Graded list, EBCL, character, complexity, structure, transparency, frequency
This study scrutinizes the Chinese characters in two reference works compiled as part of two projects: the Graded list and the EBCL list. Situated in the character-based theory, the characters compiled in both are examined in depth from the perspective of character complexity, character structure, semantic and phonetic radical transparency, frequency of character and frequency of word formation. The results show that the two lists share similarities in terms of distribution of characters of different structures, level of semantic radical transparency, and frequencies of character and word formation. The character complexity of the Graded list is higher than that of the EBCL, while the level of phonetic radical transparency of the Graded list is lower than that of the EBCL list. With the Graded list, the high demands of character learning need to be borne in mind; this is due to the visual load of character complexity and the pronunciation information provided in phonetic radicals. Against a backdrop of increasing demand for CFL pedagogical materials, the differences and similarities between the two lists analysed and discussed in this study contribute to their pedagogical applications in teaching and learning Chinese characters.