Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles tagged with ‘Tones’

  1. Learning tones in Mandarin is not optional


    Learning tones in Mandarin is not optional. The longer you wait before paying attention to tones, the more you will have to relearn later. If you don’t know the tone, you don’t know the word. It takes time to learn to hear tones and treat them as integral parts of syllables, but the sooner you start, the better.

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  2. The Hacking Chinese tone training course


    Learning to hear the difference between tones is difficult for many learners. Research shows that speaker variability and a systematic and predictable approach are key to overcoming the problem. With this article, I launch a tone training course, which is meant to provide you with just that. For free!

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  3. How to learn to hear the tones in Mandarin


    Learning to hear the difference between tones in Mandarin can be difficult for adult learners. In this article, I introduce two effective ways of overcoming this problem, as well as my own research project, which is meant to help students and will be available soon.

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  4. How learning some basic theory can improve your pronunciation

    Achieving native-like pronunciation in a foreign language as an adult learner isn’t easy. The strategy to get there needs to incorporate large amounts of practice, mimicking and feedback, but I’m convinced that we can also benefit from a small portion of theoretical knowledge. Pronunciation theory can, among other things, help us notice details we did know about before.

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  5. 24 great resources for improving your Mandarin pronunciation


    In this article, I list 24 great resources for learning pronunciation. Naturally, some of them are limited to Mandarin Chinese, but many are more general in nature and works for other Chinese dialects or even other languages. Resources are sorted into Basic sound references, Pronunciation explained, Advice on learning pronunciation and Useful software and applications.

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  6. Hacking Chinese Pronunciation course now open for registration

    The Hacking Chinese pronunciation course is back in a new, heavily upgraded version! It contains a systematic assessment of your pronunciation, including detailed error analysis and in-depth explanations of priority problems, all done manually by me for your benefit. The number of slots for this course is limited!

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  7. How to find out how good your Chinese pronunciation really is

    Evaluating pronunciation needn’t be hard, but many methods commonly used by teachers are deeply flawed, resulting in inaccurate error analysis. If we want to improve, we need to be clear about what we need to improve first. This article looks at some problems with commonly used methods to evaluate pronunciation and suggests some alternatives.

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  8. Two reasons why pronunciation matters more than you think

    Good pronunciation matters, whether you like it or not. In general, students (and teachers) tend to stop caring about pronunciation much earlier than they should. You don’t need to aim for native-like pronunciation, but clear and easily-understood Chinese should be the goal of all students. In this article I present two arguments: one about the fact that pronunciation and communication are closely linked, one about how pronunciation reflects both you as a person and your other skills.

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  9. Focusing on tone pairs to improve your Mandarin pronunciation

    When learning to pronounce tones in Chinese, it makes sense to focus on words rather than single syllables. Most words in Chinese are disyllabic and since practising these will also include to tone changes (sandhi), focusing on tone pairs is a very good idea. This article gives you all HSK and TOCFL words, sorted by tone! This is great both for students who need words to practise difficult combinations, but it’s also useful for teachers who need more words to practise these combinations.

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  10. About fossilisation and improving your Chinese pronunciation

    It’s a fact that most foreign adults don’t acquire native like pronunciation in Chinese, but what’s the reason? In most debates at this point, someone will throw in the word “fossilisation”, as if that actually explained anything. This article is about why the concept of fossilisation is bunk and how we should think about adult pronunciation instead.

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