Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Learning Chinese with technology

One of the things about my Chinese learning is that it has been vastly modern. Many of the complaints I have heard about learning Chinese simply don't apply to me, which depending on how you look at it is either terrible or very good.

I lean towards the side of very good as I feel I have done a better than average job in moderation. That said, I don't have to memorize lists of radicals and stroke counts (though if pressed I can usually figure out both). Looking through a character dictionary is a common complaint amongst Chinese language learners and that is simply not something I deal with much. But I can inscribe a character into my electronic translator with increasing deafness.

My flash cards are now on my computer, and plug one goes to Loopware's iFlash:


This program is a Mac flash card program that is single handedly making my Chinese vastly better. It can take into account your previous knowledge of cards, it moves fast, and it works very very well. Part of the reason I never liked real flash cards is I make them and then I have this whole mess of flash cards. I might look them over, but most of them I know pretty quickly, and it just seems like a big waste.

With this program I just copy and paste words into the program. I then usually review my words once before bed, and then first thing when I get up (and often choose just to review the words I will need for whatever news articles I have as homework). Anyway, if news is getting repetitive (best example: 廢統論) I can learn basically all of the vocab I need for a week in about two days.

The next plug is:


This is not exactly original of me because it sounds like these guys are pushing serious numbers these days. However I do highly recommend their program. It is broadcast out of Shanghai China and it is for beginner to intermediate. The intermediate lessons are typically very good. I find that even if I really don't care about the topic, there is at least a few things I find interesting in the lesson.

What I like is that it is also so very modern. Podcasting is a great way to learn in general. I recommend any of you rabid self-improvers to give Chinese pod a go to learn something interesting (Miranda, you have an iPod now...)

Lastly one more podcast:


This is a news program ala NPR but broadcast out of Asia. If you just go to www.rfa.org, you can get an English version. This is only for readers with serious Chinese, as most of the broadcast I don't understand (of note, my Chinese is most definitely not "serious" per se). However, because I have listened to the program for months now, I understand more and more. I hope when I leave that I can listen to it casually and understand most of it (I now can understand if I go over odd vocabulary of a given show before hand).

I don't know if I have any readers who really know Chinese, but I am desperatly looking for a Taiwanese news podcast (I can find plenty of audio files, but not actual pod casts). Anyone who can help?


Jasmine said...


you are looking for "Taiwanese" or Mandarin?

Anyway, I hope you are happy to learn this language and I think this is the most important part.

Matthew K Warner said...

Well I would like to learn Taiwanese (I just started learning new Taiwanese words). But I do mean a Mandarin podcast broadcast from Taiwan.

It is an interesting site, and I am looking over it now.