3 Key Habits I Used to Learn Chinese

After failing three times, on my third try learning Chinese I actually became conversational. Here’s what I did, which is generally applicable to any language:

  1. I used Duolingo for 30 minutes every day for over a year.
  2. I went to Chinese language exchanges twice a month, for a year and a half.
  3. I used Hellotalk to find a great language partner to chat and do video calls with. I also used it to crowd source corrections for my bad Chinese.

That’s it! The key is consistent effort over a long time (2 years), mixing solo practice and real conversation.

Other tips:

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Don’t confuse std::move and std::forward

This was a pretty interesting buggy scenario I found while reading the clang-tidy checks. If you’re writing a function that takes a forwarding reference (what looks like an rvalue reference, but whose type is a template argument), you need to be careful to not call std::move on it. You need to make sure to call std::forward instead. Otherwise, you might accidentally trigger a move on an object passed by a caller! This would be confusing, since their object would be moved from, and they never explicitly called std::move on it.

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Getting bit by unique_ptr

I got bit by unique_ptr when implementing a linked list today. You need to be careful to manually release() the unique_ptr before resetting or you might accidentally free the entire list. This comes up when doing insertions and stuff like that.