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In this episode John and Jared share the proper way to compare similar words, characters, sounds, and grammar points. There’s a time and a place for everything, and once you know the right way to approach these comparisons, you can maximize your learning. Guest interview is with Stefan Erfurth, a Chinese learner from Germany working in artificial i…
 
John and Jared talk about three types of research-backed strategies and tips you can employ to improve your listening skills, specifically in the areas where you struggle. Guest interview is with Gabrielle Barnett from Jamaica, whose quest to learn Chinese has opened doors and taken her around the world, far beyond anything she could have imagined.…
 
Listening is one of the biggest challenges for Chinese learners. In this two part series, John and Jared talk about the most complicating factors to understanding spoken Chinese. You’ll become aware of these and be able to pinpoint where you may be struggling. Guest interview is with Marc Dupont, a lobbyist from Canada whose personal quest has kept…
 
John and Jared use research to address issues related to watching movies in Chinese, with and without Chinese subtitles. Find out what the academics say and stick around for the practical advice! Guest interview is with Jeremy Bai, a translator, author, and ENNIE-winning game designer who turned his fascination with Chinese martial arts into a care…
 
How do Chinese people feel about a foreigner with a potty mouth in Chinese? Are curse words worth learning? John and Jared talk about swearing in Chinese and what you should be aware of. Guest interview is with Ashleigh Au, who combined her language skills and life experiences to create career opportunities that otherwise would have been unobtainab…
 
Reading a Chinese newspaper is a common goal for many learners, but is it the right goal for you? John and Jared talk about what you need to know about the news in Chinese, how to get started, and the options available to you. Guest interview is with Michael Berry, a professor at UCLA who specializes in Chinese literature, cinema, and pop culture. …
 
John and Jared answer a listener’s question about the rivalry between China’s two most famous cities: Shanghai and Beijing. They discuss culture, history, and language, and even provide one additional view from a mystery correspondent! The guest interview is with William White, a professional simultaneous interpreter in Chinese with decades of expe…
 
John and Jared are going to revisit and unpack this classic question posed by Dr. David Moser three decades ago and identify what is hard about Chinese, what is easier now, and whether Chinese really is harder than other languages. The guest interview is with Sarah Kutulakos, a lifetime Chinese learner and the executive director at the Canada China…
 
Electronic pop-up dictionaries are all the rage! But are they really helping you improve your Chinese? John and Jared take a research-based look at the impact of pop-up dictionaries and answer the question “Can you really click your way to fluency?” The guest interview is with Chris Max, a famous YouTuber you’ve likely never heard of because his vi…
 
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 help…
 
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 mul…
 
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 missionar…
 
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 fr…
 
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…
 
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 Jonatha…
 
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 t…
 
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 …
 
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 …
 
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 C…
 
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 Intermediate…
 
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 …
 
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 Chines…
 
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 herita…
 
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… ...e…
 
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 Ch…
 
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 f…
 
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 journal…
 
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…
 
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 …
 
Welcome to part 1 of 4 about learning how to read Chinese. In this episode, John and Jared start at the beginning and talk about how to learn pinyin, characters, and vocabulary.Guest interview is with Scott Young, author of bestselling novel “Ultralearning”. Scott spent a year without English and managed to be conversational in four new languages, …
 
John and Jared discuss a linguistic concept that you’ve probably never heard of but is pervasive throughout all languages. This will help you understand why for some things there is simply no direct translation and the answer for “why is it said this way?” is often “that’s just how it’s said”!Guest interview is with James Loach, a particle physicis…
 
John and Jared discuss using Chinese in the workplace and how you can use it no matter what your level. Guest interview is with Kaiser Kuo, a well know figure among China expats, and who, among many things, started the first Chinese heavy metal band in China and the growth of his Chinese skills is one thing that made it possible. Get ready for some…
 
In this episode, you’re going to learn how to level up your Chinese listening skills. Jared and John will be sharing tips and tricks you can use no matter where you live. Guest interview is with Eric Majerus, a home grown American boy learning Chinese for the sake of his family. Thanks for listening to our podcast! Please write us a review on Apple…
 
So you think you’re funny? John and Jared discuss some of the cultural differences of Chinese humor and what it takes to get your Chinese friends rolling on the floor in laughter. Guest interview is with Laszlo Montgomery, host of the famous China History Podcast. It's the go-to podcast if you want to learn about the long and at times complex histo…
 
