Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Essential articles’ category

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. Learning Chinese words: When quantity beats quality

    Any teacher, student or researcher will agree that vocabulary is important, but how should you go about it? What’s the goal? This article argues that a common problem for learners of Chinese is that they spend too much time learning too few words, and that they would be better of aiming for quantity over quality in many cases.

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  4. 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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  5. New course: Unlocking Chinese – The Ultimate Guide for Beginners

    Do you want to make sure your Chinese learning gets off to a good start? Or have you already started, but feel a bit confused and need guidance? Then my new course, Unlocking Chinese: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners, is for you!

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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. The Hacking Chinese guide to Mandarin tones

    Learning tones is one of the major challenges of learning Mandarin and other Chinese dialects. This guide describes what tones are, why they are important and how to learn them. The article collects information and advice from more than twenty articles about learning tones, along with resources and references for further reading.

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  9. Mimicking native speakers as a way of learning Chinese

    Using Audacity to mimic native speakers

    Mimicking native speakers very closely is one of my favourite ways of learning a number of things, but mainly pronunciation and intonation. It’s also a good way of learning vocabulary and grammar. This article contains step-by-step instructions for how to mimic your way to the next level!

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  10. My best advice on how to learn Chinese characters

    This article contains an overview of how to learn Chinese characters, including understanding how they work, advice on how to learn them and how to review.

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