"In the last two months I have learned more using Clavis Sinica than I did in two years of college Chinese."
Anyone who wants to learn to read Chinese will quickly discover three major obstacles that make Chinese more difficult to learn than other languages. First, since there is no alphabet, looking up Chinese characters in a dictionary is a tedious and time-consuming chore. Once you've found a character in the dictionary, learning why this characters represents the sound and meaning that it does is a baffling task. And even if you're able to grasp (or invent!) an explanation for the form of the character, committing it to memory is a third major challenge.
Clavis Sinica is a powerful software tool designed to help you overcome these obstacles and learn to read Chinese.The integrated Chinese text reader allows you to read any digitized Chinese text, whether it's a poem, a short story, a blog entry, or a news article from the web, without the need for a print dictionary. Just click on any character you don't recognize to display the sound and meaning of the character and the word of which it is a part. If you want to learn why a character is written the way it is, just click again to bring up a window showing how the character is constructed from its radical and phonetic parts, and allowing you to view lists of other Chinese characters using the same parts. If you decide it's a character you really need to learn well, just select the "Learn Character" option to add the character to a customized vocabulary list. When you're done reading, you can use the built-in flashcards tool to open up your list and drill yourself on the characters and words that it contains.
There is no easy way to learn to read Chinese. There are thousands of characters you need to learn, and learning them all is hard work, however you go about it. While it won't solve all your troubles, the Clavis Sinica software can make learning to read Chinese a much more efficient, enjoyable, and intellectually rewarding experience.