Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Attitude and mentality’ category

  1. Learn Chinese faster by leaving your comfort zone

    If learning feels like unicycling down this slope, you're doing it right!

    If you want to learn Chinese faster, you have to make sure you leave your comfort zone and challenge yourself as much and as often as you can. There are many things of doing this, including immersing yourself in language above your current level or putting yourself in situations that demand a higher level of performance. Leave your comfort zone!

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  2. Are there any shortcuts for learning Chinese?

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    When asked the question if there are any shortcuts when learning Chinese, some people answer “no”, others “yes”. This is probably because they’re talking about different things. No, there is no method that will enable you to master Chinese without spending an awful lot of time studying. Yes, there are many things you can do to make learning more efficient.

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  3. The real challenge with learning Chinese characters

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    The real challenge when learning Chinese characters is not to commit a large number of them to memory, it’s to relate them to each other, including how they are used, how they are different and how they are similar. Creating such an interconnected web is a lifelong project.

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  4. About right and wrong when learning Chinese

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    What does it mean when something is said to be “correct” in Chinese? Who’s right if all the people around you say something, but the dictionary says something else? Mandarin is a huge language spoken my a very large number of people, so some variation is to be expected. This article is about the flexibility of Mandarin and how to deal with it as a student.

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  5. Will a Chinese-only rule improve your learning?

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    Are “Chinese only” rules good for learning? Most people agree that immersion is a good thing and that the more you practice, the faster you learn the language, but this isn’t necessarily the same as saying that using Chinese 100% of the time is good for you. This article brings up pros and cons about Chinese-only rules and then draws a conclusion.

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  6. Three steps to more and better Chinese listening practice

    Listening to enough Chinese audio isn’t easy. It requires you to find suitable audio in large quantities as well as to make that audio easily accessible wherever you are. That’s not enough, though, you also need to be able to keep this up for weeks, months and years, and that’s where the real challenge is. This article is meant to help you listen to as much Chinese audio as you should.

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  7. What you intend to write is more important than the character you actually write

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    Why is focusing on intent important when learning to write Chinese characters? What you intend to write is more important than what you actually write.

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  8. How knowing your best performance in Chinese can help you improve

    When learning Chinese, it’s important to know how good your best performance is, because this determines the way you study. If your best performance is good enough, you mostly need high-volume practice, more of the same will get you there. But if your best performance isn’t good enough, you need to change tactics and go for high-quality practice instead.

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  9. Is Chinese difficult to learn?

    Is it difficult to learn Chinese? It depends on what you mean by “difficult”. In this article, I discuss two types of difficulty, both in general and as related to learning Chinese. I think learning Chinese is difficult, but not in the way most people think.

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  10. How to find the time and motivation to read more Chinese

    Learning to read in Chinese requires time and motivation, and this is what this article is about. How do you make yourself read more? How do you stay motivated when learning? Don’t forget to share your own experiences in the comments!

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