Easiest way to learn Chinese? ShaoLan shows us one way

The idea of learning Chinese would strike fear into many people. It is commonly seen as a super hard language, especially for western learners, and only suitable for the brightest of the bright.

Whilst it is true that Chinese is harder for a westerner to learn than most other languages. Getting started isn’t necessarily as hard as people think. Today’s students of Chinese have the benefit of many different resources, technologies and techniques that allow Chinese learning to fun and efficient.

This video from a recent TED presentation is a good illustration of the advantage today’s students have. The video clearly demonstrates learning Chinese that it isn’t too hard, even for those with absolutely no background knowledge or experience.

The speaker ShaoLan makes it seem easy by not only being charismatic, enthusiastic and knowledgeable (key for any teacher) but she is putting together a few basic tools for learning Chinese characters into a visual appealing format. She uses repetition, association, mnemonics, and builds more complex characters using the simpler characters you are already familiar with as building blocks. Many other Chinese teachers and study methods adopt similar approaches (e.g. Heisig, Skritter) but possibly not as visually appealing.


Giving people an easy first step into learning Chinese is always going to be a good thing. However, there is a Chinese phrase that is relevant here:  入门容易提高难 (rùmén róngyì tígāo nán) which essentially means that in all things starting is the easy part, improving is hard. It is really important when learning Chinese to be really clear on your goals, and ensuring that your study continues to push you forward towards all your goals.

Of course at our Chinese language school in Beijing then we not only have the enthusiastic and knowledgable teachers who can give you individual attention, but also we are committed to keeping our students up to date with all the best techniques and tools. After all everyone would like learning Chinese to be just that little bit easier.

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.


Where to download Chinese subtitles for movies

Recently, when I was surfing around on some Chinese learning websites, I noticed that some people were looking for a place where they can download  Chinese subtitles for movies. And Since watching movies is one of great ways to learn Chinese,  I’d like to share some resources today, hope it would be something helpful for those who want to learn Chinese by watching movies or for those just want it for entertainment.

The website I’d like to introduce is called 射手网-shooter.cn, it’s personal-owned website and has tons of subtitles from way back, probably any movie you can think of. You can download Chinese subtitles for Chinese or English movies, or English subtitles for Chinese or English movies.  How can you make it work to show up the subtitles then?

Here are the steps:

1. type in the name of the movie in search bar and search;

2. then download the subtitles to your computer;

3. to change the file name of subtitles and make sure all the subtitles in different language have the same file name with the movie file name; (please make sure you don’t change the file format)

4. lastly, if your video player recognize  the subtitle file, you should be able to have subtitle showed up and also you can switch between different subtitle languages as well.

One more tip: when you search for subtitles, mostly like there would be many versions available from different subtitle producers, but the only important thing you need to know is what languages available in each version of subtitle? There is a language section of each subtitle description, so you can find out what languages  are available, the most common languages available are simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese and English. here are two examples:

subtitle languages: English, traditional Chinese, Dutch and French.

Subtitle languages: English, simplified and traditional Chinese.

Hope this post would be helpful to you and let me know in comment if you run into any problem.

In next post, I will share more about the video player developed by shooter.cn called Splayer.

The Digital Story of The Nativity

I’d like to share this creative, funny and cute story of the Nativity to say Merry Christmas-圣诞快乐!

How social media, web and mobile tell the story of the Nativity.
Christmas story told through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Wikipedia, Google Maps, GMail, Foursquare, Amazon…

Times change, the feeling remains the same

If unfortunately you are in mainland China, here is the video on Tudou

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/


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

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.

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.