I first heard about Olle and Hacking Chinese a few months ago. Reading it made me a bit sad: Olle was writing about the same things that I want to write about (Learning how to learn Chinese), but he did it better: it’s more systematic and complete. I strongly encourage you check it out. Hacking Chinese has a similar name to another good blog, Chinese Hacks. A bit confusing. Maybe Olle and Dave should get together and create superchinesehacking.com.
- Learning Techniques
When did you start writing a blog? Why did you start it?
I’ve been running a personal blog for almost ten years, which included articles about learning Chinese starting from around 2007. I decided to launch a site completely dedicated to learning Chinese in 2010, but I spent almost one year on preparations before launching Hacking Chinese officially in 2011. I started Hacking Chinese because I think it’s more or less unique (or at least I haven’t come across any other site which is completely dedicated to how to learn Chinese rather than what to learn).
What are the most important learning techniques you discuss on your blog?
This question is difficult because it requires a summary of everything I’ve done. If I have to choose, I would say than the most important articles on this website are the following (for more, check the essential articles category):
Learning Chinese words really fast (and related articles)
Goals and motivation (and related articles)
Mandarin, but I like regionally flavoured Mandarin.
Traditional or Simplified:
Pinyin or Characters:
Speaking/Listening or Writing/Reading:
I love all four, but I love speaking most.
When did you start learning Chinese? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
I started learning Chinese in 2007. My strengths include a sincere interest in the language and a thirst for knowledge, combined with an analytical and open mind. My weaknesses include not having studied long enough (reading too slowly, etc.) and having quite lousy handwriting.
Why do you think most people learning Chinese struggle with the language?
Because they don’t think about what they are doing or if they do, they don’t have the right insights or knowledge. This is what I try to provide. Learning Chinese is hard and requires lots of time, but that doesn’t mean there are no shortcuts. There are so many things, both big and small, we can do to make learning easier. Take my series on building a powerful toolkit as an example. With it, learning Characters and words is quite easy; without it, it might feel hopeless.
What’s the one post on your blog that everyone learning Chinese should read? Why?
This would depend very much on the reader, but if we take into consideration that most people are beginners, I have to choose between my introduction to spaced repetition software and my article on how to learn Chinese words really fast. Since spaced repetition software is slowly gaining ground anyway, I choose Learning Chinese words really fast. I do this because I think it’s extremely important that people realise that Chines is very logical if you just spend some time trying to understand the logic. Learning can be fun and quite easy with the correct approach.