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The Ultra-Traditional, the “Buddy”, the Know-it-All, and the “Too Nice” are all teacher types that John and Jared are going to break down and you should consider avoiding. That being said, they have some redeeming qualities too! Interview is with Brad Johnson whose interest and friendships were the driving force in improving his Chinese skills to t…
 
In this special episode, John and Jared interview game-based learning expert Fred Poole who is a professor at Michigan State University, an avid gamer, and also an advanced speaker of Chinese and Spanish. Links from the episode: Fred Poole at Github Game and Activity Book by Fred Poole (PDF) Identity RPG game Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Cur…
 
Have you ever had comments in Chinese about your weight, asked how much money you make, or experienced just a general lack of “please” and “thank-you”? John and Jared talk about common usages of Chinese that at times can be perceived as “rude” by non-native speakers. Plus we’ll talk about how YOU can avoid being perceived as rude to Chinese speaker…
 
How long can you use Chinese before your “brain is full”? John and Jared talk about endurance in Chinese, how to build stamina, and what to expect as your Chinese progresses to the next level. Interview is with Tyler Christler, an American based in Dalian speaking Dongbei-flavored Mandarin who produces videos on Chinese social media. Links from the…
 
What do you do when your dictionary says one thing but native speakers say it differently? John and Jared will talk about how to handle this and put it to use in your own studies. Interview is with Ryan Alexander Holmes, an actor, popular TikTocker, and black Afro Asian American, or Blasian. Links from the episode: Prescriptivism vs. Descriptivism …
 
Jared and John discuss a research paper on learner engagement with vocabulary apps. Whether you’re an independent learner or a teacher, there are plenty of surprises and takeaways! Interview is with Jonathan Coveny, whose obsession with Chinese took him on a winding path of learning the language. Especially for all you study nerds out there, don’t …
 
Learning a language is much more than learning vocabulary. This includes understanding and anticipating interactions within a cultural context. John and Jared discuss exactly what this means and what you should know to maximize your gains. Interview is with Elisa Ferrero, a native of Italy who learned English to learn Chinese and today is a Chinese…
 
In 2021, Jared and John at Mandarin Companion surveyed over a thousand Chinese learners worldwide. Based on a statistical analysis, they found six main types of Chinese learners. Which one are you? Interview is with Dillon Jaghory who achieved a high level of Chinese proficiency while living in the U.S. Links from the episode: Country of the Blind …
 
Slang words in Chinese are always evolving, but is it worth it to learn? As always, it depends. Guest interview is with language enthusiast, author, academic, and polyglot Kyle Anderson. Links from the episode: Kyle Anderson | New Books Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Curly Haired Company | Mandarin Companion Graded Reader Slow Chinese 每周漫闻 | W…
 
Learning from native speakers is essential. In this episode, Jared and John will make you aware of ways they can also lead you astray. Guest interview is with Nicholas Hung who went the extra mile to reconnect with his roots. Links from the episode: Never Trust a Native Speaker – Sinosplice Pronunciation Variants – Chinese Pronunciation Wiki The Se…
 
Do you ever feel like you’re trying to get conversational in Chinese but seem to be stuck in textbooks and classes? In this episode, John and Jared discuss the leap involved in moving beyond textbook Chinese to conversational Chinese Guest interview is with Andrew Methven, whose adventures backpacking through the mountains and villages of China ins…
 
WeChat is the most popular instant messaging platform in China. In this episode, John and I are going to tell you tips and tricks on how to use Wechat to learn Chinese. Interview is with Matt McGill, star actor on the popular YouTube China expat comedy channel “Mamahuhu”. Links from the episode: Where to get WeChat 微信 Mamahuhu | YouTube Channel See…
 
If you’re into music, this episode is for you! John and Jared talk about how Chinese songs can help you learn Chinese. Interview is with Bohan Phoenix, a Chinese American hip-hop artist straddling two cultures. If you’ve not yet heard of him, then don’t miss this one! Links from the episode: 我的朋友在哪里 | Chinese kids song Stinky Tofu Song (臭豆腐之歌) | Ch…
 
Do native speakers know the tones? How well do you need to know tones to listen or speak? Jared and John delve into these and other questions with answers that might surprise you! You’ll come away with a longer-term strategy for learning tones, even if you’re as tone-deaf as John once was. Interview is with Daniel Nalesnik, who, due to a fluke sche…
 
Sometimes we forget how easy it can be to practice Chinese. In this episode, Jared and John talk about everyday games, like Uno and charades, you can use to practice Chinese. Suitable for all ages and learning levels, these are guaranteed to inject some fun into your Chinese learning! Interview is with Martina Fuchs who started her career as an Ara…
 
Jared and John talk about why typing characters leads to better learning outcomes than handwriting. They dispel conventional wisdom backed by science from an academic research study by Dr. Phyllis Zhang (张霓). You may have an opinion on the matter, but now it’s time to find out what the actual research tells us. Our interview is with Eileen Wu, a he…
 
John and Jared have pulled the best stories out of all of the guest interviews of 2021. Get ready to laugh, reflect, and be inspired as we look back on the year. Links from the episode: #70 Reading the News: Do’s and Don'ts #60 How Chinese Food Can Help Your Chinese #59 Bridging to Breakthrough and Abigail Washburn #55 Flashcards, spaced repetition…
 
In this episode, John and Jared talk about something close to their hearts: reading in Chinese. They discuss the different types of reading, different techniques for advanced learners, and specifically how you can harness the power of extensive reading to accelerate your Chinese. Guest interview is with Sebastian Mueller from Germany, who moved to …
 
In this episode, John and Jared respond to a listener question about Cantonese, which leads to a discussion around China’s numerous dialects/languages, which are in fact “topolects.” Guest interview is with Daniel Pang, who grew up speaking Cantonese at home, became a doctor, then quit his job to learn Chinese. Links from the episode: Varieties of …
 
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. …
 
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