posted by hans.castorp.tahiti on September 15, 2012 | 7 comments
Hello everyone!

Do you know what is meant by "100 characters --> 42% understanding" in the following site?
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trevelyan on September 15, 2012 | reply
They mean that the most frequent 100 characters constitute 42 percent of the average Chinese text. Sort of on par with claiming that knowing the letter "e" gives you a 12% grasp of the English language.
hans.castorp.tahiti on September 15, 2012 | reply
42 percent, that's really a lot :) But it depends on the Chinese texts he used to compute those frequencies... I guess... :)
Xiao Hu on September 15, 2012 | reply

The ultimate conclusion of following the 100 characters --> 42% understanding will produce the Chinese that's spoken by the American born Taiwanese that I used to know in the states.

Something like:

我很喜欢看 movies, 也很喜欢这个 director 的 movies. 我也喜欢用 video camera 去 shoot 我 own movies for 我的爸爸妈妈看一下。

You'd need about 70% or greater understanding to really grasp what's going on, I wouldn't put much stock in the 42% rule.
hans.castorp.tahiti on September 16, 2012 | reply
I guess it's not really "42% *understanding*". It would rather be "42% "reading""... so these 42% are not really meaningful :)

Been trying to learn how to write: it's not that hard but the key should be to write every day :)

Do you know any site where I could find some texts to practice reading? Or some text in pinyin to practice writing?
murrayjames on September 17, 2012 | reply

Are you a paid subscriber here? If so, you can set the transcripts to show up as a pinyin only, and test yourself that way. It's super easy to toggle between pinyin and characters.
trevelyan on September 17, 2012 | reply
There are also our collection of short stories as well as machine-annotated chinese news.

Both of those are really designed for much higher-level users, but there are some easier texts in the short stories as well -- see in particular the selections from Mao, which are pretty straightforward and are often read in China by younger high-school students.
hans.castorp.tahiti on September 27, 2012 | reply
Thanks to both of you!

I wasn't near my computer these days so... sorry if I reply late.

I'll have a look at short stories section :)