Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles tagged with ‘Character components’

  1. Why you should think of characters in terms of functional components

    Learning about the structure of Chinese characters can help enormously when learning the language. This article is an in-depth look at functional components, i.e. parts of characters that give the whole character either its meaning or its sound. It’s also a discussion about why we really shouldn’t talk so much about radicals when learning Chinese.

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  2. Focusing on radicals, character components and building blocks

    How much should you focus on learning building blocks? If you don’t focus enough, you will remain in the tourist phrase book. If you focus too much on building blocks, you will end up living in brick yard rather than a house.

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  3. How to learn Chinese characters as a beginner

    Writing Chinese characters for the first time can be very hard, mostly because it’s so different from writing letters. It feels more like drawing a picture than writing! This article is aimed at beginners and provides some essential tips, tricks and hacks for writing your first Chinese characters, making sure you avoid the worst mistakes.

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  4. Don’t use mnemonics for everything

    Mnemonics are really cool, but you shouldn’t overuse them. Chinese characters are very complex and the amount of information you might want to remember about them is large. Creating mnemonics for everything is very time consuming and difficult. Instead of doing this, create mnemonics only for things you actually find hard to remember.

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  5. If you want to master Chinese, make long-term investments

    It’s easy and perhaps natural to spend the minimum amount of effort to overcome a problem, but this will bring problems in the long run. If we want to reach long-term goals such as mastering Chinese, we need to adopt a long-term approach. What makes sense to pass your next exam isn’t necessarily what makes sense if you want to really learn what you’re studying.

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  6. Creating a powerful toolkit: Character components

    If you plan to learn to read or write Chinese, you will need to learn parts of characters (components) and parts of words (characters). There are an untold number of combinations of these, and if you only study these it will be impossible. This would be a little bit like learning maths by studying thousands of examples, but never actually looking at the underlying equations.

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