Posts Tagged ‘学中文’

6 top Learning Chinese websites: There is more out there than just Chinesepod!

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

chinese-the-fastest-growing2Years ago it was hard to find Mandarin books.  Years ago it was hard to find books with actual PINYIN.  Years ago it was hard to even get Chinese on your computer.  Heck it was hard years ago to even distinguish between Japanese and Chinese!

Amazing how things change in a few short years on this INTERNET.

Now, there are numerous places across the web that anyone can study Chinese.  That means everyone CAN study Chinese if you really want to.  Chinese is no longer an elusive language.  That means no more book and no more workbooks if that is the way you learn.  But the sites out there are really really fun and very informative.

I put a list together to introduce the 6 websites that I use or have used or you can use to study Chinese.  Go ahead and take a look.

6.  World Learner Chinese: I believe this website is based in Taiwan.  A long introduction and some of the programs are pretty good.  They often go on tangents.  Their higher level lessons are usually split into two shows.  When I posted comments they were quick to respond.  Recently they took a long break.  Now it’s somewhat difficult to even enter into the website without having to sign in.

5.  iMandarinPod: These people are from Tianjin and their podcasts are pretty good if you have some knowledge of Chinese.  If you are a beginner, don’t bother because it will only be frustrating.  Some of the programs are really long but I prefer the shorter ones.  I do like the fact that many of their programs introduce phrases that are not necessarily useful in everyday spoken Chinese but that all Chinese know and give you insight into the language and culture.

4.  CSL POD: Chinese as a Second Language podcast. They’ve got a nice new site design and upgrade I believe these people are from Beijing and their programs are a standard beginner, intermediate and advanced.  Advanced is just an article that they read, short and sweet.  Their intermediate is pretty good since they only speak Chinese to explain Chinese.  So if you are an intermediate or want to get there you should listen to these.  Their beginner lessons have both English and Japanese so I’ve actually learned a few words in Japanese from their beginner level.

3. I can’t tell if this guy is in the mainland China or from Taiwan.  Plus I can’t make out this guy’s accent in English.  I don’t know where Serge Melynks is from and I don’t think he tells us.  Even though his website numbering system is all messed up he makes a pretty good program.  He challenges you and his topics are always interesting.  MX says that his Chinese is really good even though his English leaves something to be desired.  The comments on his YOUTUBE videos are pretty hilarious but you feel sympathy for him.  But he doesn’t care because his Chinese is much better than yours!!  I enjoy listening to his programs especially the practical ones.

2.  Pop up Chinese: This is a new one that I’ve recently found.  I think I found it on a GOOGLE ad, which is pretty funny.  They are from Beijing I believe and the two foreign hosts are very knowledgeable about Chinese.  One American guy and one Canadian guy plus a Chinese girl named ECHO create a really good show.  Their education is pretty good and sometimes the foreigner tells the Chinese girl something about China or Chinese that SHE DOESN’T KNOW!!!  Hilarious!  They have a variety of levels, a story podcast, and HSK listening podcasts which is pretty cool.  If you want to feel really discouraged, try out the HSK Beginner level listening activity and found out how bad your listening really is!!

1.  Chinesepod: Everyone knows Chinesepod.  If you don’t, and I find people here and there who don’t know about it, than just click and go find out yourself.  They have a lot of money and a lot of people.  If you are lucky to have an account then you are good.  If you don’t want to pay money, then there’s not much for you.  Chinesepod is part of Praxis Language which also creates a plethora of other languages podcasts.  MX enjoys the Frenchpod but I try to focus only on Chinese… since learning one language is enough for me.  Recently they switched to taking most of their programs off the free area and you have to pay if you are elementary or higher.  There are some programs that are free here and there but the bulk is a pay for service.  The community area is quite active and interesting to look into now and then.  Recently their most popular show, THE AMBER SHOW and one of my favorites, was stopped because the host up and moved away.  Nothing really is filling the gap that the show created.  Chinesepod seems to start and stop with many ideas.  They did a cooperation with where they were doing a quick 4-5 minute show about current events in China and giving us the words in Chinese.  It suddenly stopped.  They started videos which promptly ended.  Then they started a RADICAL show which again promptly ended.  Now they have a show about Chinese Poems which most foriegners learning Chinese are not ready for.

