Learning Chinese Through Listening – Stream Chinese TV Dramas Online

Chinese TV Drama Online StreamingThe three mantras that seem to be drilled into any student trying to learn the Chinese language is: “多看, 多说, 多听” (duo4kan4, duo4shuo4, duo4ting1), meaning: “read a lot, speak a lot, and listen a lot”, of Chinese that is.

Moving to China to live or study is one way to practice these three directives, however, probably not an option everyone can take. One other way to help with your Chinese learning is to pick up a Chinese TV drama to follow, and I’ve heard many-a-story of friends learning to speak Chinese, or a dialect of Chinese by watching a Chinese TV series.

Fortunately, there are many options and methods of finding Chinese TV shows to follow online, and which also allow you to stream the shows online for free as well.

Youku, iqiyi, QQ video, Sohu video and Sina video are five popular websites that are solely dedicated to not only  streaming Chinese TV dramas online, but also Chinese movies online .

For more information about those five Chinese video websites, please see my another post here :  http://blog.1on1mandarin.com/chinese-video/


Read Bilingual News, Learn Chinese

Check out sl.iciba.com to read current news with English on the top and Chinese on the bottom. Although there is no pinyin, you can see the meaning of Chinese words in their context.

In the definition window you can see definitions and bilingual example sentences, although many of the example sentences seem quite obscure. You can also search for other Chinese words directly from the pop-up window.


Do you have any other useful English/Chinese bilingual websites? Share them in the comments.

Free language resource: How to Learn Chinese

Please download How to learn Chinese Guide and feel free to share with your friends.

This useful guide covers topics such as learning Chinese strategies, learning styles, maintaining motivation, overcoming barriers, memorizing vocabulary, and various other issues. Now freely available online with hard copies available at our Chinese language school in Beijing.

We’ve heard some positive feedback about this practical learning Chinese guide from our current students. Hope it’ll help you improve your Chinese as well!

One of the most useful sections is about learning Chinese  strategies. These chapters contain ideas such as different ways to use flash cards, recording yourself, saying the action that you are doing, grouping items or topics, labeling items, or looking for similarities. Other useful topics include maintaining motivation and learning from high achievers.

If you’ve downloaded and read some of the content, or have tried it out, let us know your thoughts down in the comments.

P.S. if you prefer to read or download individual chapters online, please see our How to learn Chinese page.


China news websites in Chinese

It’s been awhile since last post,  part of reason is that one of our main blogger Sarah was busy with another program and now she is leaving for US to pursue her musical dream. She is one of the most awesome person I’ve ever worked with, all the best for Sarah.

Today, we’d like to introduce some China news sites,  if want to practice and challenge your reading, below are some websites would be very helpful.

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Google资讯-Google Chinese news


南方周末-Southern Weekend


凤凰网-Ifeng (Hong Kong)


新加坡联合早报网-Singapore Zaobao


经济和金融-Economics and Finance

FT中文网-Financial Times in Chinese


华尔街日报-Wall Street Journal in Chinese




IT and Internet


http://www.itxinwen.com IT新闻网

基督教新闻-China Christian News

Gospel Herald, http://www.gospelherald.cn/

Gospel Times, http://www.gospeltimes.cn/

1on1 Class vs. BLCU language programs

I’ve been considering the pros and cons of learning Chinese through language programs in a university classroom setting compared to small 1-on-1 language schools like 1 on 1 Mandarin.

Consider BLCU. It is widely known that their curriculum is world-class and that many of their foreign students come out of their programs with a great understanding of the Chinese language. However, the one clear weakness with this is the quality of spoken language it produces. For the extroverted student, this weakness may be diminished by their desire to get out and speak to Chinese people, but it still does not provide a direct and constant source of correction for their pronunciation and tones.

Now consider how that compares with 1-on-1 learning. A 1-on-1 learning environment can provide all of the benefits of the same type of curriculum offered at places like BLCU, but with the emphasis on quality spoken language included. Even the introverted student is forced to speak and improve his or her spoken Chinese.

