Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Recent articles about how to learn Mandarin

  1. Three factors that decide how much Chinese you learn

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    Many things determine how much progress you make. This article is an overview of three factors you should always keep in mind when planning how to reach your goals. You need all three!

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  2. Obligatory and optional tone change rules in Mandarin

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    From a student perspective, there are two types of tone changes in Mandarin: obligatory and optional. The first kind you really have to know about, the second is mostly the natural result of speaking more quickly.

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  3. Chinese mimicking challenge, November 10th to 30th

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    Let’s improve our speaking ability together! Mimicking is one of the best ways of improving pronunciation, prosody and even vocabulary and grammar when speaking. Enrol, pick a model to mimic and see how close you can get/how much you can mimic before the end of the month!

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  4. Learn Chinese implicitly through exposure with a seasoning of explicit instruction

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    Should you learn Chinese implicitly through exposure and usage, or explicitly through description and instruction? The answer is that adults need both, but that explicit learning is often used too much.

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  5. How I learnt Chinese, part 7: Teaching, writing, learning

    Me (left) participating in a plenary discussion at the 13th Annual Chinese Teaching Conference at University College London, arranged by the IOE Confucius Institute for Schools. Photo by: Philippa Vallely.

    This is the 7th part of the story of how I learnt Chinese, bringing us up to date and probably a few years into the future as well. Topics covered include: motivation, distributed learning and teaching as a learning method.

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  6. Mimicking native speakers as a way of learning Chinese

    Using Audacity to mimic native speakers

    Mimicking native speakers very closely is one of my favourite ways of learning a number of things, but mainly pronunciation and intonation. It’s also a good way of learning vocabulary and grammar. This article contains step-by-step instructions for how to mimic your way to the next level!

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  7. 7 kinds of tone problems and what to do about them

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    Tones are tricky to learn and students often encounter many different kinds of problems. Since the solution to them are very different, it’s important to understand what the problem actually is before you try to do something about it!

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  8. Chinese character challenge, October 10th to 31st

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    Let’s learn characters together! If you need to expand your knowledge of characters, fight you ever-increasing review queue or just learn more of them, this challenge is for you. Enrol, set a goal and learn as much as you can before the end of the month!

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  9. An introduction to extensive reading for Chinese learners

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    Extensive reading is when you read more text at a higher level of comprehension (around 98%), which should be contrasted by intensive reading when you need assistance to understand the text. Most courses focus only on intensive reading, but you should actually spend most of your time on extensive reading.

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  10. Learning Chinese by playing board games

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    Playing board games in Chinese is an entertaining and powerful way of learning the language. Depending on what game you choose, it’s suitable for beginners and advanced students alike. Apart from playing, the game itself can also work as a common point for discussions and socialising.

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