Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles tagged with ‘Efficiency’

  1. How to reach a decent level of Chinese in 100 days

    Scott Young has written a lot about how to learn more efficiently and this year he has turned his focus entirely on languages. He spent three months in China and managed to reach a very decent level of Chinese in that time, including passing HSK4. In this article, he shares his experience and the strategies he used. The article also contains two video interviews, one with John Pasden (Sinosplice) and one with me.

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  2. Studying Chinese when your grades matter

    Ideally, we would study Chinese just because we want to and in any manner we see fit, but this isn’t how it works for most students. Instead, we need to care about tests and grades, an extra layer added on top of our own personal goals and ambitions. This article is about studying Chinese when those tests and grades really matter, a kind of basic survival guide for both exams and courses.

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  3. Learning the right chengyu the right way

    Many people regard chengyu as the golden key to the Chinese language and believe that learning chengyu will impress native speakers and take their Chinese to the next level. However, learning chengyu in the wrong way is likely to have the opposite effect (“oh, the foreigner is trying to use chengyu, how cute!”). Focus should be on chengyu that are truly useful and frequently used, the rest should be left for those who really like chengyu or for truly advanced students.

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  4. Learning efficiently vs. learning quickly

    In this article I argue that there is a significant difference between efficiency and speed when it comes to learning a language. Everybody should be interested in learning Chinese efficiently, but using the word speed comes with a number of problems.

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  5. How to find more time to practise listening

    When it comes to learning to understand spoken Chinese, there are few shortcuts. The more you listen, the more you will understand. But how can we fit more listening into our lives without cutting down too much on other things we do? In this article, I share some insights after spending thousands of hours listening to Chinese and other languages.

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  6. Dealing with tricky vocabulary: Killing leeches

    Leeches are words or characters that you keep forgetting and therefore consume much more time than other words or characters. Rather than trying to hammer these words into your brain, a specific strategy is needed to kill the leeches. This article deals with just that, how to handle difficult vocabulary you keep on forgetting.

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  7. Time quality: Studying the right thing at the right time

    Time quality means that there is time with different levels of quality that can and should be used for different kinds of tasks. If you’re at home and have access to the internet, books and a reasonably peaceful studying environment, this is considered the highest quality time, because you can spend this time on virtually anything you like. On the bus or waiting for a friend, however, your studying options are severely limited, or in other words, the time quality is lower. Read more to find out how to make better use of your studying time.

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  8. If you can only stay abroad for a short time, don’t go immediately

    This article isn’t about discouraging people to go abroad. Instead, it’s a rational analysis of when to go abroad to learn Chinese if you’re limited by money or time. My conclusion is that you should not go immediately, but wait until you’ve learnt some basics at home.

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