Chinese Learn Online

Syndicate content Chinese Learn Online
Progressive Mandarin Course
Updated: 8 hours 12 min ago

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 020: Shaun Bettinson

Tue, 03/15/2016 - 09:26

In this episode, I interview Shaun Bettinson, a Brit who now lives in Taichung, Taiwan.

Listen to find out:

- What brought Shaun to Taiwan initially
– Where he learned his initial Chinese
– What he didn’t like about his first group class
– What he liked about his next teacher
– What he recommends you look for in a private teacher
– What kind of effort he put in to learn Chinese outside of class
– What benefits he found from being able to speak Chinese
– How he transitioned from teaching into an alternate career path
– How his Chinese helped him in his new position
– What advice he’d give to someone wanting to switch from teaching to a different career path

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 019: Davide Saccon

Tue, 03/08/2016 - 04:00

In this episode, I interview Davide Saccon, an Italian now living in Qingdong, China.

Listen to find out:

- How he learned “street” Chinese in Italy
– What brought him to China after that
– Why the Chinese he had learned before wasn’t as useful in smaller Chinese villages
– How he used the Chinese he had learned to land his first job in China
– Why it was much harder to learn Chinese outside of China than in China
– What cultural differences he noticed between working in China versus Europe
– How compensation affects motivation with Chinese workers
– How he manages language and communication with his Chinese wife
– Why he had to change the language approach he used with his kids
– The language approach he finds works best with kids from mixed language couples
– The problem he found with the local education system for kids, and what solution they found for it

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 018: Ethan Feig

Tue, 03/01/2016 - 04:00

In this episode, I interview Ethan Feig, an American now working in a trade company in Taichung, Taiwan.

Listen to this episode to find out:

- What brought Ethan to Taiwan at age 18
– How Taiwan differed from his prior expectations
– How he learned Chinese from a fellow expat, and how that approach compared to his Taiwanese teacher
– How he maintained his Chinese listening and comprehension skills while back in the US for 2 years
– How he transitioned from teaching English into other work
–  About the work culture at his current company
– What advice he has for others wanting to work in non teaching careers in Taiwan

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 017: Wesley Insights

Tue, 02/23/2016 - 02:56

In this episode, we welcome back Wesley (from our last episode) to share some of the more fascinating aspects of the Chinese language including:

- How abbreviations work in Chinese (and how they differ from English)
– Why Chinese can’t be the next global language
– Why understanding Chinese culture is so important to understanding Chinese
– The actual meaning of “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”
– How chengyus are formed, used and developed
– Sarcasm in Chinese culture and how it’s used
– How he learns and uses chengyus, and how this differs from how native speakers learn them
– Why accents in Chinese don’t matter
– Why Chinese TV has Chinese subtitles
– How the writing system of dialects like Taiwanese has evolved
– The multiple ways that dialects can be subtitled
– “False friends” in Chinese
– How colors in Chinese are used differently than they are in English
– Why language learning is a series of plateaus with no distinct peak

 

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 016: Wesley Holzer

Mon, 02/15/2016 - 03:50

In this episode, I interview Wesley. He’s an American, with degrees in Chinese and translation.

Listen to this episode to find out:

  • How Wesley got interested in Chinese in the first place.
  • How he found Chinese easier to learn as a second language than Spanish.
  • What his teacher did to significantly increase his interest in learning Chinese.
  • Why it’s important to learn the whole culture rather than just the language.
  • What aspect of Chinese drove his main interest in the language.
  • His biggest struggle learning Chinese in LA.
  • What his best decision was, regarding learning Chinese.
  • What he learned on the street that they don’t teach in textbooks.
  • What he learned from taking a degree in translation.
  • Why he learned more from his grad school classmates than from local friends.
  • What happens to foreigners as they live in Taiwan / China for an extended period.
  • The difference in culture working for a Taiwanese run company.
  • Why you also need to maintain your English, while living in a foreign country.
  • The benefits and limitations of having a local partner, with regards to improving your Chinese.

