Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Vocabulary’ category

  1. Should you learn the pronunciation of radicals?

    Pronunciation of radicals

    Learning character components in general is good, but should you learn the pronunciation of radicals? The answer can be both “yes” and “no” depending on what you mean!

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  2. Same components, different characters

    character-configuration

    Some Chinese characters consist of the same components in different places, creating completely different characters. This article discusses this phenomenon and its implications for language learners.

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  3. Learn Chinese character meaning and pronunciation together

    Phonetic components in Chinese characters

    A large majority of all Chinese characters look the way they do because of how they are pronounced. You can use this to your benefit if you learn Chinese character meaning and pronunciation together.

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  4. Can you use English learning materials to study Chinese?

    esl

    There’s a very large number of books available for Chinese people learning English, but even if it’s tempting to think that we can use these to learn Chinese, doing so comes with several problems. ESL books have their use, but not as many as you might think.

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  5. Learning tones in Mandarin is not optional

    tonechart-t3dipdash

    Learning tones in Mandarin is not optional. The longer you wait before paying attention to tones, the more you will have to relearn later. If you don’t know the tone, you don’t know the word. It takes time to learn to hear tones and treat them as integral parts of syllables, but the sooner you start, the better.

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  6. How to verify that you use the right Chinese font

    screenshot113

    For second language learners, using the wrong font can make learning characters very confusing. In this article, I will help you verify that you have the right fonts installed and discuss what happens if you don’t. This is a follow-up to an earlier article about Chinese fonts for students.

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  7. Chinese character variants and fonts for language learners

    screenshot104

    Chinese character variants and regional font standards can be really confusing for language learners. As if simplified/traditional wasn’t enough, characters can look different depending on the font used or where the text was printed! This article will help you understand what’s going on.

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  8. The real challenge with learning Chinese characters

    invgraph3

    The real challenge when learning Chinese characters is not to commit a large number of them to memory, it’s to relate them to each other, including how they are used, how they are different and how they are similar. Creating such an interconnected web is a lifelong project.

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

    cihui

    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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  10. Learning Chinese characters through pictures

    chi

    This article is about using pictures to learn Chinese characters. In order to learn characters efficiently, it’s important to understand how they work and what the building blocks are so that these can be used in other characters. Any pictures you use to remember should be based on this. Avoid using pictures that obscure the real meaning.

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