Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Essential articles’ category

  1. The building blocks of Chinese, part 2: Basic characters, components and radicals

    Most Chinese characters are compounds consisting of two or more components, but some components are in themselves compounds that can be further broken down. But how do you know where to stop? And how do you learn and remember the most basic building blocks?

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  2. The building blocks of Chinese, part 1: Chinese characters and words in a nutshell

    Learning to read and write Chinese is a daunting task, but the challenge becomes more manageable if you focus on learning the building blocks, learning how components form characters and how characters form words. This article is the first part in a series helping adult students make sens of Chinese characters.

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  3. My best advice on how to learn Chinese characters

    This is an overview of how to learn Chinese characters, including understanding how they work, how to learn to read and write them, as well as how to remember the characters you have learnt. Tools and resources related to characters are also covered!

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  4. 20 tips and tricks to improve your Chinese writing ability

    Writing is one of the four basic language skills, and one that learners of Chinese struggle with a lot. Good writing is based on lots of reading, but beyond that, there are plenty of other things you can do to improve your writing ability in Chinese beyond the characters themselves. Here are twenty tips and tricks!

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  5. The most serious mistake students make when learning Mandarin pronunciation

    Learning to hear and say the sounds of Mandarin can be tricky, but it’s made much more difficult by the way many students go about it. By focusing on reading over listening, they are making themselves a big disservice!

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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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