Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Science and research’ category

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. Does using colour to represent Mandarin tones make them easier to learn?

    Some learning materials, apps and tools allow you to add colours to show Mandarin tones, but is this really helpful? This article discusses the ins and outs of using colour to learn and remember tones, along with some practical considerations.

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  6. 101 questions and answers about how to learn Chinese

    This is the biggest collections of questions and answer about how to learn Chinese anywhere. The questions are sorted into categories, and each question is answered briefly before links to further information is provided. If you have a question about how to learn Chinese, you’re very likely to find the answer here! If your question hasn’t been answered, please consider leaving a comment!

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  7. The most common Chinese words, characters and components for language learners and teachers

    When learning Chinese, it’s important not only to care about how you learn and how much time you spend, but also what you learn. By focusing on the most common words, characters and components, you make sure you get the most out of your studying. But which are the most common words, characters and components? This article collects frequency resources for language learners and teachers!

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  8. How good is voice recognition for learning Chinese pronunciation?

    Speech recognition technology has developed rapidly and can now be relied on to correctly identify standardised and clear pronunciation in Mandarin. But can it be used to check your Mandarin pronunciation? Not necessarily. This article looks at how well speech recognition software deals with non-native and low-quality audio, focusing on the question if speech recognition is too lenient for pronunciation practice.

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  9. Using speech recognition to improve Chinese pronunciation, part 1

    Speech recognition technology has developed rapidly and can now be relied on to correctly identify standardised and clear pronunciation in Mandarin. But can it be used to check your Mandarin pronunciation? Not necessarily. There are two problems that need to be investigated to answer that question. This article looks at the first: If speech recognition is unable to identify what you say, does that mean that your pronunciation is bad, or could it be the speech recognition that isn’t good enough?

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  10. Reading is a lot like spaced repetition, only better

    Learning vocabulary through reading and by using spaced repetition software are both common strategies employed by students learning Chinese, but which one is the most efficient? In this guest article, Kevin Bullaughey from WordSwing compares the two methods in terms of exposure and coverage.

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