Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Recent articles about how to learn Mandarin Page 49

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. The virtues of learning Chinese through language exchange

    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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  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. Making mistakes in Chinese is necessary to adjust your mental models

    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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