Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Attitude and mentality’ category

  1. How to get honest feedback to boost your Chinese speaking and writing

    Feedback is important because it can show you how to not use the language and highlight things you hadn’t noticed before. But getting honest feedback when learning Chinese is not as easy as it seems. This article starts by looking at why feedback is necessary, and continues by discussing how to get honest feedback.

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  2. Chinese is fascinating and exciting, not weird and stupid

    Languages are neither negative or positive in themselves; it’s all in the eye of the beholder. But does it matter what you think about Chinese language and culture? Is it harder to learn Mandarin if you think the language is weird and stupid? This article looks closer at this question, and argues that deliberately adopting a positive approach will lead to better and more enjoyable learning.

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  3. The forking path: A human approach to learning Chinese

    Top-down, project management style learning often fails for a number of reasons, but there are alternative, softer approaches to learning Chinese. In this article, I introduce one such approach that focuses on small, everyday choices rather than distant goals.

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  4. How to get past the intermediate Chinese learning plateau

    After having learnt Chinese for some time, many students feel that they are no longer making much progress. They’ve reached a learning plateau. This article investigates this plateau, what it actually means and what we can do to get past it.

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  5. Can too much guidance make you learn less Chinese?

    Guidance and support can make learning Chinese easier, but could too much of it make it harder? This article discusses the downsides of receiving too much help and the benefits of engaging more with the Chinese language on your own, without having everything explained to you.

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  6. The nine principles of learning (and the mistakes from failing to follow them)

    In 2014, Scott Young spent 100 days learning Chinese, after which he was able to speak freely on a wide range of topics, as well as pass HSK 4. Since then, he’s continued exploring effective learning and has now published a book called Ultralearning. He hasn’t abandoned Chinese, though, and in this article, he discusses nine important principles for effective learning and how they relate to studying Chinese.

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  7. 101 questions and answers about how to learn Chinese

    This is the biggest collections of questions and answer about how to learn Chinese anywhere. The questions are sorted into categories, and each question is answered briefly before links to further information is provided. If you have a question about how to learn Chinese, you’re very likely to find the answer here! If your question hasn’t been answered, please consider leaving a comment!

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  8. Training your Chinese teacher, part 1: Introduction

    Finding a good Chinese teacher is not easy, but there are many things you can do to get more out of the time you spend with your teacher. In this article, I discuss being taught Chinese in general, including things you should do as a student, as well as things you might want to train your Chinese teacher to do, if they aren’t already doing them. This article is the first in a series focusing on how to train your Chinese teacher.

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  9. Learning Chinese as an introverted student

    Introverts are not necessarily worse language learners than extroverts, but not taking or creating opportunities to speak Mandarin will slow you down. In this article, I share some methods I’ve used to compensate for this as an introvert learner.

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  10. Learning to unicycle, learning anatomy and learning Chinese

    Is learning Chinese more like learning to unicycle or like learning anatomy? It strongly depends on what we’re talking about more precisely. Some aspects of language learning are skills akin to unicycling, others are more about knowing and understanding.

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