844 reputation
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bio website hackingchinese.com
location Sweden
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visits member for 2 years, 10 months
seen Jan 23 at 20:52

I'm a language student and teacher who has quite a lot of opinions on how to learn languages more efficiently. Since I think there is a severe lack of people discussing how to learn (rather than just what to learn), I'm running a website called Hacking Chinese, welcome!


Feb
27
comment How do I know when I am “fluent”?
Fluency is a very vague word and the definition varies from "can string words together quickly" to "near-native ability" depending whom you ask. In other words, it's kind of meaningless without further explanation. I also think fluency is much more about production that perception. My own take is that fluency is when you can talk about almost anything (within reasonable limits) in a coherent and fluent way. It needn't be error-free or with near native pronunciation, it just needs to be relatively effortless and understandable.
Feb
26
comment Do 之 and 的 come from the same word?
Perhaps nitpicking, but the 的 we're talking about here isn't pronounced [tɤ] in modern Chinese since it's a neutral tone and a reduced syllable. [tə] is probably better, which actually strengthens your observation since the sounds are the same instead of just similar. I have no knowledge at all of Old Chinese and can't contribute there, sorry.
Feb
26
comment What qualities does Hong Kong Mandarin have?
Regarding laziness, I think "relaxed" is a better word when talking about pronunciation. :)
Feb
22
comment Is it 說 /说 / shuō or 講 / 讲 / jiǎng for “to speak a language”?
I think this is entirely region-dependent in this context. Mandarin spoken by southerns contains more 講 and Mandarin spoken by northerners contains more 說. I had (almost) only heard 說 in this situation before arriving in Taiwan. Since, I have almost exclusively heard 講.
Feb
22
comment What is the difference between yǐqián (以前) and zhīqián (之前)?
"I think both terms can mean "in the past", but it seems to me that if you are referring to an event that occurred prior to some other event in the past, 之前 sounds better." Someone told me this years ago and it has stuck with me all this time. As far as I can recall, this way of thinking has never lead me astray.
Jan
27
comment Usage of 師傅 in Mandarin
I haven't heard anyone refer to strangers as 師傅 in Taiwan, but I have seen it in numerous textbooks teaching Chinese (produced on the Mainland).
Jan
15
comment How to translate: 人是铁,饭是钢,一顿不吃烦得慌. What is the logic?
Google isn't a waterproof source of language usage, but if you get 8 hits on one phrase and 2 190 000 on another phrase, you can be quite sure the first one wrong (or at least extremely uncommon).
Dec
8
comment What does the sound “app” mean in Chinese?
Perhaps a bad example then (but would you really say L-E-D display, for instance?), but I still think the general tendency is there (of not making words of acronyms in Chinese, I mean).
Dec
8
awarded  Popular Question
Dec
7
comment What does the sound “app” mean in Chinese?
This is part of a larger trend, too, people say L-E-D for LED as well, for instance. My guess is that these are more easily accepted as new words (even though they are original abbreviations) in English because they don't violate morphological rules as much as they do in Chinese. Also, I suspect that single-syllable foreign words pronounced in the middle of a Chinese sentence will be much harder to understand than a three-syllable abbreviation, which is obviously not a Chinese word.
Nov
25
comment Asking a cafe/restaurant if they have Wi-Fi *and* electricity for using a device
Really?I Know lots of places that offer WiFi but not power.
Nov
24
comment Asking a cafe/restaurant if they have Wi-Fi *and* electricity for using a device
This doesn't answer the question of power supply, though.
Nov
17
comment Is pinyin `sh` of 什 the same as SHampoo
Still, if given a list of various common pronunciation problems, I would put x/sh distinction quite far down the list. Most students have way more serious problems than that!
Nov
17
comment Is pinyin `sh` of 什 the same as SHampoo
Although they are in complementary distribution, I would be very careful with merging them. If you don't merge, you give the listener TWO clues to what you're saying (the initial and the final), if you merge theme, you only give the listener ONE. So, even if xi and shi are obviously different both in initial and final, if you pronounce the initial the same and then botch the final a bit, that would be very bad indeed.
Oct
26
comment how to translate cyberbullying into Chinese?
From Wikipedia (zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%BD%91%E4%B8%8A%E6%AC%BA%E5%87%8C): 網上欺凌(英语:Cyberbullying),又稱網上霸凌、網路霸凌、網絡欺凌、網絡暴力等
Oct
19
comment Chinese idiom for “tilt at windmills” or “fighting against windmills”
I agree that this answer seems to lack the absurd part. If I'm not mistaken, in the Chinese idiom, the goal can be reasonable and praiseworthy, it's just way beyond someone's reach. In the English idiom, however, the entire endeavour is misguided, it's not mainly about if you can win against the windmills or not, it's about the fact that you're fighting windmills.
Oct
19
comment Teaching Pinyin and Characters together vs Teaching Pinyin then Characters
They are also very useful for understanding Chinese. I feel that way too much time is spent trying to make sure that students can say and write words they have actually never seen or heard. If understanding is also a goal, fixed patterns make more sense, at least in the beginning.
Oct
18
comment Teaching Pinyin and Characters together vs Teaching Pinyin then Characters
This comparison is quite flawed, I think. The distance between written and spoken English is so much shorter than between written and spoken Chinese.
Oct
16
comment Does a similar system to a pangram exist for handwriting practice
This depends on the situation, but if we're dealing with second language learners, I'm not sure using the classic is a good idea, because it contains many characters that aren't very useful today (昃, 羌, 柰, etc.). If we're going to practice handwriting, I suggest writing something the learner can actually understand and which is useful beyond handwriting itself. So, copying anything in modern Chinese would be much better, in my opinion.
Oct
4
accepted Are there any readability measurement tools for Chinese?