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You Can Learn Chinese

Language Learning Podcasts

You can Learn Chinese, a podcast by Jared Turner and John Pasden of Mandarin Companion. Hear Chinese learning experts discuss how to learn Mandarin!

You can Learn Chinese, a podcast by Jared Turner and John Pasden of Mandarin Companion. Hear Chinese learning experts discuss how to learn Mandarin!


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You can Learn Chinese, a podcast by Jared Turner and John Pasden of Mandarin Companion. Hear Chinese learning experts discuss how to learn Mandarin!




#66 8 Tips for Using Your Dictionary

A dictionary is frequently one of the first things you buy when learning a language. In this episode, John and Jared will give you tips and tricks and do’s and don’ts on Chinese dictionaries, so you can get the most out of them for your learning gain. The guest interview is with Matt Coss, a Chinese-language educator and Ph.D. candidate who is helping to craft the future of Chinese education. Links from the episode: Interagency Language Roundtable Language Skill Level DescriptionsPleco...


#65 Going all the way: Graduate studies in Chinese

What does it take to pursue a graduate-level degree in Chinese in China? With our resident expert, John Pasden, we’ll pull back the curtain to show you what it takes for a non-Chinese person to get admitted into an all-Chinese university program and what studying in China at a graduate level is like. This guest interview is with Tom Connelly, a multilingual worldwide adventurer who is channeling his passion into teaching others the Chinese language. He’s currently working on a master’s...


#64 Tips and tricks for typing Chinese

You’ve got the basics down. Sounds like you’re ready to type Chinese! John and Jared talk about how Chinese input methods work and, for the more advanced learners, teach you tips and tricks to make Chinese input less painful and time-consuming. Interview is with Suzy Williams who learned Chinese fully immersed in Taiwan while serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Links from the episode: Chinese Input MethodsPlecoZhihuHack Chinese Thanks for...


#63 The truth about vocabulary

Language is words, so learn enough words and you’ll be fluent, right? As a sophisticated learner, you know it’s not that simple. In this episode, we discuss the subtleties of vocabulary learning, how it is (and isn’t) like Legos, what “high-frequency” means, and how to apply all of this to your studies. The guest interview is with Mischa Wilmers from England. For all of you who wanted to learn Chinese during lockdown, Mischa did it and shares how he achieved proficiency with little...


#62 Make your language learning learner-centric

John and Jared discuss what it means to be “learner-centric” and how you can adapt your learning methods to fit your own goals. You’ll get insights into the new HSK and other standardized tests, ACTFL’s “Can-Do” statements, and Mandarin Companion standards. These are all things you can use right away! The guest interview is with Robin MacPherson, a highly enthusiastic polyglot who speaks eight languages and documents his language learning on YouTube. Links from the episode: Why I’m a Fan...


#61 National Chinese Language Conference 2021 Report: Hope for all Chinese learners

Recently, Mandarin Companion participated in the 2021 National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC), and the topics discussed provided quite a bit of insight into what is in store for the future of Chinese learning, since methods applied in schools trickles down to affect all learners. Spoiler alert: the future is bright! Guest interview with Jonathan Becker, a college student who was placed into his Universities intermediate Chinese level after just 4 months of learning all due to, yep, you...


#60 How Chinese food can help your Chinese

Everyone loves Chinese food, but if only there were a way to tie your love for the cuisine into progress learning the language. Well, there is! ...sort of. Tune in to learn what to do and what not to do so that your stomach stays full as your Mandarin levels up. Guest interview with James Wong who, despite a severe hearing disability, worked hard to overcome the odds and made impressive progress towards learning Chinese. Prepare to be inspired by James’ journey. Links from the...


#59 Bridging to Breakthrough and Abigail Washburn

What if you are still struggling to get to the point where you can read the lowest level graded readers? What techniques can get you there? John and Jared will discuss steps you can take to bridge the gap to real reading and also begin to experience the snowball effect of reading in Chinese. Guest interview is with Abigail Washburn, a Grammy Award winning bluegrass musician, whose plans to attend law school in Beijing were derailed by a record deal. Links from the episode: How to Learn to...


#58 Will Chinese become the next global language?

Will Chinese one day unseat English to become the dominant language around the world? Jared and John discuss a paper by professor Jeffery Gil who predicts that one day it will. Guest interview is with Amani Core who provides a philosophical perspective on how Chinese shapes our view of humanity. Links from the episode: “Chinese to Rise as a Global Language”These Violent Delights Thanks for listening to the podcast! Please write John and Jared a review on Apple Podcasts and they’ll give...


#57 What’s in a Chinese surname?

You probably know a bit about Chinese surnames, but in this episode you’ll learn how they relate to both Chinese culture and language acquisition plus how they can even help you forge new relationships in Chinese. Guest interview is with Chris Marquis (of the China Corner Office podcast), business professor from Cornell University specializing in China, who has been using Chinese all across China for years as part of his research. Links from the episode: The Top 100 Chinese SurnamesChinese...


