Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Immersion and integration’ category

  1. Beyond tīng bu dǒng, part 2: From sound to meaning in Mandarin

    Listening comprehension in Mandarin is complex, and the more I learn about it, the more amazing it seems that we’re able to understand anything at all.

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  2. Beyond tīng bu dǒng, part 1: A guide to Chinese listening comprehension

    Listening comprehension is essential when learning Chinese, but if we want to improve, we need to move beyond tīng bu dǒng and identify what the problem really is.

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  3. Analyse and balance your Chinese learning with Paul Nation’s four strands

    When learning Chinese, it’s hard to make sure you’re doing the right things. Paul Nation’s four strands allow you analyse and balance your learning!

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  4. On accuracy, communication and comprehensibility when learning Chinese

    Some think that as long as people understand you, accuracy doesn’t matter much, but others think that errors should be avoided at all costs. How serious are errors when trying to communicate in Chinese?

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  5. Are authentic texts good for learning Chinese or is graded content better?

    Authentic texts not written specifically for second language learners are rich, varied, interesting and engaging, but they can also be terribly difficult and confusing. Should you use such texts for learning Chinese, or are you better off using content tailored to language learners?

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  6. What to read to improve your Chinese and why

    Reading in Chinese has many benefits, but why you read should also inform your choice of what to read.

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  7. Time quality: Studying the right thing at the right time

    Many students think that learning a language is limited to going to class, working your way through difficult texts or having conversations with native speakers. These all contribute to your learning, but learning is not limited to things you can schedule in your calendar. If you think of it like that, you’ll miss so many learning opportunities!

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  8. How to survive and thrive in a difficult Chinese course

    How do you survive a Chinese course that’s too hard for you, regardless if you ended up there on purpose or because of circumstances? What are the key strategies to ensure you stay afloat and learn as much as possible?

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  9. Is taking a Chinese course that’s too hard good for your learning?

    Chinese has a reputation for being hard to learn and it can be even harder if you take a course that is above your level. But why would you do that? What are the potential pros and cons of deliberately seeking out a learning environment where just keeping your head above water will be hard?

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  10. Why spaced repetition software is uniquely well suited to learning Chinese characters

    While spaced repetition software can be very useful, it also has some serious drawbacks. Fortunately, most of them don’t apply to learning to write Chinese characters!

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