Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Speaking’ category

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. How to fake sounding like a native Chinese speaker

    Have you ever wanted your Mandarin to sound more advanced than it is? In this guest article, David Moser tells us how to fake sounding like a native Chinese speaker. While tongue-in-cheek, some of the advice applies even if you’re after the real thing!

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  4. Looking up how to use words in Chinese the right way

    Looking up how to express something in Chinese is not as easy as it looks. Assuming that a word, especially a verb, can be used the same way in Chinese as in your native language usually results in incorrect or awkward sentences. Stop assuming and look things up properly instead!

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  5. Obligatory and optional tone change rules in Mandarin

    From a student perspective, there are two types of tone changes in Mandarin: obligatory and optional. The first kind you really have to know about, the second is mostly the natural result of speaking more quickly.

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  6. Mimicking native speakers as a way of learning Chinese

    Using Audacity to mimic native speakers

    Mimicking native speakers very closely is one of my favourite ways of learning a number of things, but mainly pronunciation and intonation. It’s also a good way of learning vocabulary and grammar. This article contains step-by-step instructions for how to mimic your way to the next level!

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  7. 7 kinds of tone problems and what to do about them

    Tones are tricky to learn and students often encounter many different kinds of problems. Since the solution to them are very different, it’s important to understand what the problem actually is before you try to do something about it!

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  8. Using voice messaging to practise Chinese speaking and listening

    Voice messaging can be a powerful way to practise Chinese speaking and listening ability. It has several advantages for language learners, including the ability to record and listen more than once, as well as reducing the pressure that some learners feel when talking to native speakers the first few times.

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  9. Learning to pronounce Mandarin with Pinyin, Zhuyin and IPA: Part 3

    As adults, understanding is important when learning pronunciation. One way to achieve this is through the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), which will allow you to see the sounds your ears might fail to hear. Learning IPA also means learning basic phonetics, and that will do you good in the long run!

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  10. 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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