Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Immersion and integration’ category

  1. An introduction to extensive reading for Chinese learners

    Too many students of Chinese spend most of their time reading a small number of difficult texts, whereas they would actually be much better off reading a larger number of easier content. Are you focusing on extensive reading enough?

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  2. Review: Learning Chinese by video immersion with FluentU (2020 edition)

    FluentU offers authentic as well as learner-oriented videos for learning Chinese. A neat interface allows you to use an excellent pop-up dictionary and other useful features to watch and learn from videos. This is an in-depth review of FluentU Chinese.

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  3. 7 ideas for smooth and effortless Chinese listening practice

    Listening in Chinese is hard, but simply listening more helps. That is not always very easy, though, because it’s hard to both find the time to listen and to actually get started. This article discusses ideas for how to make listening practice in Chinese smoother and more effortless.

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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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