Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Immersion and integration’ category

  1. Why not going to China now could actually be good for your Chinese

    Do you have to go abroad to learn Chinese? Will you learn Chinese simply by living abroad? And if you go, does it matter when you go if you can only stay for a short time? This article argues that it does matter when you go, and that you’re better off not going immediately as a pure beginner.

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  2. Improving your Chinese while watching TV shows

    Watching TV is a great way to learn languages. It combines lots of useful Chinese words and phrases while providing rich context because of the visual nature of the medium. This article introduces ideas for how to learn, as well as recommended TV shows for beginner, intermediate and advanced learners.

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  3. Should you learn to speak Chinese before you learn Chinese characters?

    The question of whether or not to delay learning Chinese characters in favour of the spoken language is an interesting one many arguments in favour of both approaches. For most people setting out on their Chinese learning journey, focusing on important aspects of the spoken language, such as pronunciation, is certainly more important than learning characters.

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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. The simple trick I used to double the amount of Chinese I listen to

    Learning to understand spoken Chinese requires an awful lot of practice; you need to listen much more than most people do. In this article, I introduce and explain a simple trick that allowed me to listen much more than I did before!

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  7. 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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  8. Why is listening in Chinese so hard?

    Most students think that listening in Chinese is hard, but how much of that is just listening being difficult in general and how much is attributable to Chinese specifically? This article covers both aspects and discusses reasons why listening is difficult, both in general and for Chinese in particular.

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  9. 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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  10. The cheapest and most convenient way to improve your spoken Chinese

    Speaking Chinese fluently requires a lot of practice. The best option is to talk with native speakers, preferably mixed with teachers who can help you improve and are better at adjusting their language to your level. But what if you don’t have a teacher and no native speakers are available? This article discusses why speaking to yourself can be a viable way of improving your speaking ability, including how to do it.

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