Teaching Yourself Chinese Through the Internet: ChinesePod

Schoolgirl Adrienne Blaser continues her series on teaching yourself Chinese, in which she reviews relevant websites. Yesterday she reviewed LiveMocha.

Another distinct site for learning Mandarin Chinese is ChinesePod. This site is more based on individual study because of its many podcasts. Personally, I find podcasts to be an extreme help in learning. The great thing about podcasts is that they go where you want to go and you don’t need internet access to do it.

ChinesePod has a variety of levels, ranging from Newbie, to Advanced. You can sign up for the level you think suitable and download the lessons of your choice. Most of these podcasts include conversations, in which helpful teachers like Jenny and John explain what individual words mean and how they are put together. Since most people can’t just learn by ear, each podcast comes with the dialogue from the lesson and notes, which includes pinyin, character, English meaning, and extra vocabulary.

Back on the website ChinesePoders can join a study group, like Chinese short texts, or watch a video channel like Pinyin Program for more practice.

Even though I love the thought of podcasts I wish that Chinese pod had a little more on their website, like follow up lessons or more grammar. They do have a glossary section and grammar guide with a pinyin chart, to help with pronunciation. On ChinesePod there is a conversation help thread where you can talk to your fellow learners and ask questions. Overall on this site there is minimal advertising and everything is basically clear and uncluttered. ChinesePod does cost money after your first seven day trial. The Basic plan with free podcasts costs $9 a month, but I remember when everything was free on ChinesePod. The highest plan, which includes ten minutes daily phone conversation with a teacher, customized study plan, and a personal needs analysis, cost a whopping $199. ChinesePod still has a way to go until I pay nine dollars a month, but I am still loving the podcasts from my seven day trial, which are very helpful. For the beginner, ChinesePod is more a site for picking up phrases in a conversation being able to understand it and respond correctly than starting from scratch and learning proper writing grammar.

Web address: http://chinesepod.com

Rating: 4

Adrienne Blaser is 14 years old. She plays tennis, the violin and loves to read. She one day hopes to learn many languages, hopefully one being Chinese, which she is currently teaching herself.