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The most convenient way to learn Chinese the way it is actually spoken and used. Start with our basic lessons, and in no time you'll be listening to music, watching films and television and engaging in the actual language. With free daily podcasts, a vibrant community, online study tools and much more, PopupChinese is the most powerful and personal way to learn mandarin.
Updated: 2 min 27 sec ago

Intermediate - Behind the Scenes at Popup Towers

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 05:53

This week at Popup Chinese, we take you behind the scenes of a recording session as Grace and Li Zhiqiang struggle to coax a decent performance out of a new voice actor. This is a fairly difficult intermediate show, but if you've been listening to us for a while, we think you'll like it. Not only does it help show what our recording sessions are usually like, but it provides a good excuse for talking about some of the less obvious words and phrases Chinese people use to describe more complex emotions.

Sinica - Leftover women, misogynistic trolls and post grad study in China

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 01:00

This week on Sinica, Kaiser and Jeremy are joined once again by Leta Hong Fincher, newly-minted Ph.D. and author of Leftover Women, a book which gazes into the state of women's rights in China, and documents the way state-sanctioned propaganda, family-driven social pressures and legal customs in things like the housing market all effectively conspire to roll back much of the progress on gender equality China has made over the last twenty years. So we talk about that, and then about misogynistic Internet trolls, and what it's like to do a doctorate at Tsinghua University.

Have thoughts? Once you've done listening, please feel welcome to share your thoughts in the comments section, or by writing us at sinica@popupchinese.com. Also remember, you can subscribe to the Sinica show through RSS by opening up iTunes, clicking on the "Advanced" menu and selecting the option "Subscribe to Podcast". Copy the URL http://popupchinese.com/feeds/custom/sinica into the box when prompted. Or download this show directly from our site as a standalone mp3 file.

Sinica - The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 01:00

This week on Sinica, Kaiser and Jeremy are joined by Leta Hong Fincher, newly-minted Ph.D. and author of Leftover Women, a book which gazes into the state of women's rights in China, and documents the way state-sanctioned propaganda, family-driven social pressures and legal customs in things like the housing market all effectively conspire to roll back much of the progress on gender equality China has made over the last twenty years.

Have thoughts? Once you've done listening, please feel welcome to share your thoughts in the comments section, or by writing us at sinica@popupchinese.com. Also remember, you can subscribe to the Sinica show through RSS by opening up iTunes, clicking on the "Advanced" menu and selecting the option "Subscribe to Podcast". Copy the URL http://popupchinese.com/feeds/custom/sinica into the box when prompted. Or download this show directly from our site as a standalone mp3 file.

Elementary - You Had One Job

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 01:00

Sarah had struggled for years with her company's internship program, which seemed to saddle her each year with marginally less competent and marginally more slack-jawed members of the local student population. Yet while the interns had never been exactly productive, Jared was in a class of his own....

Sinica - Rice, Wheat and Air Filters

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 01:00

This week on Sinica, we're delighted to be joined by Thomas Talhelm, Ph.D. candidate in psychology at the University of Virginia and author of a recent paper proposing a fascinating connection between rice and wheat-growing communities, and persistent differences in psychological orientations of people from different parts of China. So join us as we talk about divorce, collectivism and violence, and get the dirt on all the various tests psychologists are using to measure it all here in the Middle Kingdom.

And even if psychology isn't your thing, we suspect that breathing is -- which is another reason to listen. In addition to his growing reputation in academic circles, Thomas is also known in China for his production and proselytization of do-it-yourself air filtration kits, which he sells through his company Smart Air Filters. If you are interested in getting a filter without spending a fortune, be sure to check them out. [standalone mp3 download]

Advanced - The Huang Haibo Sex Scandal

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 01:00

在这个文化多元化、经济快速发展的社会里,那条所谓的道德界限开始日渐模糊。浮躁、虚荣让越来越多的人开始迷失自己,亦或是...在找回自己?及时行乐也开始成为越来越多人的人生座右铭。只是,行乐要有度,要有道德标准和法律约束,起码要对自己负责。乐与不乐其实都有它的代价。快来加入Grace和李莉,针对嫖娼及出轨等一些敏感话题一起八卦一下,探讨一下,感慨一下...

Sinica - OMG, in conversation with Jessica Beinecke

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 10:43

In today's show, Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn interview Jessica Beinecke, host of the VOA-funded OMG Meiyu, a Chinese show on English slang that has earned Jessica hundreds of thousands of followers in China. Now the owner of her own production company, Jessica is on the show to chat about her future plans and other projects. She is joined by David Moser, longtime Sinica stalwart and director of the CET immersion program in Beijing.

