Inspired by a facebook post of Frank Teng (ex MakeZine) who now is in Shenzhen I would like to share his advice and resources:

The Most Common Chinese Characters

According to the statistics, a knowledge of a given number of the most common characters should result in the following estimated understanding of the Chinese language:

100 characters → 42% understanding 1600 characters → 95.0% understanding
200 characters → 55% understanding 1700 characters → 95.5% understanding
300 characters → 64% understanding 1800 characters → 96.0% understanding
400 characters → 70% understanding 1900 characters → 96.5% understanding
500 characters → 75% understanding 2000 characters → 97.0% understanding
600 characters → 79% understanding 2100 characters → 97.4% understanding
700 characters → 82% understanding 2200 characters → 97.7% understanding
800 characters → 85% understanding 2300 characters → 98.0% understanding
900 characters → 87% understanding 2400 characters → 98.3% understanding
1000 characters → 89% understanding 2500 characters → 98.5% understanding
1100 characters → 90% understanding 2600 characters → 98.7% understanding
1200 characters → 91% understanding 2700 characters → 98.9% understanding
1300 characters → 92% understanding 2800 characters → 99.0% understanding
1400 characters → 93% understanding 2900 characters → 99.1% understanding
1500 characters → 94% understanding 3000 characters → 99.2% understanding

 

Chinese popup translator

Great tool for learning Chinese. Supports adding words to Skritter. A quick, easy and useful Chinese popup dictionary, especially for learners of Mandarin Chinese.

Top 3000 Chinese Characters

These are the 3000 most common simplified Chinese characters based on a sample of more than 2 million characters from texts on on a wide range of topics. If you know these characters you can read about 99.5% the Chinese you come across. The list is sorted according to frequency. It can be exported and then broken down to make more manageable lists. The definitions come from the CC-CEDICT dictionary. You can make your own characters frequency lists from any Chinese text (even whole books) using the Windows program at the following site: https://sourceforge.net/projects/vocabpractice/

 

Source: full conversation here

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