Chinese podcast question

Hi everyone!

I’m learning Chinese and have been using LingQ for a couple of months. I’ve been enjoying working my way through a lot of the guided courses for beginners and occasionally checking out some intermediate material (and beating a hasty retreat, haha). I’m sincerely grateful to everyone who has uploaded and shared material - it’s made it very easy to get started.

I’d like to branch out into some of the podcasts that are often mentioned on the forums, such as CPOD and Popup Chinese. I’ve looked at their content and their episodes seem really useful, but they seem to be delivered in a mix of English and Chinese (at least at beginner and elementary levels). The example ones I looked at alternated between the languages a lot, so I think it would not be easy to ‘crop out’ the English parts.

My question is: have other people found this to be an issue? Or do you just import episodes regardless and find that they still give you a lot of benefit? The material seems great but I just feel a bit nervous about listening to content that is not 100% in Chinese, although perhaps this is unfounded.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated :slight_smile:

CPod and other mostly english podcasts are of VERY limited use in my mind… Unless you really do want to cut out all the english in them through Audacity or something (In CPod it’s like 85% bro, a 10 minute podcast has the same, 8-line convo played twice, and then the rest is english explanations, fun banter (in english) and a vocab section that is way too long and also all in english)

I used a few CPod lessons in my first week or two, and I got out of there.

I dove into Chinese LingQ quite quickly (A month or a month and a half in), and I’ve found that option to be much better. However, it is REAL tough to understand anything when starting out.

I have to go through the whole 10 minutes of the lesson in LingQ, look up all the words (easily 150-200 new words), and after that, when I somewhat know what the whole conversation is about and the different beats in it, I listen to it while walking to work and such.

It’s a big step, and I guess some people might feel it’s too daunting.
But it has rocketed me into tons of new vocab.

Also, it’s VERY useful to read through the same lesson again after listening to it a few times. No new lingQs to be found, but you won’t remember most of the words you marked anyways.

Finding intermediate content is actually quite hard, which is why you really kinda have to jump from the super-basic stuff straight into native content…

HOWEVER: The LingQ Mini-stories are the only really good intermediate content I’ve found, and you’re losing out if you’re not studying them in your first 6 months.

If you were put off at lesson 26 (In chinese) by the low quality recording, lessons 35+ are again recorded quite a bit better, all the way up to 60. These guys will give you so much vocab that it’s a waste not to use them if native content is still too much of a struggle.

Once you finish them however, you don’t really have an option other than full native content, because of the whole lack of intermediate stuff thing. :smiley:

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Hi Dantroy,

Thanks for your answer, I really appreciate it.

It’s really good to get another person’s perspective on it. Sorry, I should have specified I have already worked my way through the LingQ mini stories - like you, I found them really useful. I find the repetition really helps cement stuff.

I know from what I have read on the forums that the hardest step is to transition to native content, so I’ll continue just chipping away at it and switching between easier/harder content to get a good mix.

Good luck with your studies!

I see. Yeah it’s kinda hard to find content more advanced than the mini-stories but not yet native-level.

I’ve been working my way through native content ever since I got to like story 30. At least LingQ makes it easy to just look up all the words real quick, but yeah, It’s gonna be a struggle.

I have however kept on listening to the same Chinese LingQ podcasts and some native videos on repeat, and along with some Anki I’ve been starting to be able to pick apart like 60% of the stuff I listen to while jogging and stuff. I just really have to get good with the idea that I’m not gonna understand the big picture for now.

If you are at an intermediate stage I think some CPod stuff can work if you really just get to the 1-2 minute convo, and listen to that. It might be a decent stepping stone, though it’s kind of bad for listening immersion because of the amount of english in it.

Anyways, see what works for you :smiley:

And good luck to you too.

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Cpod and Popup are pretty much the “gold standard” for beginning Chinese, imo.

Anyone who tells you different is doing it wrong, as far as I can see.

The main trick is to download the mandarin(only) "dialogue files on to a mp3 player that has embedded lyrics display capability.

