Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Speaking’ category

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. Two types of pronunciation problems and what to do about them

    Many assume that when someone gets pronunciation wrong, they haven’t learnt how to produce that sound correctly yet. This is not always the case, though, because there is another reason that is perhaps even more likely to be the cause of the problem! What are the two types of problems and what can we do about them?

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  6. New course: Unlocking Chinese – The Ultimate Guide for Beginners

    Do you want to make sure your Chinese learning gets off to a good start? Or have you already started, but feel a bit confused and need guidance? Then my new course, Unlocking Chinese: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners, is for you!

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  7. The nine principles of learning (and the mistakes from failing to follow them)

    In 2014, Scott Young spent 100 days learning Chinese, after which he was able to speak freely on a wide range of topics, as well as pass HSK 4. Since then, he’s continued exploring effective learning and has now published a book called Ultralearning. He hasn’t abandoned Chinese, though, and in this article, he discusses nine important principles for effective learning and how they relate to studying Chinese.

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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. The cheapest and most convenient way to improve your spoken Chinese

    Speaking Chinese fluently requires a lot of practice. The best option is to talk with native speakers, preferably mixed with teachers who can help you improve and are better at adjusting their language to your level. But what if you don’t have a teacher and no native speakers are available? This article discusses why speaking to yourself can be a viable way of improving your speaking ability, including how to do it.

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