Chinese History Podcast review

Learning Chinese history 101

We have previously mentioned on this blog the importance of understanding culture , and how understanding history is an important part of understanding culture. Having had time to listen to more of the Chinese History Podcasts by Laszlo Montgomery, then I am happy to continue to recommend the podcasts series.

There are other ways of getting up to speed on your Chinese history, but Laszlo’s easy way of narrating, depth of research, and making a story out of the details makes it a good option for me.

However, with each podcast episode being 30 minutes long, and there already being over a hundred podcasts in the series, some readers may find it helpful to be pointed to the podcasts that are particularly relevant and helpful for understanding current Chinese culture and attitudes.

 

China History Podcast Screen shot

Recommended Episodes

Of the recent podcasts I have listened to then in my opinion, the following episodes were particularly interesting

  • CHP-048 The Founding of the CCP
  • CHP-053 China in the Early 1920s
  • CHP-055 The Shanghai Massacre 1927
  • CHP-056 China and Japan 1895-1945
  • CHP 058 Sir Robert Hart

(Prior to this, Laszlo had been concentrating on doing broad Summaries of each dynasty starting with the Qin dynasty (episode 2), and finishing with the Qing Dynasty (episodes 35-41), but it is now that he is covering the events of the 20th Century that the history becomes particularly relevant. )

China history podcast on itunes

Useful lesson for language students

The episode on Sir Robert Hart contains a helpful reminder for all us language students: succeeding in China is not just about becoming fluent in the language. Sir Robert Hart succeeded where his predecessor (Horatio Nelson Lay) failed despite both these men became entirely fluent in Chinese. The key reason for this disparity is that it seems that Hart made the effort to really understand the culture and have respect for the people he was working with, which Horatio Nelson Lay failed to do.

You can listen to the full story play on iTunes, or via the China history podcast website. Let us know what you think.

Top 5 Chinese video websites

Note: There are many changes about Chinese video websites since I wrote last post “Top 3 Chinese video websites” almost two years ago, so I’d like to write some updates on this post and will try to cover all the popular video sites in China. Hope those video sites, not only for fun, but also will be helpful resources for you to learn Chinese and practice your Chinese listening skills.

1. Youku video http://www.youku.com/

I personally like Youku the most because of its video content,  speed, clean design and the least amount of embedded ads, I think it’s one of the best video websites here in China.

2.  http://tv.sohu.com/

It’s owned by Sohu.com, also great video content, high quality movies, TV shows, one of the most popular video sites in China.

3.  http://www.iqiyi.com/

It’s run by Baidu, even though Baidu entered this video market later than others,  iqiyi.com started with only high quality video route, now it’s becoming popular now, again great video content and video quality.

4.  http://v.qq.com/

I think if you know a little bit China, you should at least heard of QQ which is  the No.1 and most popular instant messenger in China and has hundreds of million active users.  With that being said, QQ video sites quickly and easily became the most visited video site because of it’s enormous active users.

5.  http://video.sina.com.cn/

It’s owned by Sina.com.cn, a lot of video content, I often watch sports video on  Sina Video site,  I feel like it has more sports video than other video sites, that is one thing I like it about. And you probably heard of Sina Weibo (Chinese version Twitter), it’s became one of big thing in China now, I may write another post about Weibo later.

These are the top five video sites in China I personally visit most frequently.  You may heard of other video sites from other people or elsewhere, however,  I would not to recommend them at all because of their crappy content or ugly ads.

And above 5 video sites covers latest news videos, movies, TV shows, sports videos, technology,  music and much more,  These websites would not only be helpful for practicing your Chinese listening skills, but also for providing you with another means through which you can better understand China.

So go ahead check out yourself, I hope you find something fun and useful. Let me know in comment if there is a particular video you try to find.

 

a great Chinese video player

 As I mentioned in previous post,  today I’d like to share more about the  Chinese video player-Splayer, it’s neat, safe and really high performance  video player I’ve ever used.  It has many great features, and the one feature I like most is that it automatically matches and downloads movies subtitles itself from shooter.cn, so you don’t need to find the movie subtitle manually  yourself.

What can it do for learning Chinese? You probably heard from other Chinese learners that it’s great way to learn Chinese by watching Chinese movies, so if you are planing to do so, then this video player can do you a great help by using its subtitle automatic download and almost all the Chinese movies has both English and Chinese subtitles which download from shooter.cn.  I believe you can learn some real Chinese by learning from Chinese movies.

FYI, here is the post about downloading Chinese movie subtitles from shooter if you want to know more.