0.  Shanghaihua: I had to put this one in because we are unique.  M and MX provides a little hobby for all of you.  Our FREE weekly podcast teaches you simple Shanghainese.  We speak both English and Chinese on the podcast so no matter who you are you can learn Shanghainese!  It’s one of a kind!

Now it’s easy to find Mandarin books.  Now it’s easy to find books with actual PINYIN.  Now it’s easy to get Chinese on your computer.  Now it’s easy to differentiate Japanese and Chinese.  Amazing how things change in a few short years on this INTERNET.

SO get studying and listening and speaking the fastest growing language on planet earth!!!

What is your favorite Chinese learning website?

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Shanghainese上海话:very easy 很简单

Saturday, September 19th, 2009


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Top 11 Christmas Gifts to get the Chinese Learner in your Family

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Mom, print this out.

Everyone today has a person in their family who is learning Chinese.  Maybe it’s your immediate relative and every year at Christmas it is too hard to figure out what to get them.  You don’t speak Chinese and you probably don’t understand why your family member or relative is interested in speaking Chinese.  But you want to get something for that person who is learning Chinese or is interested in China.  So here is the list of 11 Christmas gifts to get the Chinese Learner in your Family:


11.  A Handbook for Analyzing Chinese Characters (Chinese Edition)

This is truly an amazing book.  It’s huge and exhaustive.  The author has put the Chinese characters in 5 categories, 1 being the most important to learn and 5 being the least important to learn in the book.  This is the best, at home, dictionary you can get for learning Chinese.  The examples for each word also contain pinyin!  The best thing about the book is that it’s so darn big it will last for two years of Christmas so next year you don’t have to get them another gift!

10.  Chinese Character Refrigerator Magnets

I found these online at some point.  It’s a great idea.  I love fridge magnets and I love Chinese.  Combine the two and you’ve got a great product.  Use your fridge as a great way to study Chinese!  These are good for you too.  You can arrange the magnets and then ask your family member to tell you what it means!

9.  Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy

Back in January I read that John DeFrancis had passed away.  Thankfully each article about his passing had links to his books.  This looks like a great gift for any Chinese learner.  Especially those who want more.  This is also good for those who don’t know anything about Chinese, like you, and you might just learn a few things!

8.  Sapajou: The Collected Works

For those who love Shanghai and cartoons this book looks great.  The beautiful black and white line work of this cartoonist has entertained readers for years.  A bit pricey from Tales of Old China. A site that has TONS of other books that any Chinese learner or lover would want.

7.  Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy

Another great buy.  Another monstrous book.  This would satisfy any student, serious or not, to learn Chinese philosophy.  This is not some brief overview.  This is exhaustive.  From Buddhism to Zhuangzi it has it all including many many others.  Just like number 11 this one is so big it will last for two years!

6.  The Chinese Calligraphy Bible: Essential Illustrated Guide to Over 300 Beautiful Characters

This looks like a great book that will allow anyone interested in Chinese Calligraphy to become an expert.  Even if you don’t know anything about China or Chinese this is still a beautiful book.  Go ahead, just look at the pictures!  Your relative will do the work!

5.  Learn Chinese with Free Podcasts

That’s right.  Chinese Class 101 is a great way for students to get a great foundation in Chinese in a fun and exciting way.  Take a listen to some sample shows and only pick the shows that interest you.  You’ll be speaking Chinese in no time!!

4.  Large Chinese BEGINNER Calligraphy Set with Free Paper (#SH11XXL)

This goes well with number 6.  You can use the free paper and practice what you learn in the book.  Just make sure you get a good teacher to make sure you are doing everything right.  Calligraphy is hard so don’t laugh at your relative when they try their hardest.  At least the paper is free.

3.  Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (Detective Stories)

I read one of Van Gulik’s books back in college and really really enjoyed them.  If a couple things on the list are too expensive, you can find some of these books used on Amazon for pretty darn cheap.  Take CSI, Sherlock Holmes and 7th century China and combine, mix well and you’ve got a Judge Dee novel.  It’s all in English so anyone can read it.  But don’t start it before your relative starts it, these book are too hard to put down.

2. Remembering Simplified Hanzi: Book 1, How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Chinese Characters

I’ve read so much about this book recently on other Chinese learning blogs and I would love to get into this book.  Is it possible?  Can I really remember so many?  Would I forget them right away?  After a month?  Ask me next Christmas!

