Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles tagged with ‘Chinese characters’

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


    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.

    Read →

  2. Chinese character variants and fonts for language learners


    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.

    Read →

  3. The real challenge with learning Chinese characters


    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.

    Read →

  4. Learning Chinese characters through pictures


    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.

    Read →

  5. Chinese character challenge, September 10th to 30th

    Tang Dynasty copy of 新婦地黃湯帖 by 王獻之

    Let’s learn characters together! If you need to expand your knowledge of characters, fight you ever-increasing review queue or just learn more of them, this challenge is for you. Enrol, set a goal and learn as much as you can before the end of the month! Active participants can win prizes from Skritter.

    Read →

  6. How focusing on intent can help you learn Chinese characters

    What you intend to write is more important that what you actually write. With the right intent, more practice will take you far, but with the wrong intent, no amount of practice will help. Fortunately, a small mental trick can help you learn to write characters more effectively.

    Read →

  7. 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.

    Read →

  8. Learning to write Chinese characters through communication

    How much of your character learning is done through communication? It should be a significant part, but I think this is very rare, both inside and outside classrooms. This article is about using communication to make character writing more fun, meaningful and effective.

    Read →

  9. Handwriting Chinese characters: The minimum requirements

    This is a guide to handwriting Chinese characters. It’s not about writing beautifully, but writing correctly, including things like stroke placement, length and direction. There are numerous examples of handwritten characters (real examples, not typed characters) along with practical exercises to see if you have grasped the core ideas. The article goes somewhat beyond the bare minimum for beginners, but is certainly a must for anyone who cares about handwriting Chinese characters.

    Read →

  10. Three ways to improve the way you review Chinese characters

    In this article, I discuss three things you can do to improve the way you review characters, mainly focusing on avoiding rote learning, time quality and making sure your study method really prepares you for what you want to use your Chinese for. The article also contains a video about how to improve your character reviewing with Skritter!

    Read →