Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Essential articles’ category

  1. Launching Hacking Chinese Resources

    “Resources” is a new section of Hacking Chinese that strives to provide you with resources for learning Chinese suitable to you. Everything is neatly tagged by difficulty level, topic/skill and type of resource, enabling you to find whatever you need, whenever you need it.

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  2. Remembering is a skill you can learn

    Contrary to what many people believe, a good memory can be trained. Memory champions are just ordinary people who have practised a lot. There are many clever techniques and tricks you can use to remember things (such as Chinese characters or words) very efficiently. This article is meant to be an introduction for those of you who are new to the fascinating world of memory training.

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  3. Towards a more sensible way of learning to write Chinese

    This is a challenge designed to help students break the bad habit of simply repeating characters over and over until they stick and instead rely on more clever and efficient methods. It’s about learning for the long term and learning to really understand the characters. Will you join the challenge?

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  4. Have fun learning Chinese or else…

    Having fun while learning, or at least making the best of every situation, is essential. Learning a language requires a lot of time and if we don’t enjoy the process, we aren’t likely to invest the time we need to master a language.

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  5. The time barrel: Or why you have more time than you think

    If we want to combine studying with a normal life or if we want to get the most out of pure language studying, we really need to examine the time we have available and see if it’s possible to learn more without removing other important things. This article uses the metaphor of a barrel with rocks, pebbles, sand and water to show that most people have more time available than they think.

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  6. Listening strategies: An introduction

    Listening ability is one of the cornerstones of language learning. Not only is it essential if we want to communicate with other people, it’s also necessary if we’re going to expose ourselves to natively produced language and learn from that. This is the introduction to a series of articles discussing listening ability.

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  7. The 10,000 hour rule – Blood, sweat and tears

    The 10,000 hour rule is quite simple. It states that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to become really good at something. The most important lesson here is that talent is far less important that people think. Even towering geniuses work very hard. Blood, sweat and tears are what counts in the end, not talent.

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  8. When perfectionism becomes an obstacle to progress

    Perfectionism is usually regarded as something positive, perhaps even necessary. Scoring 100% on an exam is good, isn’t it? No, it’s not. In this article, I explain why perfectionism is bad when learning a language. Aiming for 90% is far better than aiming for 100%. This is being smart, not lazy.

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  9. Learn by exaggerating: Slow, then fast; big, then small

    If you want to speak or write quickly, you should start out by doing it slowly. Mimicking native speed early will just lead to sloppy language and bad communication. Expose your errors so that you have a chance to correct them.

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  10. Tones are more important than you think

    Tones are more important than most people think. Just because native speakers reduce tones and speak quickly, it doesn’t mean that you can do the same and get away with it. Don’t be fooled by people who say that tones in Chinese aren’t as important as all that, because they’re wrong.

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