Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles tagged with ‘Characters’ Page 2

  1. Horizontal vocabulary learning in Chinese

    The normal thing to do when we learning characters or words is to focus on deepening our knowledge, researching components and understanding more about what we’re trying to learn. Some problems can’t be alleviated this way, however, instead they call for horizontal vocabulary learning, i.e. to putting the character or word into context and to compare it with similar characters or words. Only then can we grasp the bigger picture.

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  2. Don’t use mnemonics for everything

    Mnemonics are really cool, but you shouldn’t overuse them. Chinese characters are very complex and the amount of information you might want to remember about them is large. Creating mnemonics for everything is very time consuming and difficult. Instead of doing this, create mnemonics only for things you actually find hard to remember.

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  3. How to create mnemonics for general or abstract character components

    Anyone who has tried mnemonics for learning Chinese characters knows that some components are easier to link together than others. This article discusses in detail how to deal with abstract or general character components and how to handle components with the same or overlapping meaning, an essential skill if you’re serious about character learning.

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  4. Sensible character learning: Progress, reminders and reflections

    The sensible character challenge has now been running for two weeks and it’s time to see how things have been going so far. This post is a progress report that contains some reflections on the challenge itself, as well as some practical advice on how to solve common problems. It also invites participants to share their experience and progress so far.

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  5. Towards a more sensible way of learning to write Chinese

    This character learning challenge strives to teach students to learn Chinese characters in a way that makes sense in the long term. While the challenge is over, the principles are still applicable!

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  6. You can’t learn Chinese characters by rote

    My conclusion after years of learning characters is that rote learning is useless. Spaced repetition software is good, but it’s still not enough. If adult foreigners are going to learn to write Chinese by hand, we really need another method. We need mnemonics, we need active processing, we need to quit rote learning and stop using SRS mechanically.

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  7. Learning simplified and traditional Chinese

    Learning traditional characters if you know simplified or vice versa is a lot easier than beginners tend to think. Generally, you don’t need to worry, because at an advanced level, learning both is quite easy. This article is about simplified/traditional and how to learn both.

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  8. Learning Chinese words really fast

    After spending three articles building up our toolkit to learn Chinese more efficiently, the time is now ripe to actually use all these to something genuinely useful. It’s time to make those long-term investments pay off. This article explains how to learn new words really fast.

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  9. Creating a powerful toolkit: Characters and words

    This is the second article in my series on creating a toolkit to enable efficient learning of words and this time the topic is individual characters. This article explains why individual characters are important to learn and there are links to other articles describing how to learn characters efficiently.

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