Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles tagged with ‘Chinese characters’

  1. 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.

    Read →

  2. Chinese vocabulary challenge, October 2020

    It’s time for a vocabulary challenge! It starts on October 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.

    Read →

  3. 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!

    Read →

  4. 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?

    Read →

  5. All the resources you need to learn and teach Chinese stroke order

    Stroke order for Chinese characters is something most beginners struggle with to begin with, but it’s also a problem that quickly fades away over time. This article collects all the resources you need to understand stroke order, look it up when you need to, and provides you with the practice you need.

    Read →

  6. 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.

    Read →

  7. Dealing with Chinese characters you keep mixing up

    The more Chinese characters you learn, the harder it becomes to keep similar characters distinct. If you’re not careful, a pair or group of characters can generate a lot of extra work and frustration. The solution is to trace your errors and figure out why you get the characters wrong and, then deal with them decisively!

    Read →

  8. 5 levels of understanding Chinese characters: Superficial forms to deep structure

    How much do you need to care about the actual composition and meaning of a Chinese character when learning it? In general, better understanding means it’s easier to learn, but is there a limit to how closely you should stick to actual etymology? This article explores the spectrum from using superficial images to real etymology from the perspective of a language learner.

    Read →

  9. How to look up Chinese characters you don’t know

    Looking up an unknown character in Chinese is much trickier than looking up unknown words in most other languages. This article discusses various ways of looking up Chinese characters, including paper dictionaries, handwriting input, OCR and more.

    Read →

  10. Chinese handwriting challenge, November 2018

    It’s time for a handwriting challenge! It starts on November 12th, so enrol, set your goal and improve your handwriting 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 handwriting in Chinese.

    Read →