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Favorite Podcasts for Chinese Listening Practice

Why you should listen to other podcasts (besides mine)

Listening to a variety of voices is important to get better at listening comprehension. That is why I have been trying out several other podcasts. Of course, I want to remind you that you can listen to my podcast on-the-go for review and practice on either iTunes or Stitcher (and please consider rating and reviewing it if you find it of value). But I want to tell you which other podcasts I have tried and what I think of them.

A couple of really good Chinese podcasts

I will begin with two main podcasts that I like:

I Love Learning Chinese is a very enjoyable and well organized podcast taught by a father-daughter duo. The daughter is easy to understand. The father, not so much. I suspect it is a combination of his less than optimum use of the microphone and his almost lip-less enunciation. I don’t say this to be mean.

When I first started learning Chinese in Taiwan, my tutor at the time told me a funny story. He said that when he was trying to learn English, his teacher had to firmly tell him to use his lips! A lot of Chinese sounds do not use the lips very distinctly. Of course, in any language there is a range of how distinctly people enunciate. The less you are used to hearing a language, the more of a problem that is.

But back to the podcast description. The father’s lack of enunciation is overcome by the fact that the daughter also repeats almost everything. The good part of this is that you get to hear two different voices. The more I listen, the more I can understand the father.

Their companion website has all of the lessons in print form, so you can check up on what you think you are hearing. The lessons are well organized. Every few lessons they have a review lesson.

I get a lot from listening because it reinforces things I have already been exposed to from my Chinese tutor. I know it is very helpful to have someone who can answer your questions. That being said, I think you could learn a lot of Chinese from this podcast if you listen regularly and often and try to practice speaking whenever you get a chance with native speakers you run across.

I listen to this podcast on the Stitcher app on my iPhone many nights when I am going to sleep.

ChineseClass101.com is another podcast I have found useful for listening practice. I don’t rate it quite as highly because it has more filler English that seems more like banter. From my perspective, it is distracting when I am trying to concentrate on Chinese.

I am also not absolutely sure that the link above is the same group that does the podcast. It seems like it is, but their website is a little confusing. I have listened to this podcast on the Pocket Casts app. There are two speakers. One is a native English speaker who mostly speaks English. The other is a native Chinese speaker who does some of both languages.

I did go ahead and sign up for the 1 month $1 trial on the website I linked to. The first couple lessons were clear, but as I mentioned, I had trouble navigating the site after that. I think there is probably a lot there to listen to, but for someone trying to find their way to learn Chinese for the first time, it could be frustrating.

Extra easy and extra hard

The third podcast I like is super simple. It will not teach you much Chinese, but it is a fun way to be introduced to or review one specific word a day. It is called Chineasy and I also listen to it on Pocket Casts. It does look like their website has a lot more learning tools, but I have not looked into it further.

Learning Chinese through Stories is jam packed Chinese listening. It is a challenge for me, but I think could be worth it. The stories are definitely read with feeling. I think the videos on the website are helpful, although I find the visuals with many Chinese YouTube presentations frustrating. So this podcast is higher level listening practice, even at the beginning levels.

(I have written about a couple of YouTube channels in the past, but plan to write about more soon)

Chinese podcasts that aren’t very good

First, Popup Chinese seems to have some good episodes, but they are mixed with everything from book reviews to news. I tried listening to the first one and ended up hearing a book review about sex in China. I gave up after a while.

Slow Chinese seems like it could have potential, but I will never know because it never loads. All of my other podcasts load just fine, so I don’t think it is the app or my internet. For now I’m leaving it in my queue though.

Chinese Lessons by melnyks.com had some potential, but doesn’t seem like it is being updated. It was also a bit more tedious to listen to than my favorites. While I take into account that I can understand Chinese more than an absolute beginner, it is even slow compared to the absolute beginner lessons I have listened to.

Not all podcast on all apps

I hear that iTunes is still by far the most listened to podcast app, with Stitcher coming in second. I have my podcast registered on both of those, however I don’t like the iTunes app and listen to my podcasts on Stitcher or Pocket Casts.

Pocket Casts supposedly has all of the podcasts that are available on iTunes, but mine didn’t show up, so I know that’s not true. I have added it now. Here is the link: The Fun Learning Chinese Podcast on Pocket Casts.

The reason I added the Pocket Casts app is because someone recommended it when Stitcher always seemed a day later with a (non-Chinese) podcast we mutually listen to. This is verified by the fact that Stitcher has not yet posted my latest Fun Learning Chinese podcast! Overall, I have found Pocket Casts to be slightly more reliable than the Stitcher app, but there are some listings not available on both of those apps either.

What podcast app do you use?

Do you have a favorite podcast app? Would you be interested in having Fun Learning Chinese available on it? It is not too hard to submit a podcast, but there are SO many apps with a low percentage of the listeners! iTunes and Stitcher still have the majority of listeners so I haven’t submitted to other podcast platforms so far.

If you have Chinese podcasts you listen to to help your listening comprehension, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.