Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Recent articles Page 43

  1. Chinese listening ability, a matter of practice?

    Many people have asked me how to improve listening ability, not only when learning Chinese, but when learning any language. The problem is that there seems to be no tactic to employ and no smart tricks; to get better at listening, you simply need to practice. Is this really the case? Is listening ability simply about listening a lot? Can’t you hack it?

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  2. Learning Chinese words really fast

    After spending three articles building up our toolkit to learn Chinese more efficiently, the time is now ripe to actually use all these to something genuinely useful. It’s time to make those long-term investments pay off. This article explains how to learn new words really fast.

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  3. Creating a powerful toolkit: Characters and words

    This is the second article in my series on creating a toolkit to enable efficient learning of words and this time the topic is individual characters. This article explains why individual characters are important to learn and there are links to other articles describing how to learn characters efficiently.

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  4. Spaced repetition software and why you should use it

    Spaced repetition means that you review words you want to learn in certain intervals to maximise learning efficiency. Since this involves keeping track of much data, a computer program is needed to handle it properly. Spaced repetition software is very powerful and can be used for many things, but learning vocabulary and characters are perhaps the most important applications.

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  5. Creating a powerful toolkit: Individual characters

    Learning to read and write Chinese requires intimate knowledge not only of words, but also of individual characters. Without this knowledge, the building blocks of each word become meaningless, and, as we all know, learning something meaningful is always easier. Knowing individual characters is also essential if we want to be able to guess the meaning of new words, learn new words quickly or use mnemonics!

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  6. The virtues of language exchanges

    A language exchange is simply a relationship between two people who want to learn each other’s language. It is useful because it allows you to focus fully on language without having to worry that your ordinary friends think it’s taxing to be with you because you always ask so many questions.

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  7. Creating a powerful toolkit: Character components

    If you plan to learn to read or write Chinese, you will need to learn parts of characters (components) and parts of words (characters). There are an untold number of combinations of these, and if you only study these it will be impossible. This would be a little bit like learning maths by studying thousands of examples, but never actually looking at the underlying equations.

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  8. The art of being corrected when learning Chinese

    Very few people can receive criticism for something they do with a perfectly open mind and a positive attitude. In fact, I would go as far as saying that being able to do that is an art. Being corrected is a natural process when learning a language and something you should welcome with open arms, even if it takes courage and practice to do so.

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  9. Learning Chinese through social media

    People spend lots of time every day using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Communicating with native speakers in a relaxed way is a very good way of learning a language, especially if it doesn’t feel like studying. Apart from the global social media, China also has its own variants that can be very useful for language learners.

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  10. Mental models and making mistakes

    Everybody knows that making mistakes is part of learning and that you have to live with it. Some of you might even have heard that mistakes are good, as long as they are genuine. Very few, however, live according to this maxim. In this article I talk about making mistakes and that a healthy attitude towards mistakes is of great importance when trying to learn Chinese.

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