Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles published in June 2011

  1. Escaping the convenience trap to learn more Chinese

    The path of least resintance

    We like to spend time doing what we’re already good at, which might be a good thing if we’re aiming for excellence in a very narrow field. However, learning a language is not so narrow and requires us ta learn a variety of skills. In this article, I explore the tendency to focus on what we’re already good at and some of it’s negative consequences. I also propose some hands-on tips to escape the convenience trap.

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  2. Make sure listening practice isn’t a practical problem

    Listening ability is mostly a matter of listening a lot, which is not as easily done as it sounds. There are many problems, but in this article I focus on the practical parts that play a bigger role than most people realise. In short, if you find yourself in a situation where you would be able to and want to listen, but can’t, you’ve made a mistake and need to change. This article is about how avoid practical obstacles to improving listening ability.

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  3. Review: Chinese Synonyms Usage Dictionary

    This is a review of a very useful synonym dictionary, complete with detailed descriptions and comparisons of commonly confused words. It’s useful both as a dictionary and for studying vocabulary. I recommend the book for anyone from intermediate level and up, but some parts are useful for everyone.

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  4. Spaced repetition isn’t rote learning

    Spaced repetition might on the surface look like it’s rote learning, but I argue that it isn’t. Firstly, spaced repetition isn’t about learning as such. You’re supposed to use smarter methods to learn the words first and then simply review to keep the knowledge fresh. Secondly, spaced repetition won’t degenerate to rote learning if you are alert and avoid cramming of any kind.

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