Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles tagged with ‘Efficiency’

  1. Time quality: Studying the right thing at the right time

    Many students think that learning a language is limited to going to class, working your way through difficult texts or having conversations with native speakers. These all contribute to your learning, but learning is not limited to things you can schedule in your calendar. If you think of it like that, you’ll miss so many learning opportunities!

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  2. Why not going to China now could actually be good for your Chinese

    Do you have to go abroad to learn Chinese? Will you learn Chinese simply by living abroad? And if you go, does it matter when you go if you can only stay for a short time? This article argues that it does matter when you go, and that you’re better off not going immediately as a pure beginner.

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  3. Analysis paralysis: When choosing method becomes a problem

    If you spend more time tweaking your method than you gain from making it more efficient, you might suffer from analysis paralysis. If you spend most of the time thinking about how to learn Chinese, you spend less time actually learning the language, meaning you’d be better of not caring about the method at all! Or would you?

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  4. How to reach a decent level of Chinese in 100 days

    Scott Young has written a lot about how to learn more efficiently and this year he has turned his focus entirely on languages. He spent three months in China and managed to reach a very decent level of Chinese in that time, including passing HSK4. In this article, he shares his experience and the strategies he used. The article also contains two video interviews, one with John Pasden (Sinosplice) and one with me.

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  5. How to get good grades when studying Chinese

    Ideally, we would study Chinese just because we want to and in any manner we see fit, but this isn’t how it works for most students. Instead, we need to care about tests and grades, an extra layer added on top of our own personal goals and ambitions. This article is about studying Chinese when those tests and grades really matter, a kind of basic survival guide for both exams and courses.

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  6. Learning the right chengyu the right way

    Many people regard chengyu as the golden key to the Chinese language and believe that learning chengyu will impress native speakers and take their Chinese to the next level. However, learning chengyu in the wrong way is likely to have the opposite effect (“oh, the foreigner is trying to use chengyu, how cute!”). Focus should be on chengyu that are truly useful and frequently used, the rest should be left for those who really like chengyu or for truly advanced students.

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  7. Learning Chinese efficiently vs. learning quickly

    In this article I argue that there is a significant difference between efficiency and speed when it comes to learning a language. Everybody should be interested in learning Chinese efficiently, but using the word speed comes with a number of problems.

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  8. How to find more time to practise Chinese listening

    Listening is probably the most important skill when learning Chinese, and the more you practise, the better. In order to listen as much as you should, you need to stop thinking about listening as a study activity and start thinking about it as a part of life!

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  9. Dealing with tricky vocabulary: Killing leeches

    Leeches are words or characters that you keep forgetting and therefore consume much more time than other words or characters. Rather than trying to hammer these words into your brain, a specific strategy is needed to kill the leeches. This article deals with just that, how to handle difficult vocabulary you keep on forgetting.

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