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 SlowChinese.com) 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!)
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!