19 Most Common And Useful Chinese Idioms (You Can Actually Use)
Do you know what Chengyu means? Well, if you aren't a Chinese learner, you probably don't know.
While the best way to gain fluency in Chinese quickly is to work with a native Chinese speaking tutor, there are a lot of other resources out there that you can use to supplement your learning in your “spare time”.
One of the best ways to squeeze in some additional lessons at a time and place of your convenience is to listen to Chinese podcasts. There are many learn Chinese podcasts out there that can help you improve your vocabulary, understand tricky nuances of grammar, and improve your accent.
One of the main reasons why listening to podcasts can help people learn is that it is a convenient way to immerse yourself in the language.
One of the best ways to learn a language like Chinese quickly is to immerse yourself in it. In other words, you need to ensure that you get the chance to listen to people speaking in Chinese.
If you can’t travel to a place with a lot of Chinese speakers, one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the language is to listen to learn Chinese podcasts.
Learn Chinese podcasts allow you to get a good grasp on how actual Chinese speakers talk. So it will improve your ability to understand native speakers and familiarize yourself with how to pronounce difficult words, pick up slang terms and expressions, and help you develop the proper accent.
Podcasts devoted to teaching people how to speak Chinese will often tackle important but difficult questions about Chinese grammar rules and vocabulary. They are also often entertaining as the hosts will discuss interesting topics such as Chinese culture, history, news, and current events.
The best way to use podcasts to learn Chinese is to pick one or two and listen to them regularly.
Most podcasts release short episodes at least once a week. By following a podcast, or even subscribing to it, you can ensure that you are regularly learning new things about the Chinese language. Consistently listening to a podcast will help you absorb the lessons it has to teach better.
One major advantage of using podcasts to learn Chinese is that podcasts can be downloaded to your mobile device. This means that you don’t need to be connected to the internet to listen to a podcast.
Having downloaded podcast episodes on your mobile device allows you to listen to it on the go. You can play it when you are at a restaurant waiting for your friends or stuck in traffic on the way to work. You can even listen to podcasts while doing language shadowing.
In short, listening to learn Chinese podcasts are valuable and entertaining ways to gain fluency.
The podcasts we are going to list below are some of the best podcasts we know of that teach people how to speak Chinese.
ChineseClass101 offers thousands of short lessons on how to speak Chinese. The goal of these lessons is to help you understand real Chinese conversations. It is a good resource for beginner language learners.
Each episode starts by playing a bit of dialogue twice, once at normal speed and then again at a slower speed. The podcast host will then explain the vocabulary and grammar points in detail. They also explain the nuances of the language, including any idioms or expressions that were used.
One disadvantage to this podcast is that it’s available on a paid subscription basis. But, aside from the podcast episodes, you also get word lists, slideshows, flashcards, and other learning materials that make the subscription fee worth it.
This is a great podcast for learners of all levels and is one of the longest, continuously running learn Chinese podcasts out there. They began producing episodes in 2005 and they now have about 4,000 plus episodes arranged according to difficulty levels.
The lessons start with the two hosts engaged in dialogue. They will then talk about what they just talked about from a language learning perspective. They will talk about the vocabulary used and explain the rules of grammar which led them to say what they said. They will also discuss the cultural nuances of the topics they were talking about.
This podcast is not really free or not all free. They offer free beginner-level lesson podcasts, which you can find here but if you want to access more or lessons for higher levels, you will need to subscribe and pay.
They offer a range of monthly subscriber plans. Depending on the plan you decide on, you will not just gain access to the podcast episodes but learning extras like transcripts and additional audio files and exercises.
CLO offers Chinese language learning lessons over seven difficulty levels. All you need to do is determine what your level is, download the appropriate lessons, and start learning.
While they offer a subscription service with additional material, you can also access their lessons for free via a series of podcasts that you can find here.
The Coffee Break Academy is an online resource that offers language learning podcasts and other materials. They believe that you can learn a language on “your coffee break” and provide language learning podcast series with episodes of about 30 minutes in length.
Their Coffee Break Chinese series is one of their newest offerings. This podcast features two hosts, a Chinese woman called Crystal and a Scottish man called Mark.
Most episodes follow the format of Mark being the learner, putting together sentences or asking about various grammar rules, while Crystal corrects his mistakes and provides explanations.
The Coffee Break Chinese episodes are free, though you can also subscribe to a paid version which includes lesson notes and bonus audio files.
