Learning Chinese Through a Podcast

I’ve always wanted to learn to speak and understand Chinese whether it be Fukien (because it’s the Chinese dialect in use in the Philippines) or Mandarin (because it’s like the lingua franca of the Chinese world). One reason for my motivation to learn the language is so that I could impress my wife’s Chinese parents. Another reason is that I’m just really interested with the Chinese culture.

So, ever since I met Raquel, I’ve been trying to pick up either Fukien or Mandarin. I found out though that there weren’t a lot of teaching books about Fukien. Or at least, there weren’t a lot as compared to learning Mandarin books. I figured, since a lot more Chinese will be fluent in Mandarin than Fukien, I might as well just study Mandarin.

Studying from books then didn’t really help me get the hang of the language. It was only when I had to work in Taiwan for six months that I started really getting it. I’ve learned a few useful phrases and I’m a little acquainted with the sentence construction but I just keep forgetting the words and the intonation of the words.

After leaving Taiwan, I sort of put my Mandarin studies on hold. That was, until I encountered ChinesePod.com. It’s a free daily podcast direct from Shanghai, China hosted by Ken Carrol and Jenny Zhu. Each podcast is about just over 11 minutes long.

They start with repeating a string of Chinese sentences thrice without translating the words. It is then followed by a detailed explanation of the words used in the sentence as well as variant uses of the words. It ends with them repeating the same string of sentences played at the start. Only, by then, you’ll be able to follow their meaning. It’s a great way to learn Chinese! Another reason why I like their way of teaching is because they teach Chinese as it is actually spoken in China.

So, if you totally wanted to learn how to speak Chinese and don’t know where to start, I think subscribing to Ken and Jenny’s education podcast is the way to go. And if you do enjoy their podcast, be sure to vote for their podcast at Podcast Alley so that it will get the exposure it certainly deserves. That and so that Ken and Jenny would continue to produce this wonderful podcast.

I would also like to point out that if you are a fan of Joss Whedon’s Firefly series / Serenity movie and you want to learn Chinese, I think you’d love this podcast. On a related note, if you wanted to know the Chinese used in the Firefly shows, you can either subscribe to The Signal podcast which has a non-serious “How to Speak Chinese” feature in it or go to the Firefly-Serenity Chinese Pinyinary website.

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Published in: on October 27, 2005 at 12:26 pm  Comments (15)