ChinesePod - Beginner



ChinesePod makes learning Mandarin fun and easy. It isn't your typical language learning resource - we think you'll be entertained as well!

If you’re just trying to learn some survival Chinese or looking to start a lifelong relationship with the language, this ChinesePod - Beginner Level Podcast Channel is where to start.

Expand your Mandarin Chinese learning experience by also SUBSCRIBING to ChinesePod - Intermediate and ChinesePod - Advanced Podcast channels.

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455 episodes

Newbie | Requesting a Napkin

If you've given up on using chopsticks and haven't studied our lesson on requesting a fork yet, you may just have to pretend that where you come from, eating with your hands is a sign of respect for the chef. No problem! In some places it probably is. But when you're done, don't forget this important Mandarin Chinese lesson on requesting a napkin. Of course, upon visualizing this debacle, really, learning the art of chopstick use might be a tad classier. Episode link:

Mar 24
Elementary | Track and Field

Think of track and field as a profound metaphor for Chinese learning: Jumping over grammar hurdles, throwing out words like shotputs, the high-jump of the leap from elementary to intermediate level... hey, when you have a good enough imagination, anything can be a metaphor for learning Chinese. Listen to this latest addition to our Olympics family of lessons, and start your training for the Chinese marathon! Episode link:

Mar 22
Newbie | Giving an Example

When learning a language there are a profusion of ways to acquire new language. One method many have found helpful has been dubbed "pictionary." However, when your partner in language, pen in hand, attempts to illustrate a concept to you by drawing a likeness that looks like a game of pick-up-sticks gone bad... it's time for this lesson. In this podcast, learn how to ask for someone to illustrate by example, rather than creative genius, using Mandarin Chinese. Episode link:

Mar 20
Elementary | How spicy?

When your mouth is on fire and the only thing within reach with which to douse the flames is a tiny cup of hot tea, you had better be wise enough to take precautionary measures. In this lesson, learn how to avoid the potentially high cost of mouth skin grafts, and take control of your oral inferno, in Mandarin Chinese. (Recommended follow up lesson: "Thirsty for Water"...) Episode link:

Mar 17
Newbie | What stop is this?

Though you may find having your face pressed up against someone else's cheek a little unpleasant, think of the intimacy it affords. Once you have listened to this podcast, you will handily be able use your Mandarin Chinese on a crowded subway or bus to enquire of your newly proximate acquaintance what stop you are at. Extracting yourself from the cozy throngs-- now, that is not a Chinese lesson, that is an art. Episode link:

Mar 15
Elementary | Why, why, why??

Why is the sky blue? Why is the grass green? Why is Chinese still using hieroglyphics for its written language? While some questions are simply unanswerable, in this podcast, we will start by answering for you the question of how to say "why" in Mandarin. The answers to all the other enigmas of life, dear poddies, we'll leave for a future lesson, when Ken's in a more philosophical mood. Episode link:

Mar 14
Newbie | What's that smell?

Some things are not discussed in polite society. In today's groundbreaking lesson in Mandarin Chinese, we run through how to shatter that taboo and accuse your friends, neighbors and language partners of... well, having an overabundance of spirits. Note: vocabulary also useful when touring certain alternative-energy plants. Episode link:

Mar 10
Elementary | Chinese Seasonings

The little extras you'll have to crown your food masterpiece with on this side of the world may just turn out to be a little different than the humble yet revered fixings you're accustomed to back home. Come to think of it, the foods you'll like to adorn here aren't the most ketchup-and-mustard-friendly anyway. So, get with the Chinese food condiments and find out where it's really at in Chinese food. Listen to this podcast and learn in Mandarin how to exalt your foodstuffs to the zenith of culinary perfection! Episode link:

Mar 08
Newbie | Where's the bus stop?

