Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles tagged with ‘Mnemonics’

  1. Are mnemonics too slow for Chinese learners?

    Mnemonics are very effective for certain types of learning, but how effective are they for learning Chinese? This article is the first of two that looks at the effectiveness of mnemonics, focusing on the question of speed. Are mnemonics too slow to be really useful in the context of using a foreign language?

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  2. Skritter review: Boosting your Chinese character learning (2020 edition)

    Skritter is a modern tool for learning ancient characters. It combines research-based methods, such as active recall and spaced repetition, with great Chinese-specific tools and content. Skritter is the best character-learning app available, and in this review, we look at why and how you can use Skritter to get the most out of your character learning!

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  3. 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.

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  4. Chinese characters that share the same components but are still different

    Some Chinese characters consist of the same components in different places, creating completely different characters. This article discusses this phenomenon and its implications for language learners.

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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. Remembering is a skill you can learn

    Contrary to what many people believe, a good memory can be trained. Memory champions are just ordinary people who have practised a lot. There are many clever techniques and tricks you can use to remember things (such as Chinese characters or words) very efficiently. This article is meant to be an introduction for those of you who are new to the fascinating world of memory training.

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  9. 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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  10. Extending mnemonics: Tones and pronunciation

    Using mnemonics to memorise concrete objects is fairly easy, but how can we use mnemonics to remember abstract things such as tones and pronunciation? In this article, I expand my previous discussions of mnemonics and show how they can be quite powerful if you’re prepared to invest some extra time.

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