From full-time Mandarin immersion at Peking University (北京大学) and Shanghai’s Fudan University (复旦大学), to years of independent study online, Daniel Nalesnik has spent the last 13+ years on a mission to figure out the most fun and effective way to learn Mandarin Chinese.

The result? The creation of Hack Chinese, a powerful spaced repetition tool designed from the ground up just for Mandarin learners, unlike generic SRS apps that struggle to properly handle Chinese characters, tones, etc.

In our conversation, Daniel shares the lessons he’s learned, what he would do differently if he started from scratch, and how new language learners can get started.

Resources Mentioned


Reading & Graded Readers



Listening Resources

Chinese Terms Mentioned

  • Nǐ hǎo (你好): Usually translated as “Hello” (literally means “You good”)
  • Shī Shì Shí Shī Shǐ (施氏食獅史 · 施氏食狮史, “Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den”): a 92-character poem written with only the syllable shi in various tones

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