Learning Chinese Via Podcast

As I mentioned earlier, I've started listening to Chinese language learning podcasts to help me improve my language skills. I took a look at a few and decided that two really fit my weird needs pretty well (I'm pretty fluent speaking and listening, but my vocabulary isn't particularly modern or adult, having learned most of my Chinese at home.)

Chinese Lessons with Serge Melnyk
Serge MelnykIt's hard to believe that a guy named Serge Melnyk speaks Chinese well enough to teach Chinese, but our man Serge does. In fact, his Chinese is better than his English, which he speaks with a weird accent.

The thing I like best about Serge is that he covers real topics with mostly real language. One of the first lessons I evaluated was one on lining up in China (anyone who has visited China knows that queuing is a lost art in China) and included vocabulary on how to yell at the line cutters ("Are you blind? Can't you see there's a line here?"). Another recent lesson was on how to break up in Chinese ("...you're a great girl and I'm sure there's a better match for you somewhere.") I certainly didn't learn that at home or in Saturday morning Chinese classes growing up.

The podcasts are free; you can buy the transcripts and worksheets for added practice. My only real complaint is that Serge doesn't provide any pauses in the podcast for the listener to repeat the vocabulary or sentences.

Another good podcast for me is iMandarinPod. This podcast is put together by The Center of Chinese Educational Development in Tianjian in partnership with the College of Chinese Culture & Literature on Nankai University.

I picture all the instructors are students at Nankai University; they all sound young and are very sincere in their efforts. The lessons are a bit more traditional Communist Chinese text book (e.g. "The Great Wall" or "I want to learn to sing Beijing Opera") than Serge's lessons. Unlike Serge who explains the lessons in English, the iMandarinPod lessons are entirely in Chinese. They force me to really listen a lot more closely than Serge does, which is a good thing. They also are clearly native speakers and have the right cadence and sound; even though Serge's Chinese sounds excellent, you can still tell he's not a native speaker.

The biggest issue with iMandarinPod is that most of the site is in Chinese; since I don't read or write Chinese very well, it's tough for me to get around. However, since it doesn't really matter which lessons I download, this hasn't been horrible for me. These podcasts are free as well, although there's a link to donate. They also have downloadable learning guides once you register.

Serge claims to be able to take learners from nothing to high fluency. I haven't listened to the earliest podcasts to see how well he handles people new to Chinese; the iMandarinPod stuff is definitely for advanced intermediates+.

Good luck!

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iMandarinPod Reply

Thank you for your comments! and I do hope you did find out that iMandarinPod.com is helpful for you.

If you prefer any topic, please come join our forum (http://imandarinpod.com/forum/) and make your suggestion. We are listening to you.

Please recommend our services to your friends, classmates and colleagues.

In addition, if you learn Chinese seriously, please consider our private lesson as well. it's efficient, convenient and affordable.

Thank you and enjoy it!

Dasy Reply

I've been learning Chinese like you and have put together a site to complement the vocabulary that I've been learning in class and from podcasts. You're welcome to take a look: http://www.wordbuddy.com

Emmanuel  Godivier Reply

Very good resource, thank you for sharing.


James Reply

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