Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Attitude and mentality’ category Page 2

  1. How long have you studied Chinese?

    How long have you studied Chinese? Two years? Three thousand hours? Even though most people don’t expect an answer in hours, there are several reasons we should really count our learning time in hours. It’s the time we spend learning Chinese that matters, not when we moved to China or started learning Chinese.

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  2. Is speaking more important than listening when learning Chinese?

    It’s tempting to focus mostly on speaking when learning a foreign language. There’s nothing wrong with speaking from day one, but you shouldn’t allow that to overshadow your listening practice too much. Listening (and reading) accelerates your learning in a way that speaking (and writing) does not.

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  3. Language learning with a Chinese girlfriend or boyfriend

    Learning Chinese with a partner is very good, because it makes you more motivated and makes it more fun to learn. However, it isn’t a magic bullet that will solve all your problems. You will still need to study, you will still need to practice, it’s just that some of the things you need to learn will be more enjoyable and you will hopefully be more motivated to learn. That’s worth a lot, but you can find other fun ways to learn and other things to drive you forwards.

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  4. How to reach a decent level of Chinese in 100 days

    Scott Young has written a lot about how to learn more efficiently and this year he has turned his focus entirely on languages. He spent three months in China and managed to reach a very decent level of Chinese in that time, including passing HSK4. In this article, he shares his experience and the strategies he used. The article also contains two video interviews, one with John Pasden (Sinosplice) and one with me.

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  5. How to find out how good your Chinese pronunciation really is

    Evaluating pronunciation needn’t be hard, but many methods commonly used by teachers are deeply flawed, resulting in inaccurate error analysis. If we want to improve, we need to be clear about what we need to improve first. This article looks at some problems with commonly used methods to evaluate pronunciation and suggests some alternatives.

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  6. The three roads to mastering Chinese

    Mastering a foreign language is a daunting task, especially a language as foreign as Chinese! In this article, I outline three possible roads that all lead towards mastery. They have in common that we really need to make Chinese an important and integrated part of our lives, because that’s the only way we can spend the time we need to really get to know the language.

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  7. How to Approach Chinese Grammar

    In this article John Pasden discusses how to approach Chinese grammar as a foreigner, starting by debunking a few myths and then going on to how to actually learn grammar. Chinese is a language where you can very far with just a few basic concepts and patterns, so make the most of what you learn and try to use it immediately. Then extend your knowledge gradually and return to old patterns for a more detailed look later when you actually need to. Grammar learning should be driven by an actual need for better ways of expressing yourself or understanding what people say to you!

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  8. Asking the experts: How to learn Chinese grammar

    How should we learn Chinese grammar? There are many, many different ways of approaching grammar, both from a theoretical point of view and from a practical, student perspective. Because this is such an interesting topic and there are so many different approaches, I decided to ask the expert panel and see what other language learners and teachers out there had to say about learning Chinese grammar. They have all answered the question in their own way, so rather than viewing this as a competition between different views on how to learn grammar, regard it as a tour through different available options.

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  9. Learning how to fish: Or, why it’s essential to know how to learn

    Learning how to learn is an essential skill for anyone who studies Chinese. It’s important even if you’re enrolled in a language program, because even though it might feel safe to have someone telling you what to do, that feeling is partly false. Only you can make sure that you’re learning what you need, so you’d better learn how to learn if you want to succeed!

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  10. Habit hacking for language learners

    Forming language learning habits is a key ingredient in any successful recipe for mastering Chinese. This makes sure that we learn regularly and that it becomes a natural part of our lives, rather than something we do artificially only occasionally and perhaps a little bit reluctantly. This article deals with the basics of how to form habits and how they can be used to boost your language learning.

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