Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Beginner’ category

  1. Learning to pronounce Mandarin with Pinyin, Zhuyin and IPA: Part 2

    Which transcription system should you use for Mandarin Chinese: Pinyin, Zhuyin or perhaps IPA? Which system you start out with isn’t extremely important, but if you care about pronunciation, it certainly helps to learn more than one system. In this article, I discuss the pros and cons of all three systems and offer some advice about learning pronunciation.

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  2. Learning to pronounce Mandarin with Pinyin, Zhuyin and IPA: Part 1

    Learning to pronounce Mandarin involves several steps. You need to first discriminate between and then identify the sounds, but you also need to be able to write them down and also be able to read how words are pronounced. In this article, I discuss this process and how you should go about it. It also contains advice for what to avoid!

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  3. Review: FluentU Chinese

    FluentU offers you authentic as well as learner-oriented videos for learning Chinese. A neat interface allows you to use an excellent pop-up dictionary and other useful features to watch and learn from videos. In this in-depth review, I highlight both pros and cons, but my overall impression is very favourable.

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  4. Why you should learn Chinese in Chinese

    It’s helpful to use your native language to learn Chinese, but one of the first things you should do is to convert anything you use often in the learning process into Chinese. This includes common classroom expressions or other phrases used when learning. Advanced students will find challenges in Chinese-only learning materials and dictionaries.

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  5. Review: Mandarin Companion graded readers (Level 1)

    Graded readers are an important step on your journey to becoming literate in Chinese. In this article, I review five books in the Mandarin Companion series, level 1, which uses only 300 unique characters. These books are useful for both beginners (extra reading) and intermediate learners (extensive reading).

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  6. The 9 best Twitter feeds for learning Chinese

    Who should you follow on Twitter if you want to learn Chinese? There’s an increasing number of people who tweet excellent language content within the 140 character limit, often with pictures. This article contains a list of the 9 best ones, including a short intro and examples of what they tweet.

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  7. Learning Chinese by playing Mahjong 麻將 (májiàng)

    Playing games is a wonderful way of learning Chinese and 麻將 (májiàng) is one of the simplest games around. Apart from the numbers 1-9, you only need a handful of extra words to play. The game is extremely popular and as such, it can open up many doors, both cultural and social.

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

    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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  9. Using Chinese textbooks to improve reading ability

    Textbooks are underrated as a source of reading material for beginners and intermediate students. By using more than one textbook series, you reap the benefits of using textbooks, while avoiding the main drawback, the lack of diversity. This article discusses how and why textbooks are important for most learners of Chinese.

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  10. Adjust your listening practice to your current state of mind

    Listening to enough Chinese is difficult because it’s hard to find and manage the right amount of audio. One of the key points to success is to make sure you have enough easy audio available. This article discusses the importance of adjusting your audio to your current state of mind.

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