Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles published in December 2013

  1. Chinese reading challenge: Read more or die

    You don’t read as much in Chinese as you should and January is the month that will change. The challenge starts on January 1st and the goal of reading as much as possible in Chinese in one month. This article contains not only more information about the challenge, but also lots of tips and tricks for reading (more) in Chinese!

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  2. Chinese immersion with Carl Gene Fordham

    It’s widely known that immersion is an effective way of learning languages, but the details are less clear. How do you go about it? This article contains an interview with Carl Gene Fordham, who has many interesting things to say about how he learnt Chinese to an advanced level, as well as how we continued from there and became a translator and interpreter.

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  3. Role-playing to learn more Chinese and avoid frustration

    Focusing on meaning rather than form is usually a good idea. It allows you to communicate as opposed to just do drills, which is only useful in limited doses. However, caring too much about what you want to say rather than how you do it will sometimes make you unable to say much at all. In these cases, role play! You don’t need to answer questions truthfully in class. Exploring questions from different perspectives will not only help you learn more, it’s more fun as well!

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  4. Review: The Geography of Thought: How East Asians and Westerners Think Differently… And Why

    People often ask me about cultural differences between East Asia and West and if it’s true that people in different cultures really are all that different. I usually answer something along the lines of that the differences between individuals are bigger than those between cultures. After reading the book recommended in this article, though, I can say a lot more. Reading Richard Nisbett’s “The Geography of Thought” has helped me connect the dots and make sense of some of the differences between East Asia and the West. It’s an enjoyable as well as thought-provoking read.

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