Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Key study hacks’ 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 look up Chinese characters you don’t know

    Looking up an unknown character in Chinese is much trickier than looking up unknown words in most other languages. This article discusses various ways of looking up Chinese characters, including paper dictionaries, handwriting input, OCR and more.

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  3. 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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  4. Cramming vs. spaced repetition: When to use which method to learn Chinese

    Cramming and spaced repetition are viable but opposite methods of reviewing Chinese characters, words and expressions. When should you use which? And Why?

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  5. Training and testing your ability to hear Mandarin sounds

    Learning to hear the sounds in a new language is a very important step, both to understand it and to pronounce it yourself. This article gives you methods and tools for training and testing your ability to hear the sounds of Mandarin.

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  6. A minimum-effort approach to writing Chinese characters by hand

    Learning characters in the first place takes time, but you also need to maintain that knowledge. This article presents an efficient way to remember how to write Chinese characters in the long term.

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  7. What you intend to write is more important than the character you actually write

    Why is focusing on intent important when learning to write Chinese characters? What you intend to write is more important than what you actually write.

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  8. Focus on initials and finals, not Pinyin spelling

    Instead of worrying too much about Pinyin spelling and what sounds each letter represents, students of Mandarin should zoom out a bit and focus on initials and finals as whole units. There are only around 60 of them and focusing on them will pay off handsomely.

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  9. Study more Chinese: Time boxing vs. micro goals

    Study more Chinese: Time boxing vs. micro goals

    Time boxing and micro goals are both excellent strategies for getting things done, but which one is most suitable for learning Chinese? In this article, I discuss the pros and cons with the two methods and how that relates to learning Chinese. The short answer is that I use both a lot, but in different situations.

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  10. 7 ways of learning to write Chinese characters

    There are many ways of practising writing Chinese characters and they all have their pros and cons. In this article, I discuss seven different ways of practising and what advantages and disadvantages they have for you as a learner. Which do you use?

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