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Questions for those who’ve completed/created the course:

I think it would be helpful if there were a few exercises that helped us pinpoint the differences between “lookalikes”.

For example: So far I’ve come across three kanji that look like a box within a box. If I could see all three together in one exercise, it would be easier for me to differentiate between them later on.

Are there any exercises that focus solely on similar looking kanji later in the course? I’m on level 7 now, 1 crown per up to ‘Market’.

Thank you.

June 23, 2018



Similarly, are there any exercises that focus on syllables that only differ by tone? I think that would help too, if we could see those altogether.

Example: dòng, dóng, dōng and dǒng could be together in one lesson to make sure we can differentiate between them.


One is presumably '回' (hui2, to return); what are the others? '回' seems to me the only character in the course that answers to the description of looking like a box within a box.


问 is another. I can’t recall the third at the moment. (Not a complete box, obviously, but the designs are similar.)


Ah; I see. Whether a box is complete matters considerably, as do hooks on strokes and extraneous little strokes in the corners. The 'box' around '问' is the simplified/cursive variant form of '門'. It might help to familiarise yourself with all the possible strokes (there aren't that many), whereupon it will be more clear that '问' contains this hooked stroke (which DL won't let me type for some reason).

'向', '同' and '何' also look vaguely similar; all are common characters, although I don't recall if they're all in the course. It always helps to break characters down into familiar component parts rather than simply trying to 'absorb' them.


画 also looks a bit like 回. The real fun comes when you have to remember the differences between 谁,难,准...


Agreed! That would help in encouraging a focus on the radical (i.e. meaning-based) component of the Chinese characters. (e.g. the left-most "言" radical in 谁).


Learn them with words they are commonly paired with to form phrases and you'll learn a new word, a new phrase, and be able to remember it better. :)


是谁?=Who is it?

灾难 (zai1nan4) = disaster, catastrophe

难防 (nan2fang2) = difficult to prevent

准备 (zhun3bei4) = prepare


Slime Forest Adventure is a game for drilling the Japanese kana and kanji using a spaced repetition algorithm.

It contains an interesting mechanic which could help with lookalikes. Whenever you make a mistake, it will immediately throw the kanji that you mistook it for at you as well. Now you have to differentiate between them.

Just thinking out loud here, but perhaps something similar can eventually be added to Duolingo. When you mistake a word/kanji for another then the next question could be a sentence that tests that other word.

Another thing that it does, which should be possible with the current Duolingo features is grouping similar looking kanji into the same "lesson". It really trains your ability to differentiate them.

This is posted in the Chinese forum but talks about kanji. I thought they were called hanzi in Chinese.


They are called Han Zi in Chinese. Kanji is the Japanese variety of Han Zi.


la_ricfoi: I will look into it as I'm also working on Japanese. Thanks for the suggestion!

la_ricfoi and Rey_De_Corazones: I was not aware they were called anything but kanji. Learn something new every day! :)

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I don't remember coming across lessons focusing purely on similar looking Chinese characters. That indeed should be considered as assorting, distinguishing and associating similar items can help build up one's memory. Here are a few characters besides the two already mentioned by other folks, which look like boxes more or less. Not sure if the one you were looking for is among them.

日 (day; the sun) | 白 (white) | 目 (eye) | 月 (month; the moon) | 间 (between; gap; room) | 面 (face; noodle).


I was thinking they should create the lessons "Hanzi 1, Hanzi 2, Hanzi 3...etc." and scatter them throughout. They could focus on visually similar characters or train you with characters with the same syllables but different tones. An example exercise could be matching characters shown with only a sound given, instead of visually matching with the pinyin.

I don't know if any of the lessons down the line introduce some of the alternate pronunciations of some characters, but that would be interesting as well.

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