This is another podcast series that believes that hearing Chinese speakers actually speak is an invaluable technique for learning Chinese.
Each podcast episode begins with the hosts engaged in a dialogue over an agreed topic. They then summarize what they talked about in English before launching into an explanation of the different language points that were introduced.
There is also a premium version of this podcast, where the host will go over the lines of dialogue and explain them in detail.
This free podcast offers Chinese language learning episodes that start from the basics before gradually moving on to more difficult lessons. The first few episodes start with teaching you basic greetings and basic words.
On their website, they offer additional study materials to accompany each episode they release. This includes transcripts, additional audio files focusing on vocabulary words, and flashcard exercises.
This is a fun podcast that does what it says, teaches Chinese through storytelling.
Every episode presents a different story told in Chinese. The hosts will then explain different parts of the story as it goes on.
This podcast is probably best for people who have reached at least an intermediate level of Chinese language learning. It could be a bit too complicated for beginners. The average length of an episode ranges from a few minutes to over 20 minutes.
This podcast offers free short language lessons that focus on teaching you Mandarin Chinese. The episodes are only about seven or eight minutes long.
The first thing that the host does in every episode is to introduce some key vocabulary words and explain what they mean in English. There will then be a short dialogue using these words. The dialogue will be repeated twice, after which the hosts will begin to go through it line-by-line to better explain how the words were used and how the sentences using them were constructed.
Mandarin Bean produces learn Chinese podcast episodes for language learners of all levels. On their webpage, you can search for episodes that are appropriate for your level of learning. They also, however, allow you to search for specific topics. So, if you are interested in a specific topic such as travel or history, you will find episodes tagged as being about those subjects so you are sure to find a podcast episode that you will enjoy.
There are no hosts on this podcast. Rather, the episodes start by having you listen to a story or some dialogue. The focus is to teach you grammar and improve your vocabulary by exposing you to the language. They also offer learning tools for each episode such as a transcript, an English translation, and a vocabulary list.
Online Chinese Learning course Mandarin Blueprint aims to teach people to read and understand basic Mandarin Chinese in 2 months.
It has a podcast that you can subscribe to if you don’t want to take their whole course. You can find the episodes here as well as on your personal favorite podcast app.
This free podcast offers lessons in Mandarin Chinese that are meant to be progressive. The first lessons are very basic and geared towards beginner learners. Each lesson builds on the previous ones, increasing in difficulty and building up your ability to speak and understand Chinese.
Each episode is about 20 minutes and starts with the host introducing new Chinese vocabulary words to the listener. The host will repeat the words slowly several times, allowing the listener to become familiar with how it is pronounced before explaining the meaning behind the words and showing how to use them in complete sentences.
There are about 275 lessons available in this “course”. You can download the first 25 episodes for free here, but you will need to sign up and subscribe for the rest.
If you sign up and subscribe, you will also get PDF lesson transcripts for each episode.
The host of this podcast takes great pains to speak “slow Chinese”. Dialogue is deliberately spoken at a slower than average pace in order to make it easier for listeners to follow along.
There are transcripts available for each lesson, which last for only about 3 to 5 minutes each.
This is a free podcast that releases a new episode every week. Most episodes are about 25-minutes long and geared towards beginner and lower-intermediate language learners.
The hosts tackle interesting topics that are related to Chinese culture, focusing on making sure that their listeners learn to understand and use everyday Chinese. They are especially good at talking about and explaining Chinese idioms and expressions.
This podcast was spawned by the Chineasy book series. The podcast offers 7-minute daily Chinese lessons.
Every episode, host ShaoLan has special guests who share stories that not only teach you how to use a useful Chinese phrase but also provide you with some unique and interesting cultural insights.
Listening to podcasts about learning Chinese is a great way to familiarize yourself with how native speakers really speak. It is also a great way to pick up some interesting Chinese idioms, expressions, and even swear words.
Following a good language, learning podcast is also a great way to supplement the lessons that you have with your online native Chinese-speaking tutor. When you don’t have a lesson scheduled for the day, you can just pop in some earbuds and listen to the podcast episodes that you downloaded.
You should probably let your tutor know that you are listing to Chinese language podcasts. Don’t be afraid to discuss topics you heard on a podcast with your tutor or “practice” the dialogue you heard on the podcast with them. They might also have some good recommendations for podcasts that they like that you can listen to and follow as well.
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