What no advanced lesson, again?

May 04, 2012, 02:19 AM posted in General Discussion


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May 19, 2012, 03:29 AM

There was also no new advanced level lesson this week.  I think there wasn't even a holiday in China to explain it.

It used to be that Chinesepod could be counted on to produce a media or advanced lesson every week, but now it seems that there has been a change of policy or circumstances, and that is no longer the case.

Up until now, I have built my study strategy around Chinesepod, but it seems I really will have to branch out now.  Anyone have any suggestions for other sources?  I very much like the Chinesepod format of a lesson that is delivered in both written and audio formats together with discussion in Chinese.  Before Chinesepod, I used to pay native speakers to record an essay for me and discuss it with me.  I could resume that, but the result is less professional than Cpod.

Please, don't point out the Cpod archive.  There are a small number of early media lessons that I have not studied, but at Cpod's current non-production rate, I will soon exhaust that.


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Cpod's business model is built around ellie users. There ellie mandarin-only dialogue files are excellent for beginners... but I agree, working through their upper levels still leaves one lacking.

新闻联播 is good for giving advanced level vocab transcripts and audio each day. But the topics are very dry and not everyday language.


CSLpod is pretty good. They give full transcripts for each lesson and don't use English. If you haven't gone through their UI and advanced lessons it is worth a look.

Popular tv shows and transcripts are great to work through as well. niubilicious had some good material here previously. http://niubilicious.com/

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As a supplement for Chinese Pod at the Advanced Level is to get a satellite disc to receive TV programs from PROC. The easiest way to start is the soap opera. Kind of shallow but you are there for the language, not the story lines. The next step is the news. Or you could buy DVD with Chinese or English subtitles. They are quite reasonable; I bought 3 for $20.00. I watched the latest Kung Fu Panda with my daughter and we really enjoyed it!

There are also Chinese musics, books and newspaper available. Although this depends on which state you are in.

Just make sure the Chinese subtitles is the simplified form.

At the advanced level, enjoy Chinese to the fullest by making it part of your life!

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May 19, 2012, 11:22 AM

I'm only at intermediate level, wanting to make the jump to UI quite soon. So for me, Advanced / Advanced media courses are still out of reach. But I am already looking forward to them, because the content looks way more interesting than many of the every-day-life-dialogues I'm listening to now. I also think that CP will become more and more useful (compared to other language learning resources) at levels where Chinese only is spoken. Therefore, I very much regret this company decision. Of course, there still is the archive, but current content always is more interesting than older lessons (both because of the topic discussed and the discussion among users online). Besides, I'm not so much interested in elementary and newbie lessons, so I do feel affected by your decision as it restricts my future learning opportunities without giving a compensation.

Moreover, having been a very enthusiastic user of SpanishPod and having seen how it was reduced piece by piece until it stopped publishing new lessons at all, I find this policy change all the more alarming.

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May 19, 2012, 03:10 PM

I just want to say that I agree with Mark and Penguins. 

For users who have been around Chinesepod for years and are at the Upper Intermediate and Advanced levels, only having about 2 new lessons a month is not worth the cost of the subscription. 

So, while I like Cpod, and continue to support it, I think an alternative approach to lesson distribution would be better. Perhaps 2 new lessons on the same day, a newbie and an Advanced 

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May 20, 2012, 12:24 AM

可惜! I'm actually a bit surprised that there are so few learners at the higher levels. I have used ChinesePod from newbie through advanced and I really haven't found any other structured learning material that compares. I also agree with the sentiment that using Chinesepod becomes more and more enjoyable as you progress through the levels.

Mark, have you thought about branching out into native materials? It's a completely different style of learning and of course lacks structure, but I think at some point it's necessary if you want your Chinese to continually be improving. I also want to recommend the forum over at chinese-forums.com. The community over there is very active and there's a huge amount of information on learning resources. Finally, I'll list some of the materials that I enjoy using. I have a feeling we probably have entirely different tastes, but who knows :)


非诚勿扰 (一个相亲节目。 The 3 hosts (孟非,乐嘉,黄菡)really make this show.

飞鱼秀 - Morning radio talk show. The topics are interesting and the tunes aren't bad either. http://english.cri.cn/easyfm/easymorning.html

裸婚时代 (电视剧)I'm not a fan of most drama here, but I love 文章 in this. Honestly, can the guy do anything wrong?

