Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles tagged with ‘Chinese characters’

  1. 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.

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  2. 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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  3. 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.

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  4. 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.

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  5. 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!

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  6. Phonetic components, part 2: Hacking Chinese characters

    This is the second and final article about using phonetic components to hack Chinese characters and make it considerably easier to handle similarly looking characters. This article describes both the principles and gives plenty of examples that might resolve some of your current problems for you.

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  7. Phonetic components, part 1: The key to 80% of all Chinese characters

    80% of all Chinese characters are made up of one semantic component (meaning) and one phonetic component (pronunciation). The sheer number of characters formed this way means that these characters ought to be taught properly, yet I think this topic is largely glossed over. This is the first article of two dealing with phonetic components and how they can help you learn Chinese better.

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