1.  When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order

This book of course is to justify why your relative is studying Chinese.  Martin Jacques tells a frightening prediction about how China will surpass America and the west and usher in the new world order.  Maybe you should start taking Chinese lessons from your relative!

Merry Christmas!

8 China Podcasts in English you MUST subscribe to

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

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It’s truly amazing how the internet changes from time to time.  One day there is tons of information out there and many ways to get it, then the next day it’s gone.  But the next day there are 3 other sources to get information from.   Podcasts are the same way.  Easy come easy go.  But there are a few podcasts out there that we wanted to highlight because they are informative and fun to listen to.  If you are interested in what is going on in China and the regular media isn’t enough, than this list is for you.

Definition: China Podcasts in English - mp3s that are downloadable via iTunes, the subject and topic are relating to China or Chinese but the main language of the host(s) is English with occasional Chinese words spoken with close to proper pronunciation.

Our list is in NO particular order:

1.  Sinica Podcast - Relatively new, this is an awesome and informative podcast about all things political and “taboo” in China.  They are hosted by Popup Chinese, a Chinese learning podcast company, and they offer great insights from Forbes, public relation experience, failed music endeavors and journalists.  They are long, about 30 minutes or so, but quick paced and changing the topics keeps your interest.  There are also varied English accents from Britain, America, Asian and South African.  Their pronunciation of Chinese names and words are top notch and are not laughable as some of the media out there.

2.  China Business Podcasts - Kent Kedl from Technomic Asia hasn’t posted in a while but each of his podcasts are as good as his old articles in City Weekend that I used to read in Shanghai.  His focus is doing business in China for Western companies and some of his more business related shows can be slow.  But every once in a while he goes into the topic of cultural differences and leaves you laughing.

3.  ChengDu Living Podcast - Another relative new comer to the China Podcast world but not a new comer to life in China.  Sascha, Eli and Charlie are the three hosts who bring a very unique perspective from the Sichuan province.  They use the relative freedom of podcasting to use the explicit label but over all it seems like they had fun.  We look forward to more unique Sichuan and southwestern China stories from this trio.

4.  China Talking Points Podcast- I have to be honest, while researching this post I found out about this podcast but I was impressed from the get go.  Eric and Michael both came to China in the 1980s and have pretty much stayed since.  Eric has media experience and Michael has the business experience.  Together they will give you great insight into life, business and the great change that is still happening in China.

5.  M and Mx Radio – News about China – I had to include our own!  We started a couple months ago when our Shanghainese podcast had reached over 50 shows.  We strive to be apolitical and bring you stories that are of more human interest.  Anything out there that is about China and strikes our interest we’ll put it up on our show.  Quick and simple, only 5-8 minutes, M and Mx Radio is a great way to get up to date on what’s going on in China.

6.  American Chamber of Commerce/China Podcast - This one is not updated so regularly but recently they had a couple good shows.  The interviews are via phone and not really so clear but ultimately the show is interesting.  They had a show about Danwei and also we used a clip from their interview on Peter Hessler.

7.  China Watch from The Street - For those interested in China business and the intricacies of stocks and business success and failures, this show is for you.  They seem to put a couple interviews together with the constant filler music dividing each interview. Quick and simple and informative for those interested in the insides of business in China.

8.  Urbanatomy China Podcast - Explicit and outrageous, these guys are part of THAT’S SHANGHAI magazine and record in the ChinesePod recording studio if it’s open.  They report about stuff going on in Shanghai and highlight articles that are in their magazine.  If you like the magazine you’ll enjoy this eclectic podcast.  Their pronunciation in English is also varied but their pronunciation of Chinese might not be perfect.

Can you think of anymore?  Which one is your favorite?

Interview with the creator of the SLOW-CHINESE podcast

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

A while back I was able to have a conversation with Xinyu from the Slow-Chinese podcast. (Not to be mistaken with a similar sounding site  He’s really cool and quite an interesting guy. If you don’t know about the SLOW CHINESE podcast we both highly recommend it.  Mx actually really enjoys it.   Not for the slow part, which is probably as annoying to her as VOA slow English is to me, but she likes the podcast for the culture, his own experiences and the fact that it doesn’t sound like some boring language monologue.  She even learns a few things from each one!  (and she’s from China!)

