Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

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  1. Goals and motivation for learning Chinese, part 4 – Micro goals

    This is the fourth article in my series on goals and motivation. This time the topic is micro goals and how to use them to enhance your studying. In essence, you will need to have goals on many different levels to make sure that you are moving in the right direction. Links to previous articles are presented at the beginning.

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  2. Goals and motivation for learning Chinese, part 3 – Short-term goals

    This is the third article in my series on goals and motivation. This time the topic is short-term goals and how to use them to enhance your studying. In essence, you will need to have goals on many different levels to make sure that you are moving in the right direction. Links to previous articles are presented at the beginning.

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  3. Goals and motivation for learning Chinese, part 2 – Long-term goals

    This is the second article in my series on goals and motivation. This time the topic is long-term goals and how to use them to enhance your studying. In essence, you will need to have goals on many different levels to make sure that you are moving in the right direction. Links to previous articles are presented at the beginning.

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  4. Goals and motivation for learning Chinese, part 1 – Introduction

    I think everybody knows that motivation is something you need to succeed at any task. I’m naturally going to assume that you are motivated to learn Chinese (otherwise, why are you reading this?), but that’s not going to be enough. Do you know why you want to learn Chinese? Are you the ambitious entrepreneur? The curious student? The involuntary learner? The Chinese culture aficionado? The linguistics nerd?

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  5. Why you should use more than one Chinese textbook

    Why you should use more than one Chinese textbook

    Studying a foreign language in a classroom situation (which should be most of us, I think) typically depends on a series of textbooks. What I’m discussing here is the value of using additional textbooks as a resource for more comprehensive vocabulary learning.

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  6. What native speakers know and what they don’t

    What native speakers know and what they don't

    I’ve come a cross enough examples of people overstating the importance of being a native speaker to lead me to think that it’s a general trend and not an isolated phenomenon. This attitude is so bizarre it left me baffled the first few times, but I’ve come across this so often that it can no longer be dismissed as coincidence: people really seem to think that native speakers know everything, although it’s obvious that they don’t. This also means that most native speakers over-estimate their own language ability.

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  7. Using search engines to study Chinese

    Studying on your own comes with certain problems I think all language learners have encountered many times. If you encounter a concept you don’t know how to say in the target language, you have to look it up. The first natural thing would be to look in a dictionary or a corpus, but some kinds of questions can’t be answered in this way. Asking a search engine is a very powerful but often neglected tool that I use on a daily basis.

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  8. Anki, the best of spaced repetition software

    Of all the various websites and programs out there to help you learning Chinese, Anki is probably the most important one. There are numerous software to handle vocabulary learning, but in my experience, none of them are as versatile and dynamic as Anki.

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  9. Take responsibility for your language learning now

    You are the only one responsible for your own learning and if you let other people take responsibility for you, the results might be disastrous. This might sound obvious, but I think the problem is widely overlooked, especially by people who take language courses.

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  10. Pros and cons with travelling to learn a language

    It is often said that it’s very good to travel to learn languages. I don’t think this is true, at least not in the sense that most people believe. Travelling has some major language-learning benefits, but it’s far from a panacea.

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