When you are learning a language sometimes it is sometimes difficult finding resources that are interesting. Textbooks tend to be outdated, and the material for language learners can, at times, be dull. So this is where radio and TV come in! Why not learn using tools you use every day already? Here are some suggestions for how to use radio and TV to help you learn Mandarin.
Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf
Okay, so some of us still have a little stigma about using a children’s program to learn a language. But that doesn’t mean you should! Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf is a beautiful cartoon whether you are an adult or child, so why not use it to your advantage?
Here is a clip from episode thirty-six to give you a taste. You will find episodes with and without subtitles in Mandarin, and the slightly slower pace will help you to follow along. And if you are worried about running out of material to use there are 29 series with more than 2,000 episodes! That is plenty to keep you busy!
Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf might be one of the most successful pieces of media China has ever produced, meaning the internet will be filled with fans for you to discuss the show with. When are you going to start watching?
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Having the radio on in the background is a great way to immerse yourself in Mandarin! Yes 933 is a 24-hour radio station based in Singapore that plays the latest in popular music. There are news bulletins, phone-ins, weather reports, and all the usual things you might expect from a radio station where you live. So by already knowing the kind of format shows follow, you can prepare yourself for what to listen to.
Because this is a radio station aimed at Mandarin speakers the pace can be fast at times, so don’t expect too much from your first listen in terms of understanding. There are also the occasional blasts of English from the most cheerful of hosts you can imagine, their enthusiasm for their jobs keeping you listening even if you don’t understand every word. Give Yes 933 a listen!
A Date With Lu Yu
Think Oprah in Mandarin! A Date With Lu Yu follows a very similar format to your favorite talk shows in America and is one of the most popular shows in mainland China. With around 140 million viewers each episode, A Date With Lu Yu has interviews from some of the biggest celebrities in China as well as those from neighboring countries.
Each episode is around 45 minutes long so be aware of this if you are fitting them in to your study schedule. And unless you are watching purely for immersion instead of understanding, you will need to at least be intermediate level without the subtitles on. Chen Lu Yu is a softly spoken host whose accent is perfect for Mandarin learners, so even if you don’t understand all that is going on you might still find yourself enthralled! A Date With Lu Yu has been on the air since 1998 so you have plenty of episodes to choose from. Get watching!
Sing Tao Chinese Radio
Sing Tao News in San Francisco bring you Sing Tao Chinese Radio. The station provides music, news, and updates for those living in the local area, though the main focus is on music. Be aware that the station broadcasts in both Mandarin and Cantonese so be sure to select the correct language before you start listening!
Because Sing Tao News leases the airtime from other radio broadcasters you will need to check the times for when the programs are airing so you can tune in according to your time zone. Currently, Sing Tao Chinese Radio airs weekdays 7am to 2pm and 4pm to 7pm, and 12pm to 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Why not put this on in the background while you are doing something else? Who knows what Mandarin you might pick up!
China’s Got Talent
China’s Got Talent may only have aired for five seasons but the show left a wealth of useful clips on Youtube and other platforms for you to practice Mandarin with. For a sample try this clip of the best moments from 2014. You get to hear the competitors if they are singing, as well as the judges and the show’s hosts as they comment. This is bite-sized learning at its best! And if you are looking for an additional challenge then read through some of the comments on YouTube clips to see what you understand. Give it a watch!
There are lots of Mandarin-learning opportunities waiting for you on TV and radio. Where are you starting?