Years 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. Melynks.com: 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 Shanghaist.com 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!!!