Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles published in February 2020

  1. 5 levels of understanding Chinese characters: Superficial forms to deep structure

    How much do you need to care about the actual composition and meaning of a Chinese character when learning it? In general, better understanding means it’s easier to learn, but is there a limit to how closely you should stick to actual etymology? This article explores the spectrum from using superficial images to real etymology from the perspective of a language learner.

    Read →

  2. The forking path: A human approach to learning Chinese

    Top-down, project management style learning often fails for a number of reasons, but there are alternative, softer approaches to learning Chinese. In this article, I introduce one such approach that focuses on small, everyday choices rather than distant goals.

    Read →

  3. Does using colour to represent Mandarin tones make them easier to learn?

    Some learning materials, apps and tools allow you to add colours to show Mandarin tones, but is this really helpful? This article discusses the ins and outs of using colour to learn and remember tones, along with some practical considerations.

    Read →

  4. Chinese writing challenge, February 2021

    It’s time for a Chinese writing challenge! It starts on February 10th (Monday), so enrol, set your goal and write as much as you can before the end of the month. This article contains more information about the challenge, some important things to keep in mind as well as some advice about improving writing ability in Chinese.

    Read →