Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Learning outside class’ category

  1. A smart method to discover problems with Mandarin sounds and tones

    It’s often hard to assess one’s own pronunciation when learning Mandarin. People around you might understand what you are saying, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your tones are good. Simply asking people if your pronunciation is good won’t work either, because they will often tell you that your pronunciation is good even if it’s not. So how can you find out how good your pronunciation really is?

    Read →

  2. The building blocks of Chinese, part 2: Basic characters, components and radicals

    Most Chinese characters are compounds consisting of two or more components, but some components are in themselves compounds that can be further broken down. But how do you know where to stop? And how do you learn and remember the most basic building blocks?

    Read →

  3. The building blocks of Chinese, part 1: Chinese characters and words in a nutshell

    Learning to read and write Chinese is a daunting task, but the challenge becomes more manageable if you focus on learning the building blocks, learning how components form characters and how characters form words. This article is the first part in a series helping adult students make sens of Chinese characters.

    Read →

  4. Skritter review: Boosting your Chinese character learning (2021 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. While it’s not a free resources, it has enough edges over more generic, free programs to be worth it, at least in my opinion.

    Read →

  5. Chinese language logging, part 3: Tools and resources for keeping track of your learning

    Logging you language learning can be very useful, and there are many tools and resources out there to help you, but which are the best and how do you use them?Logging you language learning can be very useful, and there are many tools and resources out there to help you, but which are the best and how do you use them?

    Read →

  6. Chinese language learning in the twenty-first century: Towards a digital ecosystem?

    Digital resources have made learning Chinese considerably easier than it used to be, but another problem has appeared: How can we make sense of and navigate the vast number of resources and find what’s best for us?

    Read →

  7. The benefits of using Wikipedia to look up words when learning Chinese

    Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a dictionary, but did you know that it can be better than a dictionary for looking up words when learning Chinese?

    Read →

  8. Chinese reading challenge, July 2021

    It’s time for a reading challenge! It starts on July 10th, so enrol, set your goal and read as much as you can before the end of the month. This article contains more information about the challenge, some important things to keep in mind as well as some advice about improving reading ability in Chinese.

    Read →

  9. Learning to understand regionally accented Mandarin

    As soon as you leave the classroom, you will notice that people don’t speak Chinese the way your teacher and textbook do. Why is that, and what can you do to learn to understand regionally accented Mandarin?

    Read →

  10. Chinese vocabulary challenge, June 2021

    It’s time for a vocabulary challenge! It starts on June 10th, so enrol, set your goal and learn as many characters and words as you can before the end of the month. This challenge is sponsored by Skritter, so there are also prizes on the line! This article contains more information about the challenge, some important things to keep in mind as well as some advice about learning Chinese characters and words.

    Read →