Difficulty level
We both agree that the podcast is on the intermediate level.  There are many new words here and there but he provides a transcript for a low price on the site so you can follow along.  For beginners, it’s always good to try and immerse yourself in the language, get the pronunciation, and his is good, and the inflection and the tones and the general feel for Chinese.  Elementary learners try and pick out a few words that you might know here and there.  Advanced, um… well, you can listen to it sped up to a Mickey Mouse voice and see if you understand it!

But it’s SLOW…
Some out there say that SLOW CHINESE might not be a good idea.   The rationale is that “Slow Chinese isn’t natural.”  Totally understood and totally agree.  But one of the most common complaints about learning Chinese is that those Chinese people just speak so darn fast! Well, now they don’t.  I just chock it up to the plethora of amazing resources that all of us Chinese learners have out there on the world wide web.

Now the interview…

1. Where are you from?
Taizhou, a seaside city in Zhejiang Province.

2. Can you tell us your favorite thing about your hometown.
We have a kind of noodle with ginger juice in the soup and more than half of the bow is filled with sea food, like crabs, schrimps and clams. It’s my favourite food, and is definitely nowhere to find outside my hometown. Another exciting thing is, when you have normal meals (rice with dishes) in my hometown, to have 2/3 of the dishes sea food is quite normal, we have the greatest sea food production in Zhejiang.

3. Are you in school or are you working?
I’ve just finished my bachelor study in Beijing and am going to study industrial design in Germany in October.

3a. Will you continue your SLOW CHINESE PODCAST while in Germany?
Yes, of course.

4. What are you studying? Where do you work?
Germanistics. I don’t work, I’m in Beijing at the moment, but will go home soon, to stay with my family before I leave for Germany.

5. What do your parents do?
They are workers.

6. What caused you to start the website and podcast?
I know Slow German and have heard of Special English from VOA, they’ve helped me quite a lot during my language study, but then I realized there’s no Slow Chinese, I thought it should be quite easy and fun to do in my spare time, so I wanted to do it. I have experience in running websites and am not bad at graphic design, and by recording my songs I’ve learned how to make midi melodies and mix tracks.

6a. Will you do a podcast about your hometown of Taizhou?
It sound like a good idea.

7. Do you have a lot of visitors to your site?
Yes I think so, but not enough. I have never advertised for it, there’re still great numbers of Chinese learners who don’t know Slow Chinese. Most of my visitors are itunes users so they may not need to visit my page but subscribe the podcasts.

8. There are many people studying Chinese but your podcasts are for people who are somewhat advanced in Chinese. Why did you choose to do more advanced level?
First, I have seen or read some Chinese-learning materials, they’re always so funny and affected, always starting from Ni Hao and Xie Xie. So I think there should have been many people who are waiting for materials of some higher levels. Second, I haven’t studied teaching Chinese. What I can do is write how I normally write and write what I think may be interesting.

9. Where do you come up with the topics for your shows?
Since opening the website, I began to observe everything around me. What we do and say in daily life may be interesting for Chinese leaners. Readers also write to me and tell me what they want to know, and these topics are always prior to mine.

10. Do you think of yourself as a kind of ambassador for China to people learning Chinese in other countries?
No. When I’m writing and recording podcasts, I may be like an ambassador, introducing China. But I actually do it like I’m simply telling friends about my life in China and share interesting things with them. I talk about everything, likes and dislikes. An ambassador say only good things about his country.

11. If you could tell North Americans or European or Australians ONE THING about China that they should know, what would it be?
Not every Chinese is totally satisfied with his country but everyone does want it to be better.

12. Tell me one hero that you have.
No, at the moment. But I quite admire those people who stick to their dreams and never give up under the pressure of life.

13. What kind of music do you like?
Rock and classical.

14. What kind of books do you like to read?
All kinds of books except those teaching people to achieve quick success.

15. Where do you want to be in 10 years? What do you want to be doing in 10 years?
I want to be a designer. I want to have my own studio and do design for myself. Of course I will keep adding contribution to exchanges between China and the world.

16. What advice would you give to people studying Chinese?
Come to China, but don’t have to stay in Beijing, learn Chinese calligraphy and make a Chinese girlfriend. If your love of China is based on ancient China, then you may be disappointed because you can only experience it in classrooms and books. But anyway, modern China is very fascinating. A good way to understand China and learn Chinese is traveling through it.

17. What will you miss most in China while living and studying in Germany?
My family and girlfriend, and Chinese food.

Go check out his website today!