Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Speaking’ category

  1. Get to know your own Chinese voice

    Recording yourself provides a convenient, enlightening and cheap way to improve your spoken Chinese, and what better to record than a diary? This article explores why you should record more and offers some suggestions for what to record.

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  2. 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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  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. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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