Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles tagged with ‘Mnemonics’

  1. Same components, different characters


    Some Chinese characters consist of the same components in different places, creating completely different characters. This article discusses this phenomenon and its implications for language learners.

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  2. Skritter review: Boosting your character learning


    Skritter is the best character-learning app/service available. In this Skritter review, we look at why and how you can use it to learn in a better way.

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  3. 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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  4. How to create mnemonics for general or abstract character components


    Anyone who has tried mnemonics for learning Chinese characters knows that some components are easier to link together than others. This article discusses in detail how to deal with abstract or general character components and how to handle components with the same or overlapping meaning, an essential skill if you’re serious about character learning.

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  5. Sensible character learning: Progress, reminders and reflections

    The sensible character challenge has now been running for two weeks and it’s time to see how things have been going so far. This post is a progress report that contains some reflections on the challenge itself, as well as some practical advice on how to solve common problems. It also invites participants to share their experience and progress so far.

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  6. Remembering is a skill you can learn

    Contrary to what many people believe, a good memory can be trained. Memory champions are just ordinary people who have practised a lot. There are many clever techniques and tricks you can use to remember things (such as Chinese characters or words) very efficiently. This article is meant to be an introduction for those of you who are new to the fascinating world of memory training.

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  7. Towards a more sensible way of learning to write Chinese

    This character learning challenge strives to teach students to learn Chinese characters in a way that makes sense in the long term. While the challenge is over, the principles are still applicable!

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  8. Extending mnemonics: Tones and pronunciation

    Using mnemonics to memorise concrete objects is fairly easy, but how can we use mnemonics to remember abstract things such as tones and pronunciation? In this article, I expand my previous discussions of mnemonics and show how they can be quite powerful if you’re prepared to invest some extra time.

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  9. Kickstart your character learning with the 100 most common radicals


    This is a list of the 100 most common radicals among the 2000 most common characters, meaning that it’s excellent for beginners who want to boost their understanding of Chinese characters. The list contains simplified, traditional, variants, meaning, pronunciation, examples, helpful comments and colloquial names.

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  10. Learning Chinese the holistic way: Integrating knowledge


    Holistic learning is about integrating what you learn into a web of things you already know and thus making it much easier to learn and remember. This is in contrast with traditional education methods which often emphasise isolated facts and don’t make proper use of what learners already know.

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