Learning Mandarin? Here are some great podcasts for you! These will boost your comprehension, help you perfect your pronunciation, increase your vocabulary, and possibly broaden your horizons while doing all of that. Let’s do this.
Learning Chinese Through Stories
If you’re the kind of person who absorbs language through storytelling and literature, you couldn’t pick a better place to start. Learning Chinese Through Stories sorts its stories by both level ability, with a range from intermediate to advanced, and category. You can choose from adventure, chicken soup for the soul, classics, humour, nature, random, romance, science, society, paranormal, and even poetry.
What is particularly great for learners is that most podcasts come with a short vocabulary list written in both Mandarin and Pinyin to help you understand. They even have a section called one min Chinese so if you’re pressed for time you can still practice! How Pangu created the world is a beautiful podcast to try; if you haven’t already read or heard this legendary story about how the ancient Chinese thought the world began, you are in for a treat!
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Slow Chinese is a great podcast to begin with if you’re concerned about not being able to hear anything if people speak too fast. It does exactly as it says, and gives you ten-minute podcasts read at a manageable listening tempo, covering cultural differences between China and the Western world, as well as what daily life in China is really like.
This podcast is suited best for upper-intermediate or advanced listeners, mostly because the podcasts aren’t structured like lessons, and don’t come with a transcript. The site is updated intermittently so it isn’t one to go for if you need something fresh every week, but with multiple podcasts already available under the subjects of backpack China, history and tradition, language, modern China, and pop culture, you have plenty to listen to. Try Politically Correct for example, covering the experience of an American English teacher looking for work in China, dealing with cultural differences in job search and interview processes.
Travel Mala might not have been updated for a while, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great podcasts to help you with your Mandarin. As you might have guessed, these podcasts are about travel, specifically ten individual trips taken by the podcasters as they explore the globe. These podcasts are all around an hour long so you have plenty to listen to, though they are for more confident learners since there aren’t any transcripts.
What is particularly nice about these podcasts is hearing the joy in the voices of these travellers, which really puts the listener at ease. The tone is relaxed, and the set up more like a conversation between friends than a podcast. Each podcast is unique and doesn’t follow a formula, so you might hear about Spanish cuisine in one, and the tourism industry in Turkey the next. In fact, The strongest Spanish guide: Journey to the West of a man and three women, is a great podcast to start with on this site. The hosts clearly had the time of their lives, offering up their own perspectives on travel in Spain, Spanish cuisine, and which Spanish city they deem most worthy. You are guaranteed to be smiling by the end of the podcast!
The Pastimes of Youth
Looking for a light-hearted Mandarin podcast? This might be the one! The Pastimes of Youth is essentially a teenage talk show, that is funny and silly as it covers all of life’s issues for the world’s younger generations. It is still informative despite being aimed at younger listeners so don’t look down your nose at it for being about youth. The Pastimes of Youth is a great choice for beginner or intermediate students because of its easy content, but doesn’t come with a transcript, so you’ll have to get your ear in fast!
The podcasts are all thoroughly tagged, so if you want to search for a particular subject to listen to, this will help. With everything from digestive biscuits to English idioms listed, you are bound to find something you will enjoy. This episode, translated roughly as Youth Wisdom King #62, is an eclectic mix of household advice, how to stop small children crying quickly, and pie. A winning combination! And a lot of fun to listen to.
So there you have it. Four great podcasts to help you practice your Mandarin! By the way, you might consider at some point taking 1-on-1 Chinese classes. Here at Listen & Learn, our teachers are all fully-qualified native speaking professionals hired for their experience and their passion for teaching. So if you are ready to skyrocket your Chinese skills, place a quick inquiry now, and our friendly and highly knowledgeable customer service people are going to get back to you within one business day.