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Number of Characters Taught?

Does anyone know the exact number of Chinese characters covered in the Duolingo course? I'm excited because I just finished the tree today (everything to level 1 at least, with several 2s and 3s). I also finished HelloChinese last week. (That was pretty cool...your screen goes black and then you see and hear fireworks!) Of course, this just means the real work goes on in both courses but I'm really excited! And curious as to how many characters were introduced in the entire course.

April 18, 2018



Not really related to your question, but just for your information:

If you have finished the tree on level 1 (or even level 2), you might consider starting to read "real" stuff:

http://mandarincompanion.com/ (Not free. Start with the Sherlock Holmes story which is quite easy)

http://chinesereadingpractice.com/ (You can filter the texts by level)

http://www-personal.umich.edu/%7Edporter/sampler/sampler.html (more difficult texts)

This is an extremely useful website for reading:


Sometimes, you will notice that you cannot understand a sentence although you know all words in it. It might be because you don't know the particular grammar pattern used in that sentence. Check this website in that case:



Wow! Thank you for these great links! I need to bookmark these.



I don't know for the number of characters but congratulations for your Chinese(tree +Hello Chinese).

Did you try Chinese on Memrise too?

I use Hello Chinese too, Memrise and some Chinese interesting videos on YouTube.





I did Memrise a little bit, but I find it very hard to form a habit with Memrise. I just doesn't keep my attention as much. I'm also doing ChineseSkill which is really great too, in case you might like it too. I have 11 skills left on that one.


I second ChineseSkill being the best gamified learning app for chinese out there!


I know this application but I haven't tried yet, thank you for reminding me.


I really like it, but the last several skills seem to deal with more complicated subjects and sentences. That's why I haven't progressed as far with it. It's tiring for my brain, lol.


lol ;-) You could try this application too ....



I have that one too but I haven't done it. It looks almost identical to ChineseSkill, but with a different interface and design


I don't know the exact number, but in the original announcement they mentioned "nearly 1000 characters".


Wow! I can't remember the exact numbers but I read one place that with 500-1000 you could read something like 75% of written Chinese?


Yes, but I think you need around 2500 in order to read a newspaper. Still, it covers all of the characters of HSK 3 and some of HSK 4.


That's exciting. What are the equivalents of HSK to A1, A2, B1 etc?


HSK1 - none
HSK2 - none
HSK3 - A1
HSK4 - A2
HSK5 - B1
HSK6 - B2


You won't be able to read much real Chinese with only 1000 characters. But there are some nice graded reader series you can use to expand vocabulary.


I found the website that claims how much you can read with how many characters.


I wonder what the source is.


I'm not sure about the "read 75% with 500 characters" statistic, but even if you recognize 75% of the characters, you won't understand 75% of what is being said. You will recognize characters for "and", "but", etc. while not knowing a lot of what they are talking about. Plus of course there may be many words where although you recognize one of the characters in the word you don't know what the word is. Anyway I'll let you know how many characters you need to be comfortable with reading if I ever get there. :-)

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