Feeling Your Center of Gravity
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Feeling Your Center of Gravity

A Chinese Reader-Using Traditional Chinese Characters

About the Book

This Chinese reader is designed to help you practice and improve speaking, reading, and typing (shape based input) Traditional Chinese characters in the context of learning to feel and control your center of gravity.

It's based on an article on my website called "feeling your center of gravity" which I had professionally translated. (I actually paid someone to do it.)

Since I had the English and Chinese version of the same article, I thought, why not use this to help people practice to reading (and understanding), typing and even speaking Chinese.

Learning to read Chinese is perhaps one of most challenging aspects of the language, mainly because the indexes for most Chinese dictionaries are not user friendly.

It's hard to lookup Chinese characters.

  • One way that this reader works around that problem is providing word by word translations for each part of every phrase.
  • Another way around that problem is a shape based indexing system that I've been working on for the last 15 years.
  • Yet another way around the lookup problem is that this book includes the cangjie input code for each character.

The cangjie input method is a shape based method for inputting Chinese characters that is included in most computer and smart device operating systems.

You don't have to know a characters pronunciation to use it. Learning the method makes it easy to input Chinese characters, whether or not you know their pronunciation. It also makes it easier to notice the elements of a character.

And more importantly, it makes it easy to type the character so that you can look it up on nearly any type of device.

Each sentence includes a word by word break-down with English meaning and Mandarin pronounciation using pinyin.

(An introduction to the cangjie input method is included at the end of the book. Note that instructions for installing or activating it are not included. However this method is free and generally included in most operating systems for phones, tablets and computers (pc, windows)).

An index of characters for each set of phrases is also included at the end of each section. Each character entry includes:

  • the character’s definition,
  • pronounciation,
  • cangjie code
  • phonetically related characters
  • any words that include that character.

The character index for each section is shape sorted and includes two indexes, an initial shape index and a final shape index. Below is a initial shape index which uses the top-most, left-most or outermost-element of each character to index them.

口: 呈單果易是關置

⺆: 體

?: 以狀能變如

乛: 承了習改

厂: 原所覺學與

丿: 衡得個何你位什受重動和移無然解制物簡

丶: 這過透就於部論讓感麼容實的身盤心

人: 會對其基

一: 到更可平形下而礎現理

十: 都靜本相在力控

The initial shape index has 12 main categories while the final shape index has 15.

Each section has its own character index. A cumulative or "all-characters" index is included at the end.

Word lists are also included at the end of each section. They include all words sorted by the rhyme of the first character so that you can practice similiar sounding words together. e.g.

words whose first character ends in an e:

什麼 sheˊ me˙ What?

學會 xueˊ huiˋ Institute || Successfully learn

學習 xueˊ xiˊ Study || Learn

words whose first character ends in a u:

無論 wuˊ lunˋ No matter || No matter what

如何 ruˊ heˊ What if || How || How to

如果 ruˊ guoˇ As if || If

words whose first character ends in an i:

移動 yiˊ dongˋ Moving || Adjusting || Shifting

其實 qiˊ shiˊ Really || Actually || In fact || As a matter of fact

The same words are then sorted and grouped by the tone of the second character so that you can practice tone patterns.

2nd tone-2nd tone

如何 ruˊ heˊ

其實 qiˊ shiˊ

然而 ranˊ erˊ

平衡 pingˊ hengˊ

2nd tone-3rd tone

如果 ruˊ guoˇ

原理 yuanˊ liˇ

2nd tone-4th tone

學會 xueˊ huiˋ

無論 wuˊ lunˋ

移動 yiˊ dongˋ

The original article is also included, with English alternating with Chinese.

What level is this designed for?

This is an open-level book. It doesn’t teach you the basics of how to read and pronounce pinyin. Nor does it show you how to hand-write Chinese characters.

It helps you learn Chinese in the context of learning to feel your center of gravity.

You can see the first free sections in the free preview pdf.

Note that a final character list includes all characters from all phrases and in addition in this final character index, each entry includes all words associated with that character. 

The actual pdf also includes a guide to the cangjie input system, how characters are broken down by shape. This can make it easier to learn the input system. But just as importantly it gives you a tool for recognizing some basic elements of Chinese characters. 

About the Author

Neil Keleher
Neil Keleher

Hi, I'm Neil Keleher

I’ve been a yoga teacher for about 20 years.

I have a degree in systems design engineering from the University of Waterloo.

Prior to that I served for five years in the British army as an armourer.

As a yoga teacher I teach my students how to feel and control their body. In this context I’m like a driving instructor for your body.

One of my other hats is “indexing specialist”. One of my current ongoing projects under this hat is designing an easy to use indexing system for Chinese characters.

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