Posts Tagged ‘study Chinese’

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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Who Celebrates Their Birthday in China?

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

bigmacFreddy and Jimmy from Kentucky are going to China for 3 weeks.

I scour the web for stories about people studying Chinese and this one recently popped up.  They have the honor of going to China to study Chinese, visit the Great Wall and head down to Yunan to study Chinese 3 hours a day, mostly in Chinese.  Sounds like a great opportunity for them.  Here are a few quotes from the article.

“I’m kind of a dork,” Jimmy, 19, said. “I’m looking forward to actually taking the language classes and learning a lot – and the food will be good too.”

So, how does studying Chinese and eating Chinese food make you a dork??  You are going to a country of 1.3 billion DORKS!

One of the guys actually took his Chinese class in high school “as a joke.”  But because of the teacher and then actually being able to communicate, he actually liked it and began to excel!

Freddy will celebrate his 18th birthday in China. “I don’t know how many people can say they had their birthday over in China,” he said.

Well, Freddy, a lot of people can say that they had their birthday in China.  About 1.3 billion people can say that.  Plus the thousands of foreigners who live there too.  Plus me.  I would usually enjoy a big mac on my birthday!

“The food – it’s just going to be totally different,” Freddy said. “As long as there’s a KFC around the corner somewhere, I’ll be OK.”

Yes, Freddy.  There will be many KFCs all around.  But just because it’s an American fast food joint doesn’t mean that they can speak English!

The journalist talked to the parents about the trip.  With so much going on in the West and recently an earthquake in Yunan Province…

“I’ve had people say, ‘How can you let him go?’” said Freddy’s mom, Barbara. “How can I not let him go? He is going off to college, and he is 18 years old. It’s the chance of a lifetime.”

This is a huge difference between China and America and how we raise our children.  I’ve seen many Chinese high school students who are about to travel abroad and they could care less, they don’t know really where they are going and when asked if they are excited, they shrug it off.  But with these two boys, it sounds like and most likely it is, their desire to go to China.  It’s what they want and they have had long discussions trying to convince their mom and dad to allow them to go.  But when the mother said, “How can I NOT let them go” to me says very clearly that it is beyond the mother’s ability to stop the child from going.  It would be a profound disappointment if it didn’t work.  But for the Chinese child (and I do mean child) the parents are in control the whole time and they make or break the trip.  If it doesn’t work, well they (mom and dad) will try again sometime.

Then the father speaks:

“The way the world is shaping up, if they come back with any type of a grasp on the Chinese culture and language, I think it could be a big benefit to them in whatever career they choose,” said Jimmy’s dad, Jim.  “The chance to travel abroad like that is going to have an influence on him for probably the rest of his life.”

Jim, he will come back with a grasp of the language.  Jim, it will be a big benefit to his future career.  Jim, it will influence him for his life.  China does that to people.  Especially young people.  Be ready for him to want to go back!

Article found here.

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?