Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Some More Resources For Learning Mandarin

I thought I'd share with you what I've been doing lately to try to learn as much Mandarin as I can by pointing out various resources that I regularly use to help in my learning. At this point, I can read a few common characters (about 50) and I can understand and speak some basic phrases.

I have already learned several songs I like and I will be enrolling in Mandarin classes at the end of March and I have several books and learning material to go through.

Whenever I can and whenever I'm on the computer (either surfing or blogging), I'll usually turn on the Internet radio station that plays Mandarin music. The site I go to connect is at Mandarin Radio and they usually play some current hits along with music that is not too old. This is the place where I get to know the music that's out there.

Unfortunately, like most other Internet radio stations, they are going to have to start paying royalties, which means they'll start limiting access unless you become a paid member. At this point, I'm not sure where I'll go to get up-to-date with Mandarin music.

If there are words or phrases (such as lyrics to songs) that are written in Chinese and I don't understand, what I'll usually do is bring up the Babel Fish page and I'll cut and paste the text I can't read and have it translated. Of course, the translations are 100% understandable, but at least you'd get the literal meaning.

Is there a Chinese word that you'd like to know how to pronounce? Check out the Chinese-English Dictionary where you can copy and paste a Chinese word, do a search, and it will return what it means and how to say it (using PinYin) along with several common uses of the word. To start the dictionary, click on the button "Start Chinese English Dictionary". Unfortunately, you can only do one Chinese character at a time.

Want to watch Mandarin TV? Well now you can! I found this site that has several live streaming TV stations that you can watch through the web - and it's free! They have several TV stations from Beijing, Taiwan, and several other cities. I've been checking out several of these TV stations and I was able to catch some talk shows, some TV dramas, and news. In fact, some of the shows have English subtitles! Check it out at Chinese Internet Television via Multilingual Books (scroll down to the bottom of the page for the list of TV stations).

Another great source of learning is a set of books I got called "Integrated Chinese". In it, it teaches you the basics and how to read and write both traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese. I have both the textbook and the workbook and I have just started to explore their online tools they have as well. I have the Level 1, Part 1 textbook and workbook, which will teach you about 350 Chinese words and how to use them. Once I complete this set of books, I may go on to Level 1, Part 2, which will introduce another 600 Chinese words. You can get these books through any online book retailer or bookstore.

Finally, you can always find Mandarin music videos or Mandarin TV shows on YouTube. In fact, you might be able to find complete TV series WITH English subtitles at YouTube, so be on the lookout. If you have trouble searching for that favorite Mandarin song, I find that it sometimes helps if you actually have the Chinese name of the singer and possibly the Chinese name of the song when you are doing your search.


Luu said...

Those are some great resources, you should list this site on your website it is a great for translating chinese characters:


Anonymous said...

Does anyone know of a streaming radio for business news, ala Bloomberg Radio? Would be a great way to learn conversational business chinese?

Anonymous said...

I think a really helpful dictionary is the MDBG online Chinese-English dictionary:

It has a lot of features for looking up words or translating long texts by cutting and pasting. Both traditional and simplified versions are shown and the pinyin is available in either the numbered tone (e.g., "shi4" or the accented letter ("shì"). A lookup by radical is there too, plus audio of all the possible characters to hear them said properly.

Another interesting site is Rikai.com which converts an entire Chinese web page, adding popup translations when you hold the mouse over a character.

-Roger, York PA

週休 said...

一起加油吧 ..................................................

Anonymous said...

時時刻刻抵抗誘惑,就是一種勝利。 ....................................................

順其自然 said...

every shoe fits not every foot. ....................................................

Anonymous said...

Hey J.C.,
Just wondering if you are still doing Prop Trading? If so, would you mind e-mailing me at sappjason@yahoo.com. I'm a software engineer and also (as of the last 2 years) a profitable automated day trader.


Jason Sapp