Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Beginner’ category

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. Playing Codenames to learn Chinese

    Codenames is one of my favourite games, and it also happens to be an excellent game for language learning! In this article, I suggest ways of playing it in Chines, along with a tool that generates grids of code words for direct use in the classroom or elsewhere!

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  5. How narrow listening and reading can help you learn Chinese

    Narrow listening and narrow reading involve limiting the scope of your input to lower the difficulty and allow for less stressful studying and larger quantity. By keeping some things constant, you allow for natural reviewing and make it much more likely that you enjoy what you’re reading or listening to.

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  6. Comprehension-based listening vs deep end immersion

    What works best for improving listening ability, graded content targeted at your specific level or deep-end immersion? The answer is that both approaches are necessary, but which you use depends a lot on practical considerations, as well as how much time and energy you have to invest.

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  7. 8 great ways to scaffold your Chinese learning

    Scaffolding is a way of helping you cope with things that is actually too hard. As a student of Chinese, this is something you really need, because the listening and reading material on offer is often way too difficult!

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  8. 10 ways of using games to learn and teach Chinese

    Playing games to learn Chinese

    Playing games is a powerful way of learning languages. Apart from being fun, they also provide an active way to communicate in Chinese, within limits set by the game. This article gives a broad overview of ten different ways you can use games to learn or teach a foreign language.

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  9. A student’s guide to comprehension-based learning

    In this third and final article, the focus is on how students can make their own learning comprehension-based, with or without a teacher. It draws from the principles and ideas of the previous articles and allows you to apply these to your own learning.

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  10. The benefits of a comprehension-based approach for teaching and learning Chinese

    Diane Neubauer continues her series of guest articles about comprehension-based approaches to teaching and learning Chinese. In this the second part, the focus is on principles and motivations for using a comprehension-based method. There’s also an overview of teaching practices that fall into this category.

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