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 015: Dominic Cope

Tue, 02/02/2016 - 04:00

Dominic is from Oregon, USA, and now lives in Taichung, Taiwan with his wife and 3 year old twins. Listen to this episode to find out:

- What made Dominic move to China at the tender age of 16
– What it was like as a teenager living in China
– Why he lost a lot of weight while living in China
– What aspect of being a foreigner in China was the biggest cultural shock to him
– What brought him to Taiwan a couple of years later
– The biggest differences he noticed between Kunming, China and Taiwan
– What it was like to take a university degree in Chinese with local Taiwanese students
– How he transitioned from teaching English to his current position as Director of Operations for a US Tech company
– His advice for people wanting to transition into a different career path in Taiwan / China
– How he uses Chinese in his daily life
– His approach to language with his Taiwanese wife and his kids
– Why he changed his language approach with his kids
– His thoughts on educating his kids at this young age

 

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 012: Priya Lalwani Purswaney

Tue, 12/08/2015 - 08:57

Priya is originally from India, but has now lived in Taiwan for 27 years. She works as a simultaneous interpreter. Listen to this episode to find out:

- What brought Priya to Taiwan in the first place
– Her initial impressions of Taiwan
– How she began learning Chinese and what approach they took
– Why she recommends an intensive approach to learning Chinese
– Why she thinks knowing Indian languages like Hindi helps in learning Mandarin
– Which sounds in Chinese she finds many English speakers have trouble pronouncing
– How she transitioned into working as a translator / interpreter
– Why she prefers interpreting over translating work
– How preparation for interpreting works
– The various types of translating options available, and the skills required for each
– Consecutive, whispering / simultaneous without equipment, simultaneous with equipment
– How interpreting is done for more niche languages (relay interpreting)
– The process that goes through translating sentence by sentence
– Why she recommends putting kids through the local education system up to Grade 3 or so before switching to an international system
– When she recommends learning to write characters and when it isn’t
– Why she recommends Hindi speakers (Indians) learn using zhuyin (bo po mo fo) over pinyin
-

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 011: Jason Schuurman

Mon, 11/30/2015 - 07:32

Jason has lived in Taichung, Taiwan for the past 4 years, after previously doing a stint in China. Listen to this episode to find out:

- What brought Jason to China in the first place.

- How he practiced learning Chinese before moving to China.

- The benefits of learning Chinese from a native English speaker, and what to look for

- How he compares interacting in Chinese in China versus Taiwan

- How he compared living in Nanjing versus Shanghai

- What prompted him to move from China to Taiwan

- His thoughts on traditional classroom learning versus modern methods

- His thoughts on learning to type versus learning to read.

- His approach to learning to read while learning to speak

- How he received a scholarship to learn Chinese in Taiwan (and what key approach he used)

- The differences between Chinese and Taiwanese people

- His communication approach with his Taiwanese wife

 

Resources and links mentioned: Anki flashcard program, Taiwan Ministry of Education Scholarship information

 

Chinese Flashcards Apps Updated

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 11:18

We recently updated both our Chinese Flashcards iPhone apps with modern designs. They should be available as free updates, if you have them already.

 

You can find them in the app store here:

Chinese Flashcards: Learn 2700 characters

Chinese Flashcards II: Learn 1000 words for beginners

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 010: Cheryl Robbins

Mon, 11/23/2015 - 02:28

Cheryl has been in Taiwan for 26 years and has worked as a tour guide, translator and author.

