Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Learning in class’ category

  1. My best advice on how to learn Chinese characters

    This is an overview of how to learn Chinese characters, including understanding how they work, how to learn to read and write them, as well as how to remember the characters you have learnt. Tools and resources related to characters are also covered!

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  2. 20 tips and tricks to improve your Chinese writing ability

    Writing is one of the four basic language skills, and one that learners of Chinese struggle with a lot. Good writing is based on lots of reading, but beyond that, there are plenty of other things you can do to improve your writing ability in Chinese beyond the characters themselves. Here are twenty tips and tricks!

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  3. Should you learn the names of the strokes in Chinese characters?

    Some teachers insist on teaching the names of the strokes that make up Chinese characters, but is learning them worthwhile? In general, the answer is no, but there are certain cases where learning the names of strokes makes sense!

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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. The key to unlocking your first semester of Chinese

    A new semester is around the corner and many people are setting out on their journeys to learn Chinese. This article summarises the most important advice that beginners should keep in mind, including what resources to use and how to learn characters and tones.

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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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