I was speaking to a Chinese friend recently who wants to improve her spoken English. She told me how all of the English she learned from childhood was focused on passing a reading and writing test. She said that she, along with many other Chinese students, can write and read English fairly well, but when it comes to speaking, they are lacking because it was never emphasized when they were going to school.

Of course, reading and writing in any language we intend to work in has great value, but on a daily basis, relationships and even just functioning in everyday life, 90% of our language is speaking and listening.

(Shared by Joel, about himself- “I moved to Beijing over one year ago at the age of 50 and began studying Chinese. My wife is now teaching at a kindergarten and we are enjoying many of the opportunities that come from living in the great city.” Lastly……

Wondering how Joel speaks Chinese now?-watch his youtube video of speaking Chinese!

Choosing Your Curriculum I

Once you have evaluated your goals, finalized options of where to study, whether to study in a 1on1 setting or in a group setting, and at which school, it is now time to decide on a curriculum to follow.

Most foreigners, when arriving to China and starting language study, are very ambitious about surviving in China and thereby very eager to converse in Chinese. Therefore, the goal is to explore the most effective textbooks that are widely used to get one speaking and understanding Mandarin. In universities, most will employ books published by their own institution. For example, Tsinghua University will select textbooks published by Tsinghua University.

At our 1on1 Mandarin language school, popular textbooks for beginner and intermediate level learners are Chinese Made Easier, New Practical Chinese Reader, and Step By Step Chinese.

New Practical Chinese Reader aims to balance conversation, reading, writing, and listening. A good choice for the learner that wants to learn all aspects of the Chinese language with equal focus. Some students mention that the book can be quite boring and systematic.

Step By Step Chinese is an excellent choice for those that want to not only focus on oral communication but also want to sound like a local; in that they start learning some colloquial terminology or phrases. There is a lot more character recognition required with these series of books, so the student will also have a lot of reading practice.

Chinese Made Easier focuses a lot on oral communication, but not so much on reading and writing. Characters are introduced but at a slower pace than other textbooks as to not overwhelm the language learner. The grammar is also explained very clearly so that it becomes easy to understand how grammar structures are used. Many students also appreciate the textbook for how systematic it is. Although this would be a downfall for those who don’t like predicatability and routine methods of study. Another caution with Chinese Made Easier is that once your proficiency level advances, you may find it difficult to find advanced level textbooks that are suitable because almost all textbooks are in characters and have no pinyin.

It would be a great idea to get some feedback from other experienced language students also on what curricula they recommend.

Advantages/Disadvantages of 1on1 Chinese class setting

In our previous post, we talked about the advantages and disadvantages of studying in a group setting. Today, we will look at the pros and cons of 1on1 Chinese class study.

1on1  class Study: Advantages
In a 1on1 setting, students are able to maximize their speaking time, provided that the teacher is not dominating the classroom time and allowing students to do the speaking. 1on1 learning is very effective for the learner that wants to be able to engage in oral conversation with the local Chinese. Within a matter of 6 months, the language student will be able to comfortably communicate in Chinese. Many 1on1 learners enjoy being able to customize their own curriculum and focus on their goals and needs. Because students are able to get a lot of attention from their teachers in a 1on1 setting, teachers are able to catch frequent mistakes and help correct them.

1on1 Study: Disadvantages
Learning 1on1 can be quite intense and therefore quite tiring. Some students find that learning 1on1 can be quite expensive. Some students may find that they are bored without other classmates learning with them; therefore, some students prefer being in group classes.

Both group study and 1on1 study carry their pros and cons – no one way is better than the other. Therefore, it is important to evaluate your goals, how much money you have, and what your options are location wise.