Enjoy Sinica? If you'd like to keep abreast of new episodes as soon as we release them, be sure to subscribe to our free RSS feed. We also invite listeners to download this show as a standalone mp3 file and get in touch at sinica@popupchinese.com with suggestions on topics or guests you'd like to see featured on the show.

Elementary - Hurting the Feelings of the Chinese People

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 01:00

One moment Xiao Liu had been suggesting a weekend retreat to Zhongshan Park, and the next his entire office had plunged into a leaden silence. As he would shortly discover, there were feelings that had been hurt, and if he hoped to paper over the situation the only thing to do was to make an apology and mend his ways.

Sinica - History of the Internet in China

Sat, 05/24/2014 - 01:00

The Internet has always been near and dear to our hearts here at Sinica. Four years ago, our very first show covered Google China and the fracas that followed their decision to pull out of China. And in the years since, we've frequently talked about Twitter and Weibo and now Weixin. With various anniversaries looming and our Internet connections getting almost as bad as they were ten years ago, today we wanted to take a step back and chat about how the Internet has grown and changed China.

Joining long-time hosts Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn in our studio today are three stalwart guests who have experienced the worst and the best of the Chinese Internet: Duncan Clark from BDA China, Gady Epstein who writes for the Economist, and Bill Bishop who everyone should know as the author of the Sinocism newsletter. Join us for this discussion either by listening to this show online, or by downloading it as a standalone mp3 file and share with friends.

Intermediate - An Invitation to Violence

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 01:00

A rose tucked away at the bottom of the pantry, clumsy letters wrapped in ribbons and hidden in the attic: such as these had been her efforts at concealment. Yet how brazen were their mid-day meetings in the park near the wharf, making it nonetheless inevitable that her husband would hear of her affair, and take steps to bring it to a decisive and final end.

Learning Chinese? This is a bit of an easier Intermediate show than some of our more recent ones, so if you're clambering up to full fluency from the Elementary level, give it a try and see how much you can understand. In the show itself, Grace and David talk a bit about duelling, and teach a grammar pattern that - even if you hate - you should still find useful.

Elementary - Goldfinger

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 01:00

Auric supervised the construction of his cutting laser feeling relief laced with loathing. Procuring the damn thing from China had promised cheaper costs, but prompted endless foot-dragging from US customs over environmental standards and power supply issues. Between those delays and the inevitable miscommunications with his Shenzhen supplier, it would have been easier to import Swiss equipment from the start.

Sinica - China in Three Keys: first experiences from the 1970s through 1990s

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 01:00

In this show: dating tips for hooking up with your Marxist-Leninist thought instructor, advice on what modern music and seasonal vegetables to smuggle in from Hong Kong, the origins of China's somewhat unorthodox driving customs, and instructions on reaching your nearest Communist bandit hotline should the red menace become too much to handle. Also making repeat appearances: Filipino rock bands.

This week on Sinica, we take a nostalgic look back at China in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, the decades in which our hosts first visited China. Recorded at the new Australian Centre on China in the World, this is a lovely discussion between Jeremy Goldkorn, Geremie Barme and Linda Jaivin, all of whom have been previous guests on Sinica and none of whom need any introduction. [standalone mp3 file]

Advanced - Thoughts on Hong Kong

Wed, 05/07/2014 - 01:00

近期,大陆夫妻带孩子香港当街小便一事引起了热议。港人声讨内地游客素质问题,大陆人却也因当事记者拍照侵权展开了反驳。习惯、素质、理解、矛盾、文明......陷入了一场辩论战,加之网络的煽风点火与断章取义,更使得这场论战愈演愈烈!当街小便固然不对,但是背后也许另含隐情;冷眼“取证”固然有过,但是法律和规章是需要遵守的!归根结底,究竟什么是文明?文明应以何种方式发展和传承?

Advanced - 素质与文明

Wed, 05/07/2014 - 01:00

近期,大陆夫妻带孩子香港当街小便一事引起了热议。港人声讨内地游客素质问题,大陆人却也因当事记者拍照侵权展开了反驳。习惯、素质、理解、矛盾、文明......陷入了一场辩论战,加之网络的煽风点火与断章取义,更使得这场论战愈演愈烈!当街小便固然不对,但是背后也许另含隐情;冷眼“取证”固然有过,但是法律和规章是需要遵守的!归根结底,究竟什么是文明?文明应以何种方式发展和传承?

