Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Science and research’ category

  1. Chinese language logging, part 2: A healthy, balanced diet of Mandarin

    How do you balance your learning to make sure you get a healthy diet of Mandarin? Logging how much you listen, speak, read and write is easy, but are there better ways of doing it?

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  2. Learning the second tone in Mandarin Chinese

    Many students of Chinese struggle with the third tone, but almost as many also have problems with the second tone. So how should the second tone be pronounced, and what are the most common learner errors?

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  3. Learning the third tone in Mandarin Chinese

    The third tone in Mandarin is the most mispronounced of all. It’s an essentially low tone, but many learners are unaware of this, partly because the way the tone is taught is flawed. Don’t think of it as a falling-rising tone, just think of it as a low tone!

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  4. The most serious mistake students make when learning Mandarin pronunciation

    Learning to hear and say the sounds of Mandarin can be tricky, but it’s made much more difficult by the way many students go about it. By focusing on reading over listening, they are making themselves a big disservice!

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  5. 9 answers to questions about Pinyin and pronunciation

    Pronunciation is best learnt by listening attentively and mimicking, but it’s also necessary to be able to learn Pinyin properly. This article answers nine questions about Pinyin and Chinese pronunciation.

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  6. Are simplified characters really simpler to learn?

    Are simplified characters easier to learn? They have fewer strokes, but quicker to write doesn’t necessarily mean easier to learn! The simplified vs. traditional characters debate has been going on for a long time, mostly based on emotion. In this guest article, Ash Henson from Outlier Linguistics strives to add reason to the mix and answer the question of whether simplified characters are actually simpler to learn.

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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. 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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  9. 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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  10. Are mnemonics too slow for Chinese learners?

    Mnemonics are very effective for certain types of learning, but how effective are they for learning Chinese? This article is the first of two that looks at the effectiveness of mnemonics, focusing on the question of speed. Are mnemonics too slow to be really useful in the context of using a foreign language?

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