Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Learning in class’ category

  1. How to not teach Chinese characters to beginners: A 12-step approach

    This is a guide for how to not teach Chinese characters, based on more than a decade of observing terrible teaching and worst practices. Which of these have you seen?

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  2. 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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  3. Review: The Outlier Linguistics Dictionary of Chinese Characters

    Outlier Linguistics Dictionary of Chinese characters is an excellent tool to help you understand and thereby learn Chinese characters more effectively. This is an in-depth review, covering the two versions of the dictionary, essential and expert, as well as other related products provided by outlier. There is also a 25% discount code for those who want to try the dictionary!

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  4. All the resources you need to learn and teach Chinese stroke order

    Stroke order for Chinese characters is something most beginners struggle with to begin with, but it’s also a problem that quickly fades away over time. This article collects all the resources you need to understand stroke order, look it up when you need to, and provides you with the practice you need.

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  5. Training your Chinese teacher, part 4: Writing ability

    Writing ability is largely determined by how much you read, but there are many areas where a teacher can help you through valuable feedback. This article looks at this process, discussing what activities to engage in and what role your teacher can play.

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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. 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. Text adventure games and how to use them in the Chinese language classroom

    Interactive text games work well for individual learners, but they are also excellent in a classroom setting. This article gives you everything you need as a teacher to play Escape! in your classroom. A Chinese version of this article is available as well.

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  9. Can too much guidance make you learn less Chinese?

    Guidance and support can make learning Chinese easier, but could too much of it make it harder? This article discusses the downsides of receiving too much help and the benefits of engaging more with the Chinese language on your own, without having everything explained to you.

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  10. Training your Chinese teacher, part 3: Listening ability

    Listening ability is generally overlooked in language teaching. At first glance, it might seem that having a teacher is not as useful for improving listening as it is for improving speaking, but is that really the case? This article covers both what you should and what you shouldn’t do with your teacher if improving listening ability is your goal!

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