How difficult is it for the average English speaker to learn Chinese?

Ashley Wagner, Program Editor for Dictionaries at Oxford University Press claims that it’s not that difficult if you’re willing to commit to learning a new language.

“There are apparently over 80,000 Chinese characters, which can seem pretty intimidating!  Luckily, you only need to know 3,500 in Standard Chinese.  This might still seem like a lot, but you can actually get by with only 1,000 of the most frequent characters and still read almost 90% of publications.”

In her new book, Chineasy (published March 11, 2014), ShaoLan Hsueh shows how to learn Chinese characters by transforming them into pictograms.  She then explains how they can be combined to create new words and phrases.

Following is the TED talk where she first explained the process.