Wednesday, July 14, 2021
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Learning Chinese through audio books

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I actually was thinking about using chinese audiobooks to help with my reading. Im chinese American and I can speak relatively fluently with my family but I my reading level is probably like elementary level. Ive tried watching chinese dramas with Chinese subs. The problem is I get super into the drama and I just want to watch it instead of learn Chinese lol. I can understand like 60-70% of whats going on but my vocabulary is not great so when they say things I dont know I get so frustrated and paranoid Im missing important plot points so I end up changing to watching with English subtitles. I figured if I read a Chinese book with audio to help me with characters I dont know, that maybe I could learn to read without audio eventually. The only thing is Im not sure where to start. Id like a relatively easy but fun to read book. Do you have any recommendations?

I have not found this to be true in Chinese literature. Instead, it seems that highly held works of literature are linguistically more complicated, referential and fancy. Also, many Chinese novels have strong dialectal streaks, which can make it even harder. This is true for some English novels as well, but Ive rarely found this to be a problem.

hi , i am trying to learn a just a begginer, and i saw on youtube a little prince, with english and pinyin and mandarin and if someone has a pdf please share a download link

This isnt because my listening ability is bad, but because written Chinese is much more distant from colloquial Chinese than written English is from spoken English. There are many words that are only used in writing, abbreviations or contractions that make more sense if you see the characters and a very large number of near-homonyms. This makes listening to an audio book considerably harder than reading it, given roughly equal listening and reading competence.

Note that you can usually save streamed audio pretty easily, but thats not something I will describe in detail here, but check this article in Wired:

is of course the most important factor. Try to find a book that interests you and which isnt too literary or contains too much dialect you dont understand. I suggest modern fiction in a modern setting.  Ask Chinese friends for recommendations.I have written about how to ease yourself into reading novels in Chinese, and the same principles apply to listening to novels as well.

It took a while to get used to it, but once I had established the proper habits, I consumed a few novels a week, adding up to as much as 100 books per year.

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The reason Im saying all this is because you shouldnt be disappointed if youre an intermediate learner and find audio books difficult. They will be, probably for a long time. I suggest proceeding with audio books only if you can already understand most of the Chinese you hear around you in an everyday setting.

Learn Chinese in Chinawith CLI and emerge speaking Mandarin.

Theres nothing wrong with listening to the first chapter a couple of times. You probably need less re-listening after that, but feel free to do it as much as you feel necessary to understand the gist of each chapter. This is the easiest way of increasing understanding, but if you find it too boring, dont do overdo it.

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Speedy Vocab- An interactive flashcard system for learning the HSK vocabulary.

i wil learn mandarin in next 100 years as slow as i am and audio and i enjoy

This is actually easier than it sounds, since by keeping to the same resource, many factors remain constant (such as speaker and style) or at least similar (e.g. content). Variety is good, but it also requires more effort to cope with. You can read the entire articlehere.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day;

Listening to a novel in Chinese is not easy. It takes practice both getting used to the book, the narrator, the story and even audio books in general if youre not used to it already from listening to books in English. As usual, the more you practise, the easier it becomes.

Selecting the audio book that is right for you

is sometimes important. It will be much harder to understand something set in an unfamiliar time or place, so choose something which is as familiar as possible. This probably means a modern setting, which also increases the likelihood that the language is suitable.

There are also many browser plugins that allow you to download streamed media.

Here are some important factors to consider:

Im chinese canadian. I was thinking of getting into cd audio book + book to do with my 6 year old. Can you recommend anything? We are reading James and the giant peach by Dahl which is quite good. But i cant find it in chinese. Any other suggestions?

Another factor is that in English, there are many authors who write in a very simple style. In other words, you can be a world-famous author while still writing in plain English, indeed some authors are famous at least partly because they do this (Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene come to mind).

It shouldnt come as a surprise to anyone that I found it much more difficult to apply this kind of massive input method to learning Chinese. There are many reasons for this. To start with, I dont feel that there is a big difference between reading and listening to a novel in English, whereas in Chinese, the difference is huge.

Audio books are a great way of learning and the best kind of long-form content I know. Have you listened to any books in Chinese? Please post a comment and share your experience. If you liked the book, please give some more information so that other readers can listen to the book too!

How to listen to your first audio book

I havent listened to enough books to be able to suggest a good book which is also relatively easy to follow, but the most suitable book Ive listened to so far is by . Its a thriller/horror story (not very scary though) in a modern setting. There are also two sequels if you want more.

Instead, I would suggest that you read with digital support. That makes looking things up a lot easier and you can spend more time actually reading. Read morehere. As for particular book recommendations, I think thats really hard. I probably dont like the books you do. ? You could always checkthis postwhere I write about some books Ive read.

Now that you have selected an audio book, its time to start listening. But how? Here are my suggestions:

There are many ways to find audio books in Chinese. You can of course buy and/or download them from a number of websites (just search for the book title plus /, but the best way is to use one of the many apps and sites that stream audio, usually for free. This allows you to try many books before you settle on one you actually want to listen to.

Yes there are now a bunch of childrens books AND a series of books of simplified chapters from journey to the west that are available. They are in pinyin and simplified Chinese with English translation and a downloadable audio track. I recommend them!

When you first start out, it helps a lot to have access to the text version of the book. This can make it easier to get used to the book. This is of course provided that your reading is up to par, but I think reading a book is still easier than listening to it for most students.

Here are some apps/sites Ive used:

In last weeks article,I talked about the importance of using long-form over bite-sized contentwhen it comes to building volume. To summarise, its very hard to listen to enough audio if you only listen to snippets, you need longer programs or audio books to increase the amount of listening at an advanced level.

As promised, I will now talk about using audio books to learn in particular.

teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

is also extremely important. The most common problem is that the narration is too dramatic, which means the narrator changes volume, tempo and style according to the requirements of the story. This can be very hard to listen to! I recommend narrators that are as close to normal relaxed reading as possible. This might be less interesting for native speakers, but its easier for non-native speakers to listen to.

Smart Chinese Reader- 100% free; browser with popup dictionary; translation; pronunciation; example sentences

I think audio books, at least if were talking novels, will not be extremely helpful. They contain an awful lot of vocabulary that are mostly found mostly in novels, so if you have lots of vocabulary yet to learn from dramas, there will probably me a lot more in any novel, including formal/written/literary language. I think the difference between the written and spoken language in Chinese is much bigger when it comes to vocabulary than it is in English. Im not saying you shouldnt try, just that it probably wont be easy. ?

In order to listen to enough Chinese, you need long-form content

Listening to a Chinese novel written with an unfamiliar regional flavour is a bit like giving the audio version of Anthony BurgessA Clockwork Orangeto an intermediate learner of English. Good luck!

There are a number of factors you should keep in mind when selecting an audio book. Since many of these vary a lot, you might need to try several before you choose one to actually stick with. This essential, donotjust choose one randomly and dive in, because it might be many times harder than it needs to be.

I have learnt English to my current level without ever having lived in an English-speaking country. I attribute this mostly to very large amounts of input, mostly in the form of books. When I was around 20, I figured that I would never be able to read all the books I wanted to read, so I started listening to audio books as a complement to reading normally.

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