法律讲堂 Another user recommended this (tingyun?). The stories are normally pretty interesting and the Chinese spoken is very clear and easy to understand.


Chinasmack.com - 新闻 (This is all translated into English, but links are provided to the original Chinese source. )

http://vip.book.sina.com.cn/ - books in every genre.

微博/新浪播客 - Depending on your interests, I'm sure you can find something you like here.


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Nice list... for 电视剧 I will add a few more worthwhile ones:

1. 男人帮

This is my favorite Chinese 电视剧 of all time. Takes place in Shanghai, a funny sitcom.

2. 爱情公寓

This one also takes place in Shanghai. A bit sillier than 男人帮, but still funny. It somewhat reminds me of Friends in the US.

3. 北京爱情故事

This one takes place in... obviously 北京. You can practice your listening skills with some good 儿化音 taking place, and the sitcom itself will probably keep most people interested.

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I'm not overly surprised that there are less learners at the higher levels....at least in relative terms.....I think this is usually the case with any endeavour such as this [learning chinese] which is both challenging and time consuming...for one reason or another there is a natural attrition rate. Having said that, I think that it should be pointed out that CPod has only been around since 2005 [ as well as it's inferior web based competitors, etc ] and it takes some time to reach the advanced level, so one would hope with time that the numbers will eventually build at the higher levels. I guess CPod has all the numbers at their fingertips, and thus Jenny's comment is based on number of downloads of the advanced lessons? [ and not just basing it on number of comments in the higher levels?]

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Congratulations on your success with Chinese. I am envyous, I gave up on Chinese Pod a long long time ago, because I thought they spoke too much English.

It's now 7 years later, and although I can speak a little, I can't understand anything they say.

Is it your recommendation I give Chinese Pod another try? Don't you find it expensive?

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Yeah, you could even check out my episode on 非诚勿扰。 呵呵。I was super nervous so my Chinese was pretty bad, but it was still a very surreal experience!

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I would absolutely give it another try. If you think there's too much English, focus on the dialogues. The content has also greatly improved since the time you started.

I went from newbie up to upper intermediate using CPod as my primary resource, so I know it's possible to be successful using their materials. That said, the results you get will of course largely be determined by the amount of work you put in. No matter what route you take when learning Chinese, persistence is key.

As far as cost, I think ChinesePod is quite fairly priced. Similar products seem to be priced about the same. I remember planning to audit a beginning Chinese class in college and the required text was around $150. That's $150 dollars for about the amount of info you would find in 15 elementary lessons. Being able to speak the language here in China has given me many amazing and wonderful experiences, and the money I spend learning has been well worth it.

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More good recommendations. I've seen a few episodes of 男人帮 and 爱情公寓 and I enjoyed them.

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You're probably right, baba. I guess I will just say 加油 to my pals in the lower levels. Hopefully as more and more reach advanced, there will be more of a demand for these lessons. In the meantime, I'll be looking forward to whatever advanced lessons are still published.

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Thank you babyeggplant, I went and checked out some of those sites, because I have some serious issues with my listening skills. I'm hoping that by listening often and paying attention to the use of tones, my listening skills and my pronunciation will show some improvement.

Thank you for taking the time to post those links!

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Wow! I remember seeing you. I have always wondered if any of the foreigners on that show are CPod users.

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May 20, 2012, 02:44 AM

I was thinking, perhaps this is a sign that you need a healthy brake from your studies. I used to study Chinese hardcore, but then my life made it impossible to do so. The thing is that I feel my mind needed the rest, as if it was quietly still working on the language in the background, because now I feel like I am more at ease with the language, even though my vocabulary hasn't grown much. Just a thought...

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Xiaophil, I don't take it as a sign of anything, just an inconvenience. I'm 54, if I take a brake from studying, I won't come back to it.

babyeggplant, ouyangjun116 , iaing , floalvarez thank you for you suggestions, I will look into them.

I actually do listen to quite a bit of native material, songs and movies mostly, but those materials are hard to incorporate into a focused study regimen, and don't include a discussion of the key vocabulary, which is why I have found CPod so uniquely valuable.

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Mark, you need both the focused study regimen and the fun part, they complement each other.