Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Learning outside class’ 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. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  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. When spaced repetition fails, and what to do about it

    Spaced repetition software, like Anki or Skritter, can boost your vocabulary learning significantly, but there are situations where it just isn’t enough. The idea is to delay each review as long as possible without forgetting, which leads to a great increase in efficiency. This sounds good in practice, but when it comes to learning languages, just being able to recall what something means often isn’t enough!

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  8. Dealing with Chinese characters you keep mixing up

    The more Chinese characters you learn, the harder it becomes to keep similar characters distinct. If you’re not careful, a pair or group of characters can generate a lot of extra work and frustration. The solution is to trace your errors and figure out why you get the characters wrong and, then deal with them decisively!

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  9. Skritter review: Boosting your Chinese character learning (2020 edition)

    Skritter is a modern tool for learning ancient characters. It combines research-based methods, such as active recall and spaced repetition, with great Chinese-specific tools and content. Skritter is the best character-learning app available, and in this review, we look at why and how you can use Skritter to get the most out of your character learning!

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  10. How to figure out how good your Chinese is

    Figuring out how good your Chinese is can help you focus on the right areas and evaluate your learning methods. But language assessment is hard! This article describes how and why you should assess how good your Chinese is, and gives you tools and resources to do so.

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