Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Learning outside class’ category

  1. Improving pronunciation beyond the basics


    Learning pronunciation beyond the basics is about knowing where you want to be and where you are now. Then you identify which problems keep you from reaching your goal, and solve them one by one in order of importance. This starts with high-quality practice where you learn to pronounce something correctly, then moves to high-quantity practice where you gradually decrease the effort needed to get it right. After a while, no effort will be required and you will have successfully improved your pronunciation!

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  2. Which words you should learn and where to find them


    When learning a language, it’s important to know many words, but it’s also important that you learn the right words. How do you know which words to learn? Where should you find those words? Note: This was written using only the 100 most used words to show how good it is to know the right words.

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  3. Chinese learning tools and resources worth paying for

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    This article introduced the few tools and resources I think you should consider paying for when learning Chinese. The first list contains things you really should pay for, the second of things I recommend paying for, but which aren’t strictly necessary. Do you agree? Which things do you think worth paying for?

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  4. The illusion of advanced learning and what to do about it


    How much Chinese will you know when you have finished a certain textbook? Less than you think! In this article, I discuss the danger of relying too much on one textbook series and the importance of broadening your knowledge rather than making it advanced in just a few, small areas.

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  5. Why you should read Chinese on your phone

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    Reading Chinese in this digital age is a lot easier than it used to, but it’s actually even easier than many students think. The benefits of reading on your phone are important, including instant access to vocabulary, smaller chunks of text, portability and a sense of getting somewhere when you read. If you haven’t read a Chinese text on your phone yet, you really should give it a try.

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  6. 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.

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  7. 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.

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  8. 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%.

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  9. 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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  10. 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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