Sunday, December 17, 2006

Learning Mandarin Podcast

I want to keep my learning experiance as much based on sound as possible, especially in the early stages. Podcasts of various types are a crucial aid and especially relevent to me as I get a lot of time where I can listen but not read or interact with a keyboard. Some Podcasts are learning podcasts and some are just material that can be used in a learning context.

I think that the Learning Learning Mandarin Podcast is a good example of a useful source of material.

The Learning Mandarin podcasts are not instructional as such. The usual format is that the host April discusses an issue, either something that has happened in her life of something newsworthy etc. Some of the earlier podcast feature interviews with Mandarin learners. Examples of topics discussed are two podcasts about traditional versus simplified characters and a podcast about the game (if it is a game) Second Life.

April speaks clearly and at resonable pace. Also the vocabularly seems to steer away from anything overly difficult or obscure. I can't understand much of it but some of the podcasts I could understand big chuncks of and I can often pick up the gist of the topic. If not there are plenty of easily recognisable words and phrases to work with.

The nicest touch is that you can purchase transcripts of the podcasts, the one I bought was just $1 (I could purchase via Paypal). This enabled me to download a PDF that contained both characters and Pinyin for the entire dialogue. I am not at my happiest when studying from text alone but alongside audio is great.


Anonymous said...

test test test

Anonymous said...

I am a big fan of April's podcasts. Of all the Chinese podcasts out there, hers are quite possibly my favorite. I think if you paid for the transcripts (they're only 1 U.S. dollar apiece) you would find them very useful for Mandarin learning. Her voice is terrific, isn't it? So calm and reassuring, not that high-pitched "cute" voice so many Chinese women assume. The short length of her podcasts always catches me by surprise, and I find that to be quite effective and motivating. I also appreciate the variety of topics. Somebody somewhere once claimed her podcasts are "intermediate" level, which is not quite true I believe. They're really more like "easy advanced" if you just want to listen solely; more like "intermediate/high-intermediate" if you use the pinyin/English transcripts. This has to do with the vocabulary mostly and not the rate of speech or diction. However, I wish everyone spoke Mandarin like her and I would have very few listening comprehension problems! Thanks, Andrea