Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles in the ‘Vocabulary’ category

  1. 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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  2. Chinese vocabulary challenge, June 2021

    It’s time for a vocabulary challenge! It starts on June 10th, so enrol, set your goal and learn as many characters and words as you can before the end of the month. This challenge is sponsored by Skritter, so there are also prizes on the line! This article contains more information about the challenge, some important things to keep in mind as well as some advice about learning Chinese characters and words.

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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. My best advice on how to learn Chinese characters

    This is an overview of how to learn Chinese characters, including understanding how they work, how to learn to read and write them, as well as how to remember the characters you have learnt. Tools and resources related to characters are also covered!

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  5. 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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  6. An introduction to extensive reading for Chinese learners

    Too many students of Chinese spend most of their time reading a small number of difficult texts, whereas they would actually be much better off reading a larger number of easier content. Are you focusing on extensive reading enough?

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  7. 7 mistakes I made when writing Chinese characters and what I learnt from them

    Learning Chinese characters is an ongoing challenge that never really goes away. Even after studying Chinese for more than a decade, I make mistakes and forget characters. In this article, I analyse seven mistakes I’ve made recently and share what I learnt from these mistakes.

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  8. Should you learn the names of the strokes in Chinese characters?

    Some teachers insist on teaching the names of the strokes that make up Chinese characters, but is learning them worthwhile? In general, the answer is no, but there are certain cases where learning the names of strokes makes sense!

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  9. How to not teach Chinese characters to beginners: A 12-step approach

    This is a guide for how to not teach Chinese characters, based on more than a decade of observing terrible teaching and worst practices. Which of these have you seen?

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  10. 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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