Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles published in May 2020

  1. Are mnemonics too slow for Chinese learners?

    Mnemonics are very effective for certain types of learning, but how effective are they for learning Chinese? This article is the first of two that looks at the effectiveness of mnemonics, focusing on the question of speed. Are mnemonics too slow to be really useful in the context of using a foreign language?

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  2. Learning Chinese words: When quantity beats quality

    Any teacher, student or researcher will agree that vocabulary is important, but how should you go about it? What’s the goal? This article argues that a common problem for learners of Chinese is that they spend too much time learning too few words, and that they would be better of aiming for quantity over quality in many cases.

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  3. When spaced repetition fails, and what to do about it

    Spaced repetition software can boost your vocabulary learning significantly. The idea is to schedule each review as late as possible, but not so late that you forget the answer. This sounds good in principle, but when it comes to learning languages, just barely being able to come up with the right word is not enough!

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