John & Jared discuss the role of translation in the language learning journey. When you encounter a text with many unfamiliar characters, should you open a translation app?Guest interview is with Jeremy Goldkorn, a 20 year veteran of China from South Africa and co-host of the Sinica Podcast. Jeremy’s first learned Chinese in the 90s while sleeping …
 
John and Jared discuss how to set language learning goals, with concrete ideas on how to break them down into achievable chunks and avoiding the trap of “I want to be fluent enough to read a Chinese newspaper”. Guest interview is with Peter Olson, the creator of Dong-Chinese.com, a man who was born in China, moved to America, and now lives Kazakhst…
 
In this special episode, guest interview is with expert Chinese teacher trainer and innovator, Terry Waltz. She’s a renegade in the Chinese language of community, championing the cause of comprehensible input, which is the future of all language education. Like us, she’s published a host of graded readers in Chinese and shares a career full of wisd…
 
John and Jared break down what it’s going to take if you want to get conversational in Chinese both in terms of the number of words and which ones are the most necessary. Plus, where to find the vocab to explain the Black Lives Matter movement to your Chinese-speaking friends. Guest interview is with Finlay Davidson, who went from being the below-a…
 
Guest interview is with John Gordon, a longtime resident of Beijing who went from English education to starring in a Children’s TV show in China. His journey shows the value of a long homestay experience in helping with pronunciation and the unbelievable doors that learning Chinese can open for you. John and Jared then discuss his story and explore…
 
What does a great tutor do differently? How often should they correct you? What should you do if you can’t afford a private tutor? John and I will give you tips and advice on how to identify a tutor who can help you take your Chinese to the next level.Guest interview is with Lucy Jak-Lax, an aspiring musician who fell in love with China, explored t…
 
What is in a name? In this episode, John and Jared discuss names in Chinese and how to pick out a good one so you don’t end up with a name like the Chinese girl whose English name is Radiohead. Guest interview is with Millie Potter from the UK who forged her own path within a study abroad program, found a home-stay family when school was out and op…
 
This episode kicks off interviewing Jason Schuurman, an American who has spent a third of his life immersed in Chinese culture and having a blast while doing it. He’s now using technology to bring Chinese learning to the masses. John and Jared unpack Jason’s tips for pronouncing Chinese confidently and share their own stories about having fun teach…
 
John and Jared discuss how you can develop mad Chinese writing skills, complete with very practical activities to build those skills, either with others or by yourself. Make sure you stay tuned for John’s writing game “Eat poop, you cat”. Guest interview is with Shannon Kennedy, an extraordinary polyglot whose love of Chinese redefined her friendsh…
 
John and Jared have an insightful discussion about the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe with an on-the-ground perspective in China and the US. John talks about the two month lockdown in Shanghai he experienced and what the end of the pandemic may look like. Jared shares the story of the virus infecting his own son, including a neighbor who, at …
 
John and Jared talk discuss everything you wanted to know about extensive reading but were afraid to ask. After this, you’ll be able to identify why many of the traditional methods of learning a language are not as effective and how extensive reading solves all of those. If you want to accelerate your path to Chinese fluency, this episode is for yo…
 
In this episode, John and Jared talk about the difference between learning Chinese as a second language vs. learning as a foreign language. At first glance, they seem to be the same thing, but as you pick it apart you begin to see how the difference insidiously impacts learning all over the world.Stop us if you’ve heard this story before: a Chinese…
 
Jared talks with Grant Brown, an expert on HSK and AP Chinese test prep. Grant tells us the key reasons people fail, and the secrets to passing. This is advice you won’t hear anywhere else from a teacher who has seen both sides. We learn the power of reading and how it will fool your Chinese-learning classmates into assuming you did a year abroad i…
 
Do you find it hard to remember characters? We all do. In this episode, John and Jared discuss a method that has delivered results time and time again. Plus, imagine reading a Charles Dickens novel in Chinese…but with only 450 characters! Guest interview is with Chris Max. He is a famous You Tuber that you may not have heard of because all of his v…
 
What can you realistically learn from a textbook? John and Jared discuss this question to help anyone understand how far a textbook can take you towards fluency. Plus, be ready for a surprise guest appearance from John’s mother-in-law! Guest interview is with Jeff Lindsay, a warm and funny man whose love for Chinese has translated into love for the…
 
In this special episode, John and Jared go over the top 10 YCLC podcasts of the year, highlighting their favorite episodes and why. If you’re new to the podcast, this is a must listen to find out what you might have missed! Plus, there’s a special two truths and a lie, featuring LeBron James, an electric collision with a policeman and a little roma…
 
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