Quiz Night - Glaston and Woad

Sun, 05/04/2014 - 01:00

Occasionally, we think back on our years in China and look back at our casual brushes with death with the sort of nostalgia other people feel for high school prom. For such were those heady days of SARS, when the streets of Beijing were clean, taxis were readily available, and glaston and woad were part of the everyday lexicon here. Also on this show, what happened to the inventor of the flying car who strapped Cessena wings to a Ford Pinto.

Learning Chinese? Our Popup Chinese quiz show is intended for people who already have pretty good mandarin but are looking for a fun way to expand their vocabulary. This week we have nine questions split into three thematic categories, covering everything from mouthwash to our favorite ineffective Chinese herbal remedies. So if you're an upper-level student, check out the show and let us know what you think.

Sinica - Excess Baggage: Chinese identity, publishing, and gender issues

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 05:52

This week on Sinica, Jeremy Goldkorn is pleased to be joined by two people navigating the English-language publishing industry as it involves China: Alice Xin Liu, editor of Pathlight magazine, and Karen Ma, first-time author of the well-received book Excess Baggage. Listen to the show online, or grab it manually to save or share online using our standalone mp3 download.

With both of our guests being women, our conversation starts out by talking about gender issues in the publishing industry, but from there segues into questions of Chinese identity, life abroad, and what sort of books the market supports. We eventually settle into the China-India rivalry with our own impressions about the differences between the two countries, not only in terms of the air quality, but also how New Dehli stacks up against Beijing in the literary scene.

Sinica - Shoptalk on Publishing

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 05:52

This week on Sinica, Jeremy Goldkorn is pleased to be joined by two people navigating the English-language publishing industry as it involves China: Alice Xin Liu, editor of Pathlight magazine, and Karen Ma, first-time author of the well-received book Excess Baggage. Listen to the show online, or grab it manually to save or share online using our standalone mp3 download.

With both of our guests being women, our conversation starts out by talking about gender issues in the publishing industry, but from there segues into questions of Chinese identity, life abroad, and what sort of books the market supports. We eventually settle into the China-India rivalry with our own impressions about the differences between the two countries, not only in terms of the air quality, but also how New Dehli stacks up against Beijing in the literary scene.

Elementary - The Starbucks Dance

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 01:00

Popup Towers has nothing against Starbucks. In fact, as a language training company, we admire the way they've found success getting otherwise sensible people to use made-up words like venti and trenta in normal conversation. Nonetheless, as occasional coffee drinkers ourselves, we also hope that someone at Starbucks listens to this lesson if only so that corporate headquarters gets a wake-up call about how insanely frustrating it is ordering a medium coffee anywhere in the Middle Kingdom.

Incidentally, if you're already used to learning Chinese with us you'll find this Chinese lesson a bit different than its predecessors. And that's because we don't really teach standard mandarin so much as the bizarre subset of it needed by anyone growing weary of repeating themselves about seventy or eighty times to make sure they get the right-sized drink, or going through the physical pantomime we call the "Starbucks dance", a highly repetitive ritual between you and your barista that involves rhythmic turn-based pointing at the cup rack.

Sinica - Trash Talk with Adam Minter

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 11:16

Anyone living in China doubtless has a sense of the unholy number of people who seem to be involved in the trash trade here, and who will ferret away everything from your cardboard boxes to plastic bottles faster than you can consume their contents. And maybe you've seen the opposite end of the supply chain, in televised shots of cities like Guiyu which seem to resemble nothing so much as the inner circles of Dante's inferno, upended and ripping apart consumer electronics with all of hell's fury.

But what is the real story behind the trash trade in China, and why does it remind us of the Godfather movies at times? Today on Sinica we find out the answers to these questions and many more in an interview with Adam Minter, author of Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade. We recorded this a few weeks ago during the Beijing Bookworm Literary Festival, and have been looking forward to today - the day we can finally bring it to your attention - for some time!

Enjoy Sinica? If you'd like to have new episodes of Sinica stream to your computer automatically as they're released, be sure to subscribe to us using iTunes. Or get into the spirit of Daoism and download shows week-by-week as we release them: you can grab this podcast right here as a standalone mp3 file. Specific feedback or suggestions for future guests or topics you'd like to hear covered are also welcome by email directly to Kaiser and Jeremy at sinica@popupchinese.com.

Reading exercise 99992

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 01:00

Lesson content (click to edit)