Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles tagged with ‘Grammar’

  1. How to Approach Chinese Grammar

    In this article John Pasden discusses how to approach Chinese grammar as a foreigner, starting by debunking a few myths and then going on to how to actually learn grammar. Chinese is a language where you can very far with just a few basic concepts and patterns, so make the most of what you learn and try to use it immediately. Then extend your knowledge gradually and return to old patterns for a more detailed look later when you actually need to. Grammar learning should be driven by an actual need for better ways of expressing yourself or understanding what people say to you!

    Read →

  2. Asking the experts: How to learn Chinese grammar

    How should we learn Chinese grammar? There are many, many different ways of approaching grammar, both from a theoretical point of view and from a practical, student perspective. Because this is such an interesting topic and there are so many different approaches, I decided to ask the expert panel and see what other language learners and teachers out there had to say about learning Chinese grammar. They have all answered the question in their own way, so rather than viewing this as a competition between different views on how to learn grammar, regard it as a tour through different available options.

    Read →

  3. The Cthulhu bubble and studying Chinese

    What does learning Chinese have to do with the Cthulhu Mythos? Quite a lot, actually. This article is about your bubble of safety and what happens when monsters (weird, difficult cases) appear and what you should do to avoid insanity. In short, don’t poke the monster in the eye; when encountering strange cases, either ignore them or memorise them, don’t waste time understanding everything you hear or see.

    Read →

  4. Translating to improve your Chinese

    I think translation is one of the best ways of improving writing ability. Translation forces you into linguistic environments you wouldn’t have ended up in if you wrote the article yourself. This article is about how translation can be used to improve your written Chinese.

    Read →

  5. Listening strategies: Improving listening speed

    A lack of listening speed is what stops you from understanding spoken Chinese even though you know most of the words and sentence patterns being used. I think the problem is generally overlooked and in this article I explain what listening speed is, why you need it to understand Chinese. I also talk about how to practise listening speed.

    Read →

  6. Use the benefits of teaching to boost your own learning

    Teaching is a very powerful way of learning. Explaining complicated topics with simple language helps you grasp them and remember them. If you don’t have someone to teach, you can imagine that you have and teach yourself. Making simple explanations explicit works almost as well as real teaching.

    Read →

  7. Using search engines to study Chinese

    Studying on your own comes with certain problems I think all language learners have encountered many times. If you encounter a concept you don’t know how to say in the target language, you have to look it up. The first natural thing would be to look in a dictionary or a corpus, but some kinds of questions can’t be answered in this way. Asking a search engine is a very powerful but often neglected tool that I use on a daily basis.

    Read →

  8. Listening ability, a matter of practice?

    Many people have asked me how to improve listening ability, not only when learning Chinese, but when learning any language. The problem is that there seems to be no tactic to employ and no smart tricks; to get better at listening, you simply need to practice. Is this really the case? Is listening ability simply about listening a lot? Can’t you hack it?

    Read →

  9. Learning Chinese is easier than you think

    Natives and foreigners alike tend to spread the myth that Chinese is impossible to learn. This isn’t true. If you have the correct attitude and approach, Chinese isn’t all that difficult to learn, at least to a conversant level. This post is meant as encouragement for those of you who think or believe that Chinese is impossible to learn.

    Read →