Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Distinctively Chinese’ category

  1. Chinese language learning in the twenty-first century: Towards a digital ecosystem?

    Digital resources have made learning Chinese considerably easier than it used to be, but another problem has appeared: How can we make sense of and navigate the vast number of resources and find what’s best for us?

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  2. The new HSK 3.0: What you need to know

    On July 1st, 2021, a new Chinese proficiency standard takes effect. This will have big consequences for the HSK, the most widely used proficiency test for non-native speakers. What are these changes and what do they mean for you as a student?

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  3. Learning to understand regionally accented Mandarin

    As soon as you leave the classroom, you will notice that people don’t speak Chinese the way your teacher and textbook do. Why is that, and what can you do to learn to understand regionally accented Mandarin?

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  4. The importance of tones is inversely proportional to the predictability of what you say

    Tones in Mandarin carry roughly as much information as vowels do, but still some people insist that tones are not very important, or even that native speakers don’t really use tones. Why is that and what can we learn from digging deeper into this misconception?

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  5. Lost in transcription: Saylaw, Ice Island and Aristotle

    Names of people and places can be quite different in different languages, sometimes so different that it causes headaches for second language learners. Do you know the world’s best footballer, Saylaw? What about Yàlǐshìduōdé? Or are you lost in transcription too?

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  6. What’s the difference between Chinese pronunciation and Pinyin? Does it matter?

    It’s not uncommon for both students and teachers to treat Chinese pronunciation and Pinyin as the same thing, but they are not, and thinking that they are can lead to certain problems.

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  7. Learning the second tone in Mandarin Chinese

    Many students of Chinese struggle with the third tone, but almost as many also have problems with the second tone. So how should the second tone be pronounced, and what are the most common learner errors?

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  8. Chinese input methods: A guide for second language learners

    There are many different input methods available for Chinese characters, including phonetic typing, non-phonetic typing, handwriting and speech recognition, but which method is best for people who study Chinese? And why?

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  9. The 10 best free Chinese reading resources for beginner, intermediate and advanced learners

    Reading is the best way to expand vocabulary and learn new things in Chinese. What are the best free resources out there for beginner, intermediate and advanced learners? This article collects and introduces the ten best free reading resources in each category!

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  10. 6 things in Chinese that are harder to learn than they seem

    It’s hard to gauge the difficulty of something without having mastered it first. When something is easier than you think, that’s not very serious, but if you think something is much easier than it actually is, it can feel quite bad and decrease motivation. This article is about things that are harder than they seem when learning Chinese.

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