Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Speaking’ category

  1. The importance of tones is inversely proportional to the predictability of what you say

    Tones in Mandarin carry roughly as much information as vowels do, but still some people insist that tones are not very important, or even that native speakers don’t really use tones. Why is that and what can we learn from digging deeper into this misconception?

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  2. Lost in transcription: Saylaw, Ice Island and Aristotle

    Names of people and places can be quite different in different languages, sometimes so different that it causes headaches for second language learners. Do you know the world’s best footballer, Saylaw? What about Yàlǐshìduōdé? Or are you lost in transcription too?

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  3. Chinese language logging, part 1: Why and how to track your progress

    How much time are you investing into learning Chinese? Or is it maybe better to talk about it using a unit other than time, such as how many books you’ve read? Are you reading more than you’re writing? Or is listening, speaking, reading and writing maybe the wrong labels to use?

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  4. Hacking Chinese Pronunciation: Speaking with Confidence is now open!

    My pronunciation course is open for enrollment again! It was first launched in January, and after surveying students and making a few updates, I’m excited to open the doors again. The course is open for registration through Friday, May 14th.

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  5. What’s the difference between Chinese pronunciation and Pinyin? Does it matter?

    It’s not uncommon for both students and teachers to treat Chinese pronunciation and Pinyin as the same thing, but they are not, and thinking that they are can lead to certain problems.

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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. Chinese speaking challenge, April 2021

    Chinese speaking ability

    It’s time for a speaking challenge! It starts on April 10th, so enrol, set your goal and improve your speaking ability 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 speaking ability in Chinese.

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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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