Other great features about this video player are smooth playback, low consumption, HD quality, Intelligent subtitle display technology and clean/beautiful interface.

More detail information about Splayer and downloading this video player, can be found here: http://splayer.org/index.en.html

Hope you find this post helpful, please let me know if you run into any problem or need any help with finding a certain Chinese movie.

 

Zhongwen: A Chinese Pop Up Translator for Chrome

Here’s another one for all you Chinese-learning Google Chrome users out there- this follows suit after our previous post about the Perapera-kun Chinese translator plugin for Firefox. Likewise, Zhongwen is a Google Chrome extension that brings up pop-up translations of Chinese characters and words from webpages that you are browsing.

 

The Zhongwen plugin translates both traditional and simplified Chinese characters into English, and uses the popular CEDICT Chinese English dictionary to do so. Most importantly, it also shows the Hanyu Pinyin along both the simplified and traditional characters.

Installing the Zhongwen plugin is quite a bit easier than the Perapera-kun plugin. All you need to do is navigate to the Zhongwen plugin page and click install; no separate dictionary file installation is required. Activating the plugin for use just requires you to click the plugin button in your browser, and mousing over Chinese characters will automatically call the translation popup to show.

Zhongwen Google Chrome Chinese Dictionary Popup Extension

 

Zhongwen Google Chrome Chinese Dictionary Popup Extension

 

To get started with the Zhongwen Extension:

1. Get the Google Chrome browser

2. Install the Zhongwen Extension

Happy surfing!

功夫梦 – The Karate Kid Streaming Online

For those who have yet to watch the latest 2010 remake of the 1984 “The Karate Kid”, you can stream it for free through QiYi.com (奇艺 qi2yi4); though I feel that the movie title should be changed to “The Kung Fu Kid”, since the Chinese title of the movie is 功夫梦  (gong1fu meng4 – aka: dreaming of Kung Fu), and the martial art in the movie is no longer the Japanese Karate, but the Chinese Kung Fu- but that’s just me =)


I hadn’t heard of QiYi before, so I did a bit of research, and I found out that the difference between qiyi.com and other mainland online streaming video services, such as tudou.com and youku.com, is that QiYi aims to gather all of its video content through legal means through several copyright intermediary sources. This also allows QiYi to obtain higher quality and resolution videos, which is pretty nice if you’re wanting to project a movie on a screen to watch with friends.

Here’s the direct link to The Karate Kid on QiYi.com
(http://www.qiyi.com/dianying/20100725/n26619.html)

By the way, if you are those who would like to learn Chinese by watching movies, I’d recommend a product launched recently, it’s great option for those who wanted to learn Chinese in a casual and fun way.

Perapera-kun: A Chinese Pop Up Translator for Firefox

I wanted to highlight an awesome translator pop-up tool for those who use the Firefox internet browser, called Perapera-kun. Perapera-kun is an extension add-on for Firefox that acts as a pop-up translator for Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, into English or German. I haven’t tried out the Korean, Japanese, or German dictionaries, but the Chinese-to-English dictionary provides translated meanings of words, and also the pinyin pronunciation of the word. This is a great tool to have if you’re wanting to venture into the Chinese net-space to browse some local BBS forums or news sites.

 

 

To get started with Perapera-kun:

1. Get the Firefox browser

2. Install the Perapera-kun add-on

3. Install the Chinese-to-English dictionary file

(Note: The Perapera-kun website is hosted on a WordPress site, which is blocked by the Chinese firewall. Here is a direct link to the Chinese-to-English dictionary file)

Happy surfing!

A high-quality Chinese video website


Today,  we are introducing to you a high-quality Chinese video site: 奇艺(qí yì). It’s like Hulu.com in China. Their video quality is quite good, and stands out from other video sites in China. What’s more, they have many legal copies and full length movies, TV dramas and documentary films you can watch online for free. Please check it out at Qiyi video – www.qiyi.com.

We have a post about other Chinese video websites here, covering Youku.com, 56.com and Ku6.com. Among those four video sites, we would recommend Youku.com and Qiyi.com (they’re just like the Chinese version of Youtube and Hulu).

Mostly importantly, you can get access to tons of video resources to help you practice your Chinese listening and speaking.  Hope this post is helpful and let us know if you find anything interesting.

How to learn Chinese guide

Free Chinese language study guide available for download in pdf format. This useful Chinese study guide covers topics such as learning strategies, learning styles, maintaining motivation, overcoming barriers, memorizing vocabulary, and other issues in the study of Mandarin. Now freely available online with hard copies available at our Beijing Chinese language school.  Please feel free to share with your friends.