Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Intermediate’ 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.

    Read →

  2. Chinese listening practice with 锵锵三人行

    锵锵三人行 is one of the few Chinese TV programs I actually like. It’s also one of the best ones for language learners too, mostly because of it’s heavy focus on talking, availability of transcripts and variety of both guests and topics. This should be a key component of any immersion effort, but you probably need to be upper intermediate or above to benefit.

    Read →

  3. 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!

    Read →

  4. Learning Chinese through audio books

    Listening to audio books in a very good way to improve your listening ability beyond the basics. This article contains advice about how to choose a suitable novel, where to find it and how to listen to it.

    Read →

  5. Bite-sized learning isn’t enough to learn Chinese

    Bite-sized learning is great, but it’s not enough if you want to build real competence in Chinese listening and reading. To expose yourself to enough text and audio, you need long-form content that you can keep using even when you’re energy levels aren’t at 100%.

    Read →

  6. 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.

    Read →

  7. 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).

    Read →

  8. 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.

    Read →

  9. Hone your Chinese writing ability by writing summaries

    Writing summaries is an excellent combination of reading and writing practice. It’s one of the most powerful learning activities I know when it comes to improving writing ability. In this article, I discuss how to improve writing ability in general, but with a clear focus on why and how writing summaries should be part of your study routine.

    Read →

  10. 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.

    Read →