I spend a lot of time listening to podcastsâfar more than I do watching TV these days. There are so many good podcasts out there dealing with so many specialised topics. The podcasts I regularly view or listen to include Diggnation, NBC Nightly News (nice to able to do this in England), Scott Hanselmanâs âHanselminutesâ (along with DotNetRocks to help me keep up with the .Net tech industry), and the new 37 Signals Podcast. From time to time, Iâll add or remove other podcasts based on what Iâm interested at the time.
There are a lot of podcasts out there to help you learn Chinese. A few years ago I sampled loads of them and even subscribed to a few. Most of them were too much on the beginners side for my liking (Iâm not counting the news broadcasts in full-speed, faster than fast, Mandarin). Most of them were very dry and not much different than listening to a short Pimsler Basic Chinese Course lesson each day. âTodayâs lesson: Should we bring an umbrella because of the rain?â
So a few weeks ago I took another look at the Chinese learning podcasts out there and found one that I now include among my favourites. Itâs called Popup Chinese. The Popup Chinese podcasts gives 3 lessons a week at Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced level which each last between 5 and 10 minutes in length.
The dialogs in the lessons are really what differentiate the lessons from all the other ones out there. Here are a few examples of the lessons theyâve had in the past few weeks:
- How to Start a Business in China â Dialogue between a school principal and a childâs parents about how their child has started the other children with gambling and sniffing glue.
- Performance Anxiety â A dialogue between a performer on an American Idol type show and the judges.
- How to Defuse a Bomb â A bomb is about to go off and a former policeman comes to the rescue but is not sure which wire to cut.
Each lesson is pretty funny and irreverent. Even with some vocab that you will never use, there is a lot of very good instruction on grammar and common speech.
The show is presented by two American and one Chinese teacher in Beijing.
Itâs a great podcast. If you are past the beginner stages and into the intermediate and advanced stages of Chinese learning, you should check it out.