Active Chinese

I just downloaded a program called “Active Chinese” from It estimates how many characters you know, among other things.

Did anyone try this and found it useful? Not sure if I want to buy it for $20.


hey this thing is pretty cool. if it weren’t for tones i would know 4000 characters I think :slight_smile:

This is real cool. I think I’m going to buy it. I don’t know 4000 characters. :slight_smile:


Thanks, I hadn’t heard of this before. I’ve just downloaded the trial and it looks pretty useful. I like the way it brings up example words for each character. But when I tried the intermediate test it told me I knew about 1600 characters, and when I tried the beginners level test it told me I only knew 400! I guess there are a lot of ‘beginners’ characters I still don’t know.

Well that was a big ego deflator. Did fine on the beginning test, 950 or so. But missed a ton on the intermediate test, ended up in the 2000± range. I somehow assumed I must have learned a lot more characters while I was intensively studying Chinese, I mean at one point I was even a translator (albeit not a good one). I guess I don’t know as many characters as I thought I did.

Nonetheless, a very cool tool. I’ve always wanted to know how many characters I actually knew. This uses statistical sampling, but it’s probably not too far off. It only measures your ability to correctly pronouce characters though, that may or may not correlate with your actual understand of the meanings and ability to use correctly.

Yeah OK, that’s cute and may help, but 20$?! OUCH…
Between 5 and 10 would be more suitable.

Those interested should have a look at

There’s something in the middle of the page written in red that you may find useful.


Weird… 1000 at beginner, 3000 at intermediate, and 4400 at advanced.

That was pretty fun!

However, I think this is based on the Taiwan pronunciation (tones). For example, I could have sworn that growning up 企業 was (qi4 ye4) but my girlfriend tells me it’s qi3 ye4 and I look it up (on a dictionary from Taiwan) lo and behold she’s right. Also, words like 帆船 – fan2 chuan2, right? Wrong! FAN1 chuan2.