One of the most daunting aspects of learning Chinese is the sheer number of characters required for basic literacy. It’s estimated that comfortably reading a newspaper requires around 3000 characters, whilst an educated native speaker will typically know in excess of 7000.
Memorising such a high number of characters is not an easy task but modern technology has made it easier than it once was. In the past, Mandarin learners had to rely on physical flashcards to review characters and commit them to memory but today a number of space repetition apps come with sophisticated algorithms which make the learning process more efficient.
Whilst these programmes have facilitated the learning process they are still far from ideal. SRS apps are typically not very user friendly and most of them are not tailored to learning Mandarin characters in particular.
On today’s podcast I talk with Daniel Nalesnik, a Chinese learner who got so tired of badly designed apps that he decided to to create a new system himself. Hack Chinese is a space repetition learning system designed specifically for Mandarin Chinese. According to Daniel, using the website for just 10-20 minutes per day to review vocabulary can help you grow and maintain a bank of thousands of characters.
I have been using Hack Chinese myself for several weeks, and I’m impressed with how user friendly and efficient it is. So I wanted to get Daniel on the podcast to discuss his insights into learning Chinese and motivations for designing his system.