Listen, read, listen - to the mandarin(only) dialogues. Do this over and over. There is no better way (imo) to distill basic chinese phrasing deep into your brain/psyche/auto response - whatever you want to call it … you are never going to grow up as a child in China – but – listening to literally thousands and thousands of authentic short sharp dialogues is the next best thing.

The pedagogy (and the level of thought) put in to the phrasing of the lower level dialogues on cpod and popup is second to none. I challenge anyone to show me better…

I really pity it when new learners get told contrary to the above…

To begin Chinese this is what I would recommend :
1 - Learn good approaches to acquiring languages : eg, The Linguist Blog Book

2 - Always remember to cultivate your motivations for language learning -

我学语言的方法: 首先,我觉得积极性和兴趣是最重要的。还有觉得应该主动培养你的动力你的兴趣。
其次, 我觉得应该充分利用你现在浪费的时间。 比如在开车和排队的时候听你的想学的语言。 别错过一个机会接触你想学会的语言。
还有,我觉得吸收是很重要的。语言有四个方面:听,阅读,说和写。吸收是听和阅读。有的人觉得你应该从第一天就练习说话。我不同意。第一天很难用有限的词汇来进行说话。小孩 第一天会说话吗?应该先多听多阅读,然后再练习说话。
那说话呢? 什么时候开始说话? 你自己决定吧. 还有别害羞,要大胆的说出来。
另外,应该多锻炼你的思维 。用你想学的语言来思考问题。比如说你在洗澡的时候可以在心里用你正在学的语言叙述一下生活中的事。

3 - To begin Chinese - personally, I’d recommend → download all beginner, elementary and intermediate dialogues (mandarin-only) and their transcripts (pinyin, characters and English) from and Listen to them for as many hours a day as you can manage (for around 1k total hours listening). Listen, then read the transcript, then listen, and repeat over and over. I’d recommend always listening to a dialog attentively, first, before reading it’s transcript. Avoid any and all English audio, just stick with the Mandarin-only audio.

3a. Last but not least— During the initial stages – learn how to pronounce Chinese sounds correctly.

Lots of people learn Chinese these days – but nothing will separate you more than pronunciation (and then smashing out a thousand hours on authentic dialogs is the only real way to nail tones).

See — Chinese Pronunciation - Sinosplice

I’ve said enough. Too many people, with too few runs on the board dish out advice on lingq these days. Forum is not what it used to be

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Hi Iaing,

Thank you so much for your reply. I feel like a bit of an idiot, because I hadn’t noticed the “dialogue-only” option on the podcasts. That makes a huge difference. And thank you for your recommendations about how to approach things - those are exactly what I need right now.

“(…) you are never going to grow up as a child in China – but – listening to literally thousands and thousands of authentic short sharp dialogues is the next best thing.”

This really resonates with me, and it is what I would instinctively want to do, so it’s great to hear this advice from somebody with lots of experience.

I’ve been looking through some threads on the forum, and I found your comments about pinyin / Victor Mair’s work really interesting. You linked to some compelling resources. Up until now I have always opted to ‘hide’ the pinyin, but I’ve been wondering if I should rethink my approach.

I appreciate this is slightly off topic, but I’ve wondering about the following questions:

  • Is there a stage at which it is ‘too late’ to bring pinyin back in? I came to LingQ with some prior knowledge and have been reading upper beginner/lower intermediate texts without pinyin since I joined. It feels a bit strange to switch it on now (although I am sure I would adjust). Did you have a particular level at which you started to drop pinyin?
  • I can’t get pinyin on the LingQ app (I believe it might get fixed for 5.0), so to be honest I might not really have much choice (using the desktop version isn’t very convenient for me). Did you have this issue, or is this a more recent limitation?

Anyway - sorry I am digressing a bit now. Any thoughts much appreciated, but even if you don’t have time to reply, thank you for the advice in you original post.

There is a list of the most popular Chinese podcasts, maybe you’ll find them useful

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