Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles published in May 2013

  1. If you think spaced repetition software is a panacea you are wrong

    Spaced repetition software (SRS) is widely discussed online, and generally speaking, there is a spectrum between people who think SRS is the holy grail of learning anything and those that think SRS is artificial, passive and just a waste of time. This article argues that this polarisation is a serious mistake, SRS is a tool and like any other tool, how we use it determines what we get from it.

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  2. Learning how to learn Chinese through self-experimentation

    Rigorous scientific research typically requires large sample sizes, otherwise it isn’t possible to draw any conclusions about the population at large, which is the goal of most studies. However, experimenting with yourself as the only participant might not be relevant for other learners, but it’s highly relevant for you. This article is about how to use self-experimentation to learn Chinese.

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  3. Using Audacity to learn Chinese (speaking and listening)

    Audacity is a marvellous piece of software that allows you to record audio (yourself, other people or whatever is playing on your computer), mimic native speakers, edit and enhance the audio, as well as automatically manipulate multiple files, such as lecture or lesson recordings. In short, Audacity is a really good program for learning languages. This article introduces the software both through a video example and explaining text.

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  4. Adding tone marks (w/o Pinyin) above characters to practise tones

    Reading in Chinese is hard, but if we use too much Pinyin, we will never get used to reading characters. Adding tones (but not Pinyin) above characters is a good way of helping us to focus on tone production, separating the problem of remembering tones from the problem of producing tones, enabling us to focus on the latter.

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  5. Hacking Chinese meet-up in Taipei 2013-05-12

    I’m almost through a busy period with mid-term exams and a gymnastics competition, and since I won’t stay in Taiwan long after the semester ends, the only opportunity for another meet-up this semester is before final exams and reports start piling up, i.e. now. The previous meet-up was a great success, at least in my opinion. Close to a dozen people showed up and we discussed learning Chinese an entire afternoon. Let’s do that again! This meet-up will also be held in a cafe somewhere close to the NTNU main campus (close to both 古亭 and 臺電大樓 MRT stations) in Taipei.

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  6. You might be too lazy to learn Chinese, but you’re not too old

    Children learn languages neither quickly nor effortlessly, but there’s still a lot we can learn from them. You might be too lazy, but you’re definitely not too old to learn Chinese.

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