Listen to this episode to find out:

- What brought Cheryl to Taiwan in the first place
– Why she recommends Taiwan as a place to learn Mandarin
– The advantage to learning phonetic symbols (zhuyin) along with characters
– How she was able to transition from teaching English to translation and then as a tour guide / translator.
– How she got her first job at a museum
– Why she thinks the demand for translation services will continue to increase
– How to create your own path in your own niche / specialty in Taiwan
– The importance of networking to find opportunities
– What types of projects she would like to do in the future
– The difference in working at a Taiwanese company versus a foreign company
– How to get your ideas through, when working at a local company
– The process of registering your own company here
– How her kids fared with bilingual education

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 006: Todd Blackhurst

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 05:36

In this episode, I interview Todd Blackhurst. Todd moved to Taiwan from Texas with his wife and 3 teenagers in 2013. Listen to find out:

  • What promoted Todd to move his whole family to Taiwan
  • How he prepared for the big move
  • The adjustments for the kids, now living in Taiwan
  • The comparisons between the local education (American school) and American education
  • What he would have done differently if he had come with younger kids
  • How living in Taiwan is different from coming as a visitor
  • The challenges an American family has living in Taiwan
  • The differences in how direct you communicate with other people in Taiwan versus America
  • What worked for Todd when it came to learning Chinese
  • Their long term plans and language investment in Taiwan
  • Why he recommends others travel as a family
  • An aspect he loves about living in Taiwan
  • The closeness of family in Taiwan

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 005: Brad Saap

Mon, 10/19/2015 - 02:20

In this episode, I interview Brad Sapp. Brad spent 13 years in China working in trade companies in Beijing and Qingdao. He currently lives in Toronto, where he continues to actively engage with Chinese clients.

Listen to this podcast to learn:

- How Brad landed up in China
– His approach to learning Chinese
– His take on learning characters and writing
– What it was like to work for a Chinese company
– The advantage to being able to speak Chinese
– The business culture differences with Chinese companies
– How he dealt with Chinese staff who didn’t speak English
– How he uses Chinese outside of China
– The perspective of Chinese immigrants in Canada
– How learning Chinese compares to other languages

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 004: Edward Greve

Mon, 10/12/2015 - 03:15

In this episode, I interview Edward Greve. Edward is an American who has lived in Taiwan for the past 8 years. He initially started as an English teacher and is now doing a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics.

Listen to find out:

  • What brought Edward to Taiwan in the first place
  • What process he took to learn Chinese on the side
  • His standard process to learn a new language
  • His stance on learning characters from the very beginning
  • The difference between learning simplified versus traditional characters
  • Who he practiced speaking with
  • His take on learning Taiwanese and other local dialects
  • What he’s doing now with computational linguistics
  • How learning Chinese compares to learning other languages like Italian, Dutch, French, German, Thai and Indonesian
  • About the scripts used in different Chinese dialects like Taiwanese and Cantonese
  • The importance of being able to express yourself through written Chinese
  • The advantages of being able to speak Mandarin while living in a Chinese community

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 003: Aaron Posehn

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 03:51

In this episode, I interview Aaron Posehn. He’s a Canadian, with a degree in Asian studies, who moved to Taiwan to work as an editor.

Listen to find out:

  • How Aaron got interested in Chinese culture
  • What it was like to be the only non Asian in a Chinese class of 300
  • About his first trip to China and Mongolia
  • Why learning Chinese alone isn’t enough to work in a Chinese company
  • About Aaron’s Chinease book and website.
  • What it’s like to be living in Taipei and interacting with others in Chinese
  • What he would do differently, if he was to learn Chinese again

 

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 002: Elias Ek

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 03:56

In this episode, I interview Elias Ek.

Elias is from Sweden, but has lived in Taiwan for the past 25 years, where he runs his own company, Enspyre.

Listen to find out about:

  • Elias’ first encounter in Chinese in Taiwan
  • His first job in Taiwan
  • Experience of working as a foreigner in a Taiwanese company
  • His breakthrough in learning Chinese
  • His experience on learning speaking without characters
  • His use of Chinese while running his own company in Taiwan
  • How he prepares for giving speeches in Chinese
  • His approach interviewing new employees
  • Why classroom language learning is broken
  • Difference in western versus Chinese business culture
  • How he elicits ideas from his staff
  • What he would change about his strategy learning Chinese
  • How Chinese compares in difficulty to other languages

Learn Chinese Insights Podcast Episode 001: Joe Westerhof

Mon, 09/21/2015 - 04:56

In this first episode of the new Learn Chinese Insights Podcast, I interview Joe Westerhof.

