Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Beginner’ category

  1. Five text games for Chinese learners

    This article is about five text games for Chinese learners. It both introduces the games and asks for feedback about how they can become even more engaging and fun. Each game contains on average roughly 10,000 characters, which makes them on par with a typical graded reader.

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  2. Should you focus on learning Chinese words or phrases?

    When learning Chinese, should you focus mainly on learning words or phrases? This question is not easy to answer and depends on a number of factors. This article breaks it down and discusses the pros and cons of each.

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  3. Vocabulary lists that help you learn Chinese and how to use them

    This article looks at various types of vocabulary lists and discusses how they should (or shouldn’t) be used for learning Chinese. Different lists have different uses, so make sure you have the right one and that you use it properly!

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  4. Should you learn Chinese vocabulary from lists?

    Many students rely heavily on lists to learn new characters and words in Chinese. This can be good, but there are also a number of problems you should be aware of. This article looks at some pros and cons with using vocabulary lists to learn Chinese.

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  5. Training and testing your ability to hear Mandarin sounds

    Learning to hear the sounds in a new language is a very important step, both to understand it and to pronounce it yourself. This article gives you methods and tools for training and testing your ability to hear the sounds of Mandarin.

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  6. Is it necessary to learn the stroke order of Chinese characters?

    Stroke order and direction can feel like something difficult and unnecessary for beginner Chinese students, but it is important that you get the order right from the start. Most teachers and textbooks will tell you that; this article explains why!

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  7. Get to know your own Chinese voice

    Recording yourself provides a convenient, enlightening and cheap way to improve your spoken Chinese, and what better to record than a diary? This article explores why you should record more and offers some suggestions for what to record.

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  8. Task based Chinese learning and teaching

    Task based language learning and teaching is built around working with tasks in the target language with a clear focus on meaning (communication). Focus on form should come after the task has been completed.

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  9. How long do you have to study Chinese to make it useful?

    Learning Chinese and other languages is always useful. The real question should be what it’s useful for and what you need to get there. Still, you will never wake up one day and just know that you’re done, there’s always more!

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  10. Learning (or not learning) Chinese slang

    Learning slang in Chinese can be fun, but it’s worth remembering that in most situations, it’s actually much less useful than more standard ways of expression. Slang is used in a limited context and changes quickly.

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