Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Science and research’ category

  1. The building blocks of Chinese, part 6: Learning and remembering compound words

    Compound words in Chinese can look confusing at first, but once you see the patterns, learning and remembering them becomes much easier.

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  2. The building blocks of Chinese, part 5: Making sense of Chinese words

    How many characters do you need to know to be able to read Chinese? The truth is that characters only provide a foundation, so regardless of how many you know, you won’t be able to read much unless you also know many words.

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  3. 6 challenges students face when learning to read Chinese and how to overcome them

    Learning to read Chinese comes with several challenges, some of them unique to Chinese. What are these challenges, what do they mean for you as a student and how can you overcome them?

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  4. 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?

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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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