Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Advanced’ category

  1. Should you learn the names of the strokes in Chinese characters?

    Some teachers insist on teaching the names of the strokes that make up Chinese characters, but is learning them worthwhile? In general, the answer is no, but there are certain cases where learning the names of strokes makes sense!

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  2. How to not teach Chinese characters to beginners: A 12-step approach

    This is a guide for how to not teach Chinese characters, based on more than a decade of observing terrible teaching and worst practices. Which of these have you seen?

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  3. Chinese listening challenge, September 2020

    Hacking Chinese Listening Challenge

    It’s time for a listening challenge! It starts on September 10th, so enrol, set your goal and listen 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 suggestions for what to listen to.

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  4. Review: The Outlier Linguistics Dictionary of Chinese Characters

    Outlier Linguistics Dictionary of Chinese characters is an excellent tool to help you understand and thereby learn Chinese characters more effectively. This is an in-depth review, covering the two versions of the dictionary, essential and expert, as well as other related products provided by outlier. There is also a 25% discount code for those who want to try the dictionary!

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  5. Diversify how you study Chinese to learn more

    How is it possible to spend 80 hours a week learning Chinese? And what can you learn from that, even if you find it hard to find any time to study whatsoever, with work and family taking up most of your time? This article aims at widening the scope of what it means to learn Chinese, and shows you ways you can learn that you probably haven’t thought of before!

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  6. What important words are missing from TOCFL?

    TOCFL is the standard test of Chinese proficiency in Taiwan. The official lists cover a total of 8000 words spread over 6 levels, but what words are common, yet missing or delayed in these lists? This article strives to answer this question. As a student, you probably want to check the missing and delayed words to plug holes in your Chinese vocabulary!

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  7. What important words are missing from HSK?

    HSK is not only a popular test, it’s also used by many students as a guide for which words to learn. But the HSK lists don’t contain all common words, so it raises the question which words are missing or delayed in the HSK word lists. This article gives one answer to this question, showing that certain categories of words are missing entirely, such as profanity, place names and names for things foreign in China. As a student, you probably want to learn these, so browsing through the list of missing words could be helpful!

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  8. Improving your Chinese while watching TV shows

    Watching TV is a great way to learn languages. It combines lots of useful Chinese words and phrases while providing rich context because of the visual nature of the medium. This article introduces ideas for how to learn, as well as recommended TV shows for beginner, intermediate and advanced learners.

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  9. Training your Chinese teacher, part 4: Writing ability

    Writing ability is largely determined by how much you read, but there are many areas where a teacher can help you through valuable feedback. This article looks at this process, discussing what activities to engage in and what role your teacher can play.

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  10. Should you learn to speak Chinese before you learn Chinese characters?

    The question of whether or not to delay learning Chinese characters in favour of the spoken language is an interesting one many arguments in favour of both approaches. For most people setting out on their Chinese learning journey, focusing on important aspects of the spoken language, such as pronunciation, is certainly more important than learning characters.

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