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Mandarin Learning Tips Blog

What is the HSK (And Should You Take it)?

Patrick Kim | September 07, 2016

The HSK 汉语水平考试 (Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì), or Chinese Proficiency Test, is the standardized exam roughly equivalent to a TOEFL for Mandarin. It covers academic, professional, and daily life Chinese skills, making it appropriate for anyone who wants to obtain official credentials for their Chinese ability or just track their learning. While the majority of test takers are students, the HSK is a great way for professionals to impress prospective employers with commitment to learning Chinese, and an opportunity to continue improving your Chinese in a measured process.

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3 Mnemonic Steps to Learning 3,000 Characters Quickly

Patrick Kim | September 02, 2016

If you know Chinese 3,000 characters, you have enough vocabulary to read a newspaper or understand conversations in the workplace. The problem most people have is that 3,000 feels too far away or many of the characters look alike. Indeed, 3,000 is a lot, but Chinese characters are composed of smaller elements that make them easier to recognize and distinguish. To learn Chinese efficiently, you can take advantage of these clues to a character’s meaning or phonetic pronunciation as mnemonic devices. Deciphering the meaning of character elements gets progressively faster as you build new knowledge on top of previous knowledge of characters that share the same character elements. Paired with some creative imagery of your own, these mnemonic devices allow you to skip traditional methods of rote memorization almost completely, and just focus on retaining your mnemonics through another a second mnemonic trick called special repetition. What is indispensable about doing things the old fashioned way, however, is real interpersonal practice, which builds the most important type of memory, episodic memory.

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Is Chinese the World's Hardest Language?

Patrick Kim | August 26, 2016

You've probably heard somewhere before that Chinese is the “hardest” language in the world. There is a seemingly endless amount of information on the web describing the “formidable” and “daunting” task of getting anywhere with Chinese, which discourages many aspiring learners. However, by what standards should we consider Chinese the hardest language? In practice, learning Mandarin isn't as hard as it seems. In fact, most of these assumptions are based on the way a scholar would approach learning the language, rather than ways that suit most people's real life learning objectives. 

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Hilarious Translations Of Pokemon Names in Chinese

Sara Lynn Hua | August 17, 2016

All images below are from Bulbapedia and belong to Nintendo, The Pokemon Company, and Ken Sugimori.

 

Pokémon Go is sweeping across the world. Even though the game has yet to come to mainland China (despite how much money it could make there), the game is now available in Chinese-speaking regions such as Hong Kong and Taiwan.

 

We decided to have some fun looking at Pokémon names in Mandarin Chinese. (Note: Depending on the region and dialect, the Pokémon names vary. For example, "Pokémon" is sometimes translated to "神奇宝贝(shén qí bǎo bèi) and sometimes translated to "宠物小精灵 (chǒng wù xiǎo jīnglíng)".) Translations for foreign proper nouns to Chinese can go one of two routes: be phonetically-translated or contextually-translated. A lot of brand names go either route or even use a dual-adaptation.

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How to take TutorMing classes with your buddies using “Invite-A-Friend”

TutorMing | August 12, 2016

Say you are planning a trip to China with your friends, and want your friends to learn some Chinese too so that they can pull some weight ordering food or hailing taxis. Or perhaps you just want to share the Chinese learning experience with them. TutorMing’s new Invite-A-Friend feature allows you to invite up to two friends to enter your TutorMing digital classroom.

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