No one likes waiting for the bus. But if you can’t find the bus stop, it’s going to make things that much more difficult. So before you give up and hop in that taxi, listen to this podcast, and learn how to ask where the bus stop is, in Mandarin Chinese. And remember... hold on tight! Episode link:

Mar 06
Elementary | The Olympics on TV

It's not that we advocate being TV addicts, however, come 2008 we'll be glued to our screens (or fighting the crowds in Beijing) with the best of them to watch the very first Olympic games ever held in China. In this podcast, learn how to sit down, turn on the telly, and camp out for a two-week viewing extravaganza, in Mandarin Chinese. Yet another incentive to make the trip to China for the games: not having to be ripped from slumber at 3:00am to watch! Episode link:

Mar 03
Newbie | Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are an age-old plague to mankind. Trinket salesmen are an age-old plague to tourists. You'll be assaulted by both climbing the Great Wall, but only one will bite. This podcast teaches you how to shut out those flying bloodsuckers in Mandarin Chinese (and if those are the trinket vendors, you're on your own). Episode link:

Mar 01
Elementary | Lovey-Dovey Terminology

Honey bunny... Sweet pea... pumpkin. You've heard them before - you probably use them. They play a role in close relationships, but few people know how to express such things in a language other than their native tongue. Today Qing Wen explores the oft-overlooked yet important world of terms of endearment. Episode link:

Feb 27
Newbie | Colors Song

You know that Ken and Jenny like to show their appreciation to our CPoddies by giving you a little serenade for your listening pleasure from time to time. Thus, in this podcast they will teach you a little ditty in Mandarin Chinese all about the the colors of the sky, clouds, fields, grass and sun. Sound a little flower child-ish? Well, maybe just a little...  Episode link:

Feb 24
Elementary | A Chinese-Style Contradiction

O, the profundity of language. Read literally, the word for contradiction in Chinese is nothing less intriguing than: "spear shield." Yes, it's just this kind of mental gymnastic that keeps us coming back for more. In this podcast, join us as we penetrate the fathomless depths of Chinese word origin and learn the interesting (poetic license notwithstanding) story of "contradiction," in Mandarin Chinese. Episode link:

Feb 22
Newbie | Confession of Love

Men, at times, find comprehending the female nature a perplexing and bewildering endeavor. However, leave it to this podcast to teach you the three magic words that women the world over, no matter what race, religion or language group, love to hear. (If only life were really that simple.) In this lesson, learn how to profess your love in Mandarin Chinese... and remember (profound statement of the day): you don't have to understand something to love it! Episode link:

Feb 20
Elementary | Condoms

Drug stores are full of potentially embarrassing items. Embarrassment is exponentially heightened when it involves the acting out of said item to drug store clerk, gesturing to specific body parts and drawing pictures. Thankfully, we at ChinesePod do not shy away from these topics (to wit: lesson on buying tampons), and wouldn't want to see you acting out the word for "condom." Thus, this podcast, where you will learn how to discreetly ask for your contraceptive of choice, in Mandarin Chinese. Episode link:

Feb 17
Newbie | Internet Cafe Rates

There is going to be lots to write home about when you're in China, so because ChinesePod knows how much your mom wants to hear from you, we have created this lesson on inquiring about internet café rates. In this podcast, learn how to ask in Mandarin Chinese how much the rate is per hour, and also how to complain about the price being a bit expensive. Episode link:

Feb 15
Elementary | The Old Man Who Moved a Mountain

This podcast covers a famous Chinese story about an old man who moves a mountain. Like most famous Chinese stories, it is more open to interpretation than you might expect. So... while we're not exactly sure what the mountain represents, or where it ends up (NIMBY, thank you), this is a handy story to know. Sit back by the fire, dowload this podcast, and learn it in Mandarin Chinese. Episode link:

Feb 13
Newbie | Requesting a Glass of Water

Hot day—there’s nothing you imagine that could be better than a nice cold glass of ice water... aha, not so! There is a whole nation of Chinese people that would beg to differ with you on this point. In this podcast, learn how to request a glass of water in Mandarin Chinese... cold water. Episode link:

