only a great resource for those currently learning Mandarin Chinese, but also a great read and eye-opener for native speakers as you would greatly appreciate the beauty of Chinese characters. Highly recommended."


If you buy the book now, you'll get my beginner's Mandarin Chinese noun list (both simplified and traditional) for free. If you like, read more about the project here.

Autumn discount

Original price € 24.99 

Full refund

I hope you'll find the book useful and enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, but if within 30 days after your purchase, for any reason you should think it wasn't what you were looking for, your payment will be fully refunded.


  1. Hi. I found this 春韶鸣喜 written on a cup. It's probably in Classical Chinese. Can you guess what it's supposed to mean?


    1. Hello Pablo,

      I didn't know, so I had to ask my Taiwanese friends. They didn't know either and had to google it.

      It's the name of a painting from the 宋 dynasty. 春韶 means 'beautiful spring'. Literally 春韶鳴喜 means 'chirping birds bringing good news in beautiful spring'.

      Here is the painting:

      Hope it helps,


    2. ¡Muchas gracias!