Do you want to learn Chinese? I found a site with a big community-based in Shanghai. The Website called ChinesePod. The site is very active.
If you are looking at the name ChinesePod, you can see two names
first Chinese and second pod.
How can I learn Chinese on ChinesePod?
chinese stands for the language and pod stands for?
The answer is “Podcast.”
You learn Chinese with podcasts.
You have the choice of 5 different levels of podcasts.
Newbie, Elementary, Intermediate, Upper Intermediate, Advanced
How long does a lesson take?
Every lesson is 10- 20 Minutes long.
With that being said, Chinesepod does over a free 7-day trial of their services, so I decided to sign up to see what else they have to offer.
When you first log in to your Chinesepod account, you will first enter the ‘Me’ section which shows you a list of all the lessons you’ve bookmarked. Chinesepod has more than 1000 lessons available (and growing daily), so this provides you with a way of organizing the current lessons you’re working on. The site will also keep track of the vocabulary that you are interested in reviewing and you can easily add words to your lists from other sections of the site. With your vocabulary lists, you can use them with the built-in Flashcards or the Concentration game. I found the Flashcards to be a little on the simple side and sort of clunky. Concentration is sort of fun, but I’m not sure how useful it is for me.
The lessons are where you will probably spend most of your time. The main hosts are Jenny Zhu, Ken Carroll, and John Padsen. I think most will agree that Jenny Zhu is the face of Chinesepod and she is the co-host for all the different levels. Ken hosts with Jenny on the lower level lessons and John hosts with her on the advanced ones. Like I’ve mentioned above, I’ve only been doing the Elementary level, but the lessons I’ve listened to usually consist of a short dialog, a dialog review, and then a more in-depth explanation. Teaching are quite practical and vary from topics like “Hold the Elevator” to “Bad Cell Reception.” Besides the different lesson levels I was familiar with, Chinesepod also offers other “channels” including video lessons like ‘Vocab Tour’ and ‘What’s The Story’ to ‘Qing Wen’ which is an audio lesson based on ChinesePod member questions. One thing I really like about Chinesepod is the active community. Chinesepod members are able to add their comments to each lesson, and the discussions are all quite interesting. You’ll even see Jenny and the other hosts participating in the discussions.
Included with the lessons is a lot of other supplementary material. In the dialog section, you will see a transcript of the dialog for the lesson. Chinese characters and their English translation are shown, and if you place your mouse over each of the characters, you can see the pinyin as well. You can also play back the audio of each line in the dialog.
The Vocabulary section contains the essential Chinese characters from the lesson. Also included are additional words that are related to the teaching, but were not involved in the dialog. You also get the ability to hear the audio of each word.
The Expansion section includes some extra dialogs for you to practice with and once you have finished with them, you can go on to the exercises where you can practice what you have learned. There are three types of exercises, matching, multiple choice, and listen to & type. My only quibble with the various choice exercise is that the font is a little hard to read on my computer and there doesn’t seem to be a way to adjust it since it is Flash-based.
There’s a lot of useful Chinese learning study aids in the resources section. John Pasden has written up a grammar guide, and while I have not had a chance to read through it all, it looks pretty good. I really like the Chinesepod glossary. It allows you to search by English or Chinese characters and gives you some sample sentences for each word. Audio is provided and what I like the most is that it links you to the ChinesePod lesson that the conviction was used in. Very neat! The pronunciation guide also looks quite comprehensive and seems like it would be handy to beginners.
Chinesepod offers several different subscription plans. If you are at the beginning level of your Chinese learning, you can get access to the Newbie level lessons only for free. The basic idea starts at $5 a month and gives you access to all the audio and video lessons plus access to the PDF lesson transcripts. A premium subscription is $17 a month and primarily provides access to all the Chinesepod content except for some personalized coaching. There are some higher tiered subscriptions as well if you are really serious with your learning.
Is It Worth it?
Although I was quite familiar with the lessons as a long time ChinesePod listener, I am quite impressed with the added extras, and I think they will enhance my learning of the material quite a bit. There’s really a ton of Chinese content on the site, and it will take you thousands of hours just to go through the old stuff. That’s not even taking into account the new lessons and content that come out daily. Although ChinesePod will probably not be your one-stop shop for all your Chinese studies, I think it can be a great supplement to it. I suggest you check out their 7 days free trial of their services to see if it will work for you. You don’t have to enter a credit card or anything, so it really is risk-free to try. Give ChinesePod a shot, and see if you like it.