Feb 10
Elementary | Olympic Swimming

Some love to watch Olympic swimming--the poignant fortitude of the human spirit, the split-second heart-breaking culmination to a lifetime of training, the record-crushing photo finishes, the heart-wrenching agony of defeat. Others, however, appreciate something different. The robust, wet, speedo-clad chisled physiques. . . a testimony to the exquisiteness of human anatomy in it's highest form. . . (sigh). Whatever your thing, listen in to this podcast, and learn about Olympic swimming in Mandarin Chinese. Episode link:

Feb 08
Newbie | Quiet for the Baby

Admittedly, you may have been getting a little bit raucous practicing the “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” song you learned in that other podcast, but baby comes first. In this lesson, listen and learn how to tell someone in Mandarin Chinese to be quiet, ‘cause the baby is sleeping. Even if you don’t have a baby, it’s a handy phrase to use on those noisy neighbors (works every time). Episode link:

Feb 06
Elementary | Returning an Item

You lay out a few thousand kuai on what you think is a great deal on a mobile phone. But as you dial your soon to be jealous friend's number and get a waft of the slightly pungent but unmistakable aroma of burning wires, you feel a vague uneasiness. Was it prudent to have trusted that man in the dark cloak that lured you into the back alley? In this podcast, we'll help you to learn how to return something for a refund, using Mandarin Chinese. (we're assuming, of course, that the dark cloak man gave you a receipt... right?) Episode link:

Feb 03
Newbie | Calling Roll

We love our ChinesePod students, and we want to make sure that you’re all in attendance today. Thus, our lesson on calling roll. Listen to this podcast to learn how to be accounted for in Mandarin Chinese! Episode link:

Feb 01
Elementary | I can't buy my size

Not that anyone's intimating that you've got big feet, a wide girth, or an ample posterior -- but those who have been in China for a while know that the Chinese tend to be a little more "petite" than their western counterparts. In this lesson, learn how to ask for your size in Mandarin Chinese... and to understand the (often) disappointing answer. But don't be dismayed -- there's just that much more of you to love. Episode link:

Jan 30
Newbie | Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

Now, don't be shy to act out all the motions that go along with this podcast, wherein you will learn a well-loved song about your body parts in Mandarin Chinese. Think of it as multi-tasking--a Chinese workout. Oh, and we'll be listening to make sure you are singing along too! Episode link:

Jan 27
Elementary | Directory Assistance

You may be feeling stranded, lost, confused... but you are never alone. That's right--a friendly robotic lady voice and soothing Kenny G ballad are just a phone call away. Listen to this podcast, and learn the Mandarin Chinese language you'll need to make that inevitably necessary call to Directory Assistance (dial 114) to get a phone number or address (or, heck, just to chat.) You'll never be lonely again! Episode link:

Jan 25
Newbie | St. Patrick's Day

You may know about a famous Chinese "Day for the Ladies," but what about that face-down-in-green-beer-that-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time holiday involving leprechauns? You'll only know if you listen to this podcast, the source to learn about St. Patrick’s Day in Mandarin Chinese. Episode link:

Jan 23
Elementary | Visiting Taiwan

Taiwan is not often the focus of our lessons at ChinesePod, but this time it's front and center. Learn such gems as "Taiwan is an island," as well as some of the names of the major cities on said island. As for you political-minded rascals, ho ho, no we're not going there. We're here to help you learn Chinese! Episode link:

Jan 20
Newbie | How Long Have You Been in Shanghai?

When you strike up a conversation with someone in Shanghai, people will inevitably want to know how long you've been there. Whether you're a grizzled expat who's been there for years or a newbie who's just around for a couple of days, you'll still need to know how to respond in Mandarin Chinese. Learn how in today's newbie lesson. Episode link:

Jan 18
Elementary | The London Olympics

The 2012 Olympics are in London! If you're from London, going to London, or even fond of occasionally mentioning London, you'd better be able to say it in Chinese! (Oh, and while we're at it, let's make sure you can say "London" in Chinese as well...) Episode link:

Jan 16