I think the most difficult stage of learning a language is when you are transitioning from an intermediate to an advanced learner. Often, you will hit a wall made of any mix of the following reasons:
- Not enough good, open resources or not able to easily find such resources;
- Unable to break through the barrier. The beginner stuff is now too easy, the more advanced stuff seems too difficult; it becomes harder to find the right balance; or
- Losing sight of why you wanted to learn the language in the first place.
If the above resonate with you, I want you to know that it’s okay. You’ve already come so far, now is the time to go slow, get things right as opposed to learn too many things quickly. Don’t give up.
I hope that the content of my podcasts will re-ignite your passion in China and Chinese in the first place and that you will find the richness and diversity in Chinese culture and history as interesting as I do.
I’ve also summarised below some practical suggestions of how you could use my podcasts more productively.
- Reading: You could have the transcript open and read the Chinese segments while you listen to identify words or phrases you are not familiar with. See how they are used in the sentences. Search for the words or phrases online and see how they can be used in other contexts.
- Listening: Without using the transcript, listen to identify any words or phrases you are not familiar with. Judging by the pronunciation, see if you can guess what the word or phrase might mean, then have a look at the transcript to see if you got it right. More often than not, you’ll see that you are right or very close!
- Speaking: When you come across an unfamiliar word or phrase, pause the episode and repeat it after me (before or after you’ve looked up its meaning). Or if you want to practise speaking for the entire podcast, you can pause the episode after each natural end and repeat the sentence you’ve just heard.
- Writing: Without looking at the transcript, as you are listening, write down what I’m saying. It’s okay to not know word, note down the pinyin and continue. At the end, check your work against the transcript to see if you’ve got it right and what the missing words of phrases (if any) are.
You can use any combination of the above to make the most of the podcasts. Let me know if you’ve tried any of the methods and if it worked for you! You can get in touch using the methods on my Contact page.
At this stage of your learning journey, it’s important to incorporate Chinese into your life as much as possible. Whether it’s TV series, movies, music, podcasts, books, online forums, talking to Chinese speakers, etc. Practice, practice, practice! You’ll find that you’ll even absorb some of it by osmosis! I have compiled some resources that you might find helpful on the Resources page.