30 June 2011


I didn't think it was possible, but it turns out theres a nursery rhyme for learning Chinese characters (well sort of). Its called the Qianziwen (literally: Thousand Character Classic) and was created by Zhou Xingsi by order of Emperor Wu of the Liang Dynasty as a way to help his son learn Chinese characters. It consists of 1000 non-repeating characters arranged into 250 four character phrases. Not only does no character occur twice, but the whole thing rhymes! Its not used anymore however because it follows the grammar of Classical Chinese, which may confuse those trying to learn the modern language.

Still, you can read the whole thing transcribed and annotated, here. You can also find it broken down by character here.

Still not satisfied? You can even listen to the damn thing!

 Zhou Xingsi - Qian Zi Wen .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine


  1. This is the first work in Classical Chinese I read -- albeit, I used the Korean pronunciations.

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  3. Good article!Thanks for your hard working! Chinese is a most difficult language, Recommended friends who are learning Mandarin Chinese a good learning
    article after reading this article:
    How to Learn Chinese Characters?
    Hope all of us can make rapid progress!