Advantages/Disadvantages of a Group Setting

In deciding at which institution to study, it may be helpful to first decide whether you want to study in a group classroom or individually with a teacher. There are advantages and disadvantages to both; however, taking a look at the pros and cons will be helpful. Today, we will look at the advantages and disadvantages of Group Studying. The next blog will be devoted to examing the pros and cons of 1on1 Chinese learning.

Group Study: The Advantages
When a classroom of 4 students are put together in a classroom and they are matched fairly well, in that their language level is about the same, group study is quite effective for all parties. Your classroom peers may ask the teacher questions you never would have thought to ask. Teachers can also have fun coming up with fun dialogue activities and other activities to facilitate student learning. It is also very motivating to have other classmates to study with -there is an encouragement in knowing that when your going through times of discouragement in language, others are there “suffering” with you. Whereas learning 1 on 1 with a teacher can be quite intense and draining, group study is obviously less intense. Some students prefer this, and study more effectively in a less intense situation.

Group Study: The Disadvantages
In a group situation, students will not get as much as attention from the teacher as one would in a 1 on 1 class setting. Therefore, the teacher may not be able to meticulously correct tones, pronunciation, and grammar mistakes. If you’re wanting to dominate conversation time, this will not happen. Therefore, your speaking time in class will be reduced because of having to share that time with other students. Other types of suggestions you would want to make in class would first need to be agreed upon by other classmates. Therefore, depending on your classmates, there may not be as much flexibility to learn other things outside of the set curriculum.

Choosing Where to Study: Studying in China

Studying in China is the most ideal way to learn Chinese. But the question remains: where on earth does one start with picking a city and school at which to study? Many who have studied in China in the past would recommend that Beijing, China’s capital, is THE place to learn Mandarin Chinese, as Beijing’s Mandarin is considered the most standard across China.

Studying at a university or at a private language institution in Beijing are both great options. Making the decision of whether to study at a university or private language school depends largely on whether you’re looking to study in a group setting with a set curriculum, or whether you’re looking to study in a one teacher to one student setting with a curriculum custom-tailored to your needs. At this point it would be helpful to identify what your goals are for learning Mandarin. It’s helpful to know that on a day to day basis, communication is spent orally about 80% to 90% of the time.

If your aim is to get a language credit and be fairly strong in reading and writing, then university is the way to go. Many popular destinations are Tsinghua, Peking, and Beijing Language and Culture University.

However, if you’re looking to be able to converse fluently and within a condensed period of time, private language study is the best choice. The teacher will be able to give you the attention you need to correct your mistakes, and give you the time you need to do most of the speaking during class time.

1on1 Mandarin is a private language school that specializes in one teacher per student customized language training. Within 6 months, students are able to confidently converse in basic everyday conversation. Within a year, students speak at a more fluent, intermediate level, and are able to carry on conversations with ease. After 2 years of study, students are speaking at an advanced level and are ready to take the HSK exam to then be able to take university courses in Chinese (other than Chinese language courses) at Chinese universities. Check out our school to learn Chinese in Beijing.

Choosing Where to Study: Studying Outside of China

Whatever language one is learning, complete immersion in the host language and culture is ideal; therefore, it is ideal for a prospective Chinese language student to live and study Chinese in China for any extended period of time. However, for many, lack of time, lack of money, and other circumcumstances will make it very difficult for overseas study in the mainland.

There are some good options for studying Chinese, such as taking online courses and interacting with live native Chinese teachers. Taking language courses at a university or college is another great option. Check out your local institutions for more details on class start dates and curriculum.

Outside of the classroom setting, it is important to use and listen to as much Chinese as possible, so take advantage of an environment that provides you with the opportunity to interact with Mandarin Chinese speakers like at a Chinese club, a local Chinese church, etc. Listening to the Chinese radio station and watching movies in Chinese is a great way to practice your listening skills.

Finally, it is important to remember that you will get out only as much as you put in. Having a great teacher is very important, but it is up to the language student to do his/her part also. One last thing: don’t forget to have fun!