Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Hacking Chinese 2014/2015: What was and what will be


Image credit: Joseph Hart

Now that 2015 has firmly established itself, it’s time both to look back at the year that was and to look forward to the rest of 2015. In this post, I will do like I have previous years: talk a bit about Hacking Chinese in the previous year, and then continue the discussion of what the future might hold.

Naturally, I also want to hear what you think, both about the past and the future.

  • What did you think of Hacking Chinese in 2014?
  • What do you expect from Hacking Chinese in 2015?

Perhaps you will have more comments after reading what I have to say, but all feedback is welcome! Let’s look at Hacking Chinese in 2014.

Hacking Chinese in 2014

In last year’s summary, I wrote that I would try to spend more time on Hacking Chinese to see how that would work out. I have spent more time on Hacking Chinese, but not as much as I thought. To allow for a more steady income to support myself, I have written much more for other people than I thought I would, but more about that later, let’s look at what has happened on Hacking Chinese during 2014:

If you think I’ve done a good job, this is as good an opportunity as any to donate an amount of your choice! All contributions are welcome, sometimes the action itself means much more than the money involved.

My personal top ten articles from 2014

The articles I like most usually aren’t the articles that get the most attention, so I will take this opportunity to select my personal favourites from last year. Without further ado, here they are (newest first):

I think the reason there is a difference between what I like and what readers like is partly due to my imperfect ability to convey the importance of what I’m writing about, but also that some things are more easily accessible and also easier to share.

What I wrote elsewhere

One of the biggest changes for me personally is that I have vastly increased the amount of articles and content I write for others (mainly Skritter and About.com). The reason is obvious: I offer the articles on Hacking Chinese for free, but I get paid for the articles I write for others.

I wrote 77 articles that weren’t published on Hacking Chinese last year (you can see all of them on my bibliography page). That’s a lot. It’s actually more than the 68 articles I published here and many of those actually aren’t real articles, but rather about a challenge start or a Hacking Chinese meet-up.

I would prefer to write twice as much or at least spend twice as much time on Hacking Chinese instead, but as long as I haven’t found a viable way of supporting myself based on this site, that’s not going to happen. Ads and donations contribute, but they are very far from enough, I’m afraid.

Hacking Chinese in 2015

What will happen in 2015 then? I hope I will be able to keep developing Hacking Chinese. I should also be able to get my book out and if that works well, others will follow. My main problem now is new taxation and accounting regulations in the EU making the selling of e-books a nightmare, but I hope I’ll be able to solve that. The book is actually ready and has been for some time.

In other areas, I won’t make any promises. I will keep developing the site and I won’t run out of things to write about for a while (probably never), so Hacking Chinese will be here whenever you need it. By way of rounding off this article, I’d like to ask you what you what you want from Hacking Chinese in 2015? What do you think I should do to focus more on my own stuff and less on that of others?

Thank you!

I would also like to thank all the people who have read my articles, contributed guest articles, participated in challenges, engaged in discussions, left comments and generally made writing all these articles worthwhile. Without an enthusiastic readership, it wouldn’t be worth running this site. Thanks!

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  1. Julien says:

    Thanks Olle for the ongoing awesomeness of Hacking Chinese!

    There’s one area that I’d be really curious to read about: how do people learn Chinese in China (e.g. minorities or people speaking dialects learning Mandarin), how Chinese kids learn characters, and how people learn Chinese in Korea and Japan. This would include their difficulties, the methods used, the software proposed (games, etc). It might sound theoretical, but I think it would be a great way of contrasting and understanding what the specific challenges of learning or progressing as a Western adult can be.

    On a completely different front, I’d be really curious to read and learn more about language learning, memorisation, situation, and the body – do we know anything as to whether it’s better to learn sitting or standing, walking or still, closing eyes or looking around? Does the way we hold our bodies influence our capacity to learn better and memorise better, or is it completely idiosyncratic and/or irrelevant and/or completely unknown??

    Don’t know if that falls within the scope of Hacking Chinese – if it doesn’t, let’s look for links at least. Looking forward to reading more from you :-). And if EU laws for e-book publishing are too insane, let’s have a chat and see if we could publish it through Australia :-).


  2. lirbja says:

    Hello! Hacking Chinese is awesome and I am grateful for all that you do to help people hack Chinese, including asking your readers what they would like to see in 2015.

    It’s possible you have this covered in your previous content from 2014 or prior, but I noticed in this post (https://www.hackingchinese.com/goals-and-motivation-part-1-introduction/) that you had some examples of “Micro-goals” listed. This made me think, what if you put together a sample curriculum, or multiple sample curricula, for beginners trying to learn Chinese?

    For instance, Week 1 – Learn tones, Week 2 – Learn common greetings, Week 3 – Learn how to talk about feelings, Week 4 – Learn basics of communicating during emergencies like sickness, etc.?

    I could envision a few different ‘itineraries’ like this, that might help people who are beginners like me be able to navigate the fascinating but dauntingly vast world of Chinese language.

    This was just an idea. Hopefully it helps you formulate a plan for how you see Hacking Chinese evolve in 2015!

  3. jblinguaphile says:

    I think this site is great. I really appreciate your articles, and the way you run the site. I just made a small donation as a “thank you”. 🙂

    I especially appreciate the work you put into creating Hacking Chinese Resources and into running the challenges. I like that I can see the other people undertaking this daunting task and feel like part of a community.

  4. Jan P. says:

    Dear Olle,

    I know that what I’m about to write doesn’t belong to the category “constructive criticism”, but here it goes anyway: HackingChinese is loaded with useful, top-quality information and YOU, my friends, rock.

    Thank you for all the effort you have put in. I’m looking forward to reading your articles in 2015! :_)


  5. Jeremy says:


    Thanks for the great new content this year, and for such an awesome site.

    Now that I’m all settled into my new residence I am ready to start tackling Challenges again and I look forward to the next one.

    I would love to learn some more about how to read that “Chinese cursive”. The PAVC 3 book started exposing me to it, and I would love to better understand it.

    For the challenges, I really liked the past ones and will participate in recurrences of those themes, but maybe we could add some others?

    One I thought of was “Talk with a native”, would be great for those of us not living in a Chinese speaking country, and for shy people who do live in a Chinese speaking country.

    Another I think would be cool is if you picked some sort of 20-30 episode light comedy. Challenge everyone to watch it over 45-60 days, and every so many episodes you write up small blog post. Containing things like a quick summary of current plot. This slang was new to me, this part was interesting to me, what was interesting to you, etc. In this way your kind of leading a group discussion, and giving those who fall behind periodic milestones to help them catch up.

    Again, thanks for all the awesomeness you provided last year!


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