How many Chinese characters exist? The biggest Chinese-Dictionary contains more than 85 000 characters. A conventional dictionary, for example dictionary for middle school student, has about 10 000 characters. In China a student shall know 3500 characters after the 9-year compulsory education. This amount is sufficient to understand 99% of text that encounter in daily life. Statistics shows that the 1000 most frequently used characters appear in 90% of text for daily use. So this can be a goal of learning.

There are 6 principals how the Chinese characters are built. Some of them were developed from a picture or logo, some of them are composed of two parts, one part for pronunciation and another part for meaning, and so on. If you look at them closer, you will find many characters have the same element. Characters with same element have something in common, either similar pronunciation, or related meaning. Finding how the characters are built and the logic behind them is not only interesting, but also is a process to understand Chinese culture.