Joe came to Taiwan 17+ years ago from Michigan, US. He initially began teaching English but now works in a trading company in Taichung, doing import / exports.

In this episode, you will find out:

  • What brought Joe to Taiwan in the first place.
  • His background learning Chinese – what worked and what didn’t.
  • His initial impressions of Taiwan.
  • The benefits of living in a small town.
  • How he transitioned from teaching to working in trade.
  • Issues that westerners have, when working in Taiwanese companies
  • Why Taiwanese companies don’t hire western employees
  • What to focus on, when trying to get a job with a Taiwanese company
  • What it’s like to be married with kids to a Taiwanese
  • On dealing with the Taiwanese language versus Mandarin
  • Joe’s theories on westerners who are fluent in Chinese
  • Joe’s advice on learning Chinese (or any language)

Changes to Course Outline Page

Mon, 08/17/2015 - 11:44

I recently made a couple of small changes to the Course Outline page.

The “Complete” links have been renamed as “Transcript” and have moved to the front of every lesson. I feel “Transcript” is a more descriptive label than “Complete” and moving it to the front better reflects the progression that most users make with the lessons: Start with the lesson, while following along with the transcript, then move to the Vocabulary page, followed by the Activity and other pages that follow.

Hope that makes sense and doesn’t cause too much disruption in your lesson navigation.

Pleco Flashcards Support for iOS

Fri, 07/10/2015 - 07:28

One feature that many users have asked for, is the ability to export flashcards to Pleco, the popular dictionary app.

This could always be done of course through the Export page. However this required multiple steps.

I’m happy to announce that if you’re using an iOS device (iPhone or iPad), then head on over to the flashcard page and select the lesson range you want.

You’ll now notice a new button at the bottom called “Export to Pleco”.

 

Clicking on this will directly open the Pleco app (assuming you have it installed already). After a few seconds, you should see a message like this:

 

You’ll now have a list of CLO lessons inside Pleco that you can choose from.

 

Inside each lesson is the vocabulary, that you can then use to create your own flashcard lists inside Pleco.

 

Hope this is useful for you.

At the moment, Pleco says this function only works on iOS devices. We can add Android support when they do.

New Design

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 04:14

If you haven’t noticed, the entire site has been recently updated with a brand new design.

It was a bit of a rocky start at first, with lots of small features not working.

Most have now been fixed though, and early reviews seem to be good.

The biggest benefit of the new site is that it is completely mobile optimized. Most activities should work on your phone or tablet.

The only thing that doesn’t work on phones / tablets are tools for recording your voice, such as Test your Pronunciation and the ability to record voice responses to exercises. These can be done from the desktop / laptop version however.

Other improvements include:

  • Design improvements to the flashcards and word bank pages.
  • New progress bar that shows up on the Course Outline page for each level. Complete all the activities in each level to reach 100%
  • Persistent audio player and mode switch on the Complete transcript page let you pause the audio and switch between characters, from anywhere on the page.

Please send me feedback on things you like or don’t like about this new design, as it’s an evolving process.

CLO App for Android

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 10:35

Well it took some time, but it’s finally here. The new CLO App for Android has been released on the Google Play store.

Like the iOS version, the Android version comes with the first 3 lessons for free. You can then purchase lesson content for levels 1 and 2 into the app.

These include the lesson audio, transcripts, flashcards and new character animations.

Try it out and let me know what you think.

Now that the Android version is released, I’ll be able to get back to making improvements to both apps, including content for later levels.

Thank you for your patience!