#56 When should you start learning characters?

John and Jared unpack when you should start learning Chinese characters so you can find your own answer that might be later or earlier than you might think. Guest interview is with Adam DiFrisco who found the courage to make huge life changing decisions that brought him to China. Links from the episode: Chinese Grammar Wiki Book: Upper IntermediateMandarin Companion grammar points on the Chinese Grammar WikiCharacter-based Sign LanguageLearning Chinese via Twitch - WiredSpeak Chinese With...


#55 Flashcards, spaced repetition software, and building proficiency

John and Jared talk about flashcards and spaced repetition software, how they can help, their limits, and how to use them to build your Chinese skills. This guest interview is with Mandarin Blueprint cofounder Luke Neale, who felt the call of Chinese pulling him back to China, changing his life forever. Links from the episode: SRS flashcards: Pros and cons – Sinosplice Jekyll and Hyde – level 2 graded reader – Netflix movie finder for other languages Mandarin Companion...


#54 Putting the Drama into Chinese Class

John and Jared review a paper written by a professor who incorporated graded readers and theater into a Chinese class. You’ll discover why it was so effective at helping students learn and gather even more ways to get creative with your graded readers. Guest interview is with Denis Suslov, a Russian who moved to China when he was 17 to study Chinese and is still there today working in a Chinese technology company. Denis' life philosophy is to find easy but effective ‘life hacks’ and you’ll...


#53 Reality vs. How You Think Your Chinese Sounds

John and Jared discuss the difference between how you think your Chinese sounds vs how it really sounds. Surprise surprise, there is a difference! John takes us through an academic paper to tell you which tones you should prioritize to make yourself understood more clearly. Guest interview is with Linda Yi, creator of Panda Cub stories and a heritage speaker who spent years trying to fit in before fully embracing her cultural identity. Although they have an advantage in learning Chinese,...


#52 Top 10 Stories of 2020

In this special episode, John and Jared went back through all of the interviews of 2020 and pulled out the ten best stories. Get ready to laugh, reflect, and possibly shed a tear as we take a trip down memory lane. These stories show how learning Chinese can open doors in all aspects of your life, bringing unexpected and cherished connections… ...except the story about pooping in a bag. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thanks for listening to our podcast! Please write us a review on...


#51 Behind-the-Scenes Making a Mandarin Companion Graded Reader

John and Jared give you a behind the scenes look at how they choose and adapt stories for Chinese learners like you. It’s a look into how the sausage is made! If you’ve read any of the books, or do any sort of creative work, you may quite enjoy this segment. Guest interview is with Peter Braden, a Chinese History PhD researcher with some serious Chinese chops. He’s performed Chinese poems in front of crowds of Taiwanese monks, loves a good Saturday morning Chinese karaoke session and he’s...


#50 What’s Holding You Back From Learning Chinese

What are you afraid of? John and Jared discuss the most common things that could be holding you back from learning Chinese. They offer tips on how to overcome them to achieve your dreams. Guest interview is with Megan Ammirati, a 2nd generation Chinese learner and Fulbright scholar. Her story illustrates that your potential will lie fallow in the field unless you apply yourself and find your own reason to learn. Thanks for listening to our podcast! Please write us a review on Apple...


#49 How to Learn to Read Chinese: Bridging the Gap to Native Materials (Part 4 of 4)

Welcome to part 4 of 4 about learning how to read Chinese. This is the situation: you’ve read all the graded readers and learner content out there, and you're wondering….now what? John and Jared offer tips on how to bridge the gap to native level content.Guest interview is with Matt Sheehan, an intrepid American who landed in China to learn journalism and Chinese and then combined the two! You’re going to like his story, even the part about two workers who carried the toilet out of his...


#48 How to Learn to Read Chinese: Developing Fluency Now (Part 3 of 4)

Welcome to part 3 of 4 about learning how to read Chinese. In this episode, John and Jared discuss the concept of fluency now as opposed to some distant time in the future and how reading will get you there. Guest interview is with Olle Linge of Hacking Chinese and Chinese language enthusiast extraordinaire. He offers the Chinese learning tips that he wishes someone had told him back when he started Chinese. Thanks for listening to our podcast! Please write us a review on Apple Podcasts...


#47 How to Learn to Read Chinese: Baby Steps to Real Reading (Part 2 of 4)

Welcome to part 2 of 4 about learning how to read Chinese. In this episode, John and Jared discuss how to get into reading at an early stage, even if you don’t have anything that is low enough for you to read! Guest interview is with Heather Turner, an entrepreneurial mother of five. She’s a qualified dental hygienist, professional baker, and most recently, a 5th grade Chinese teacher! Thanks for listening to our podcast! Please write us a review on Apple Podcasts and we’ll give you a...