Lack of advanced lessons?
Don't know if this is true or not, but it seems like CPod has slowed down with the advanced/media lessons. Seems like before there was one of each per week, but i haven't seen a new adanced lesson in some time. Am I imagining things?
markJuly 29, 2012, 02:18 PM
I asked about this earlier. I believe the present schedule is one week with no advanced level lesson, one week with a media lesson, one week with no no advanded level lesson, one week with an advanced lesson [repeat].
So, I believe we will get an advanced lesson this coming week.
tingyunJuly 29, 2012, 03:30 PM
If you need some more advanced lessons, I strongly recomend the following set available from chinese version of amazon. Aprox 660 5-10 minute lessons, full transcripts included, for only 220 rmb. So thats about 20 lessons per us dollar.
A general historical focus, with half on china and half on world, but many lessons have another topic, for example maybe 10 lessons on various chinese literary works, a lesson on the arabian nights, a lesson on grimm fairytales, another on aasops fables, etc (all complete with a telling of several of the stories). In addition, a good amount of lessons on scientific discoveries.
Difficulty is probably a little above most cpod advanced lessons, but not too much - if you can handle advanced here, you should be able to work through these, especially if you read through the transcripts also instead of just relying on the audio.
Honestly, i think the price of a cpod subscription is only worth it while you have a large archive to work with...though once you exhaust the archive of advanced it may be best to graduate yourself to other learning activities anyways (tv, books, 'teaching history to adolescents' kind of recordings ike the above linked set).Though of course the desire for more rapid release of advanced lessons isn't limitied to those who have exhausted the archive, and instead can reflect a desire for variety, or more uptodate lessons, etc. Either way i highly recomend this audio set - it will give you lots of new material to select from.
Zhoudage - saw you were planning on law school - you should enjoy the many law focussed lessons. There are several lessons that are biographies of great jurists, as well as several on various legal reforms, and a couple featuring famous court cases. Btw, if you are still figuring out where to go, and you have an interest in chinese law, I'd suggest looking especially closely at these 4 schools: harvard, stanford (where i went to law school), columbia, and univ. of mich. ann arbor. Harvard has the east asian legal studies program, columbia the center for chinese legal studies, stanford the new guiding cases project, and mich law has nicholas howson. In addition, all also have great people in the larger university working on topics touching chinese law.
Tingyun, thank you very much for the suggestion. I will definitely look into it. My profile is apparently outdated. I just completed my first year of law school at Washington & Lee. If you don't mind my asking what are you currently doing for work?
Oh, congrats on completing the 1l year then!
Work...After law school I went to a traditional big law firm and practiced commercial litigation, but after a year decided to return to school (masters program in east asian studies - and I started started learning chinese). After graduation I again went to work (business managment consulting with Mckinsey), but quickly started applying to schools, and in a month I head back to begin a phd program (researching late imperial chinese social and legal history at Harvard). I really enjoyed being a lawyer, but I love reading and research, so its probably life in a university from here on out....
If you are considering consulting vs law firm for 2l summer recruiting, I'd be happy to offer up my thoughts on the differences between the two paths, feel free to pm me. Though I imagine your question is getting at the question of securing jobs in chinese offices? Sadly i've got no experience, although my firm had an office in China, I didn't start studying the language until the end of my law firm career. Though i'd think you'd be very well qualified with your advanced chinese language skills and time spent living in China – i know of some heritage speakers with very limitied to non-existent reading skills who had little trouble getting offers from the chinese offices of top US firms.
Tingyun, I ordered the CD set you suggested. amazon.cn didn't recognize my amazon.com account. So, I had to navigate their menus for setting up a new account. I, also, had to find a small link on the page asking for my address to enter a foreign address. Overall, there were no twists and turns that a CPod advanced user shouldn't be able to follow. Thanks for the suggestion.
BTW, you responded to one of my comments on the zhangliang and lili series that I seemed to have encountered the lesson at a higher ability level than you. I suspect you have since surpassed me. I'll plead the decrepitude of middle age, or the fact that I still have a day job. 很佩服你啦。
Hope you enjoy it, I really love that set! You'll discover there are three very different voice actors, I persnally really like the male who does most of the chinese focussed half (and a few of the world ones, kant's biography, hegel's too, the various classical musicians...im curious how they divided up the lessons). The other male who does most of the world focussed half speaks more slowly and clearly, but doesnt have as much energy to him. The female voice actor appears infrequently, but does a good job when she appears (for example, there are several lessons on various french novelists and playwrights, and she does a fun job of telling their stories).
Thanks for the compliment. I'm really glad you bought the set, i think you'll get a lot of use out of it. I remember benefiting from your comments when working through the lesson archive, so its nice to be able to make a useful suggestion in return!
Yes, thanks for that link. Agree with Mark, the only trick is looking out for the overseas shipping link.
For other advanced lessons with full transcripts there are other options: Clavis Sinica and Slow Chinese (free resources) and Chineseclass101 and CSLPod (paid resources but with free trials). Between these 4 sites there are many hundreds of additional advanced lessons with transcripts, which compliment Cpod.
Clavis Sinica and Slow Chinese are more at a UI level, whereas the advanced lessons at the other two can be very challenging.
Clavis Sinica has interesting topics put up by Beijing students. Slow Chinese had a negative review by John P a while ago, but is quite good, in my opinion. CSLPod has an advantage (in my view) in that the dialogue discussion/explanations are also transcripted (and contain no English).
Any other good sites?
Glad you decided to look into it, and great suggestions on other sites. I'd also add 静雅思听, which basically reads articles and short stories into recordings, and has some pretty good voice actors, and adds many new articles a day, meaning basically an unlimited supply of material
often if you search the name of the article or short story you can pull up its 'transcript', as one would expect...
Has lots of different catagories, health, life, history, art, etc...you can browse or subscribe to different ones as you like.
You can find it by searching in itunes and such, they slso have an app. But here is the website
Below link for rss feed subscriptions for itunes and such, different options based on which catagories you want to subscribe to, probably best to go for everything in chinese option (doesnt include their english lessons) until you get a feel for what you like, its the second option. Though im not sure whether some links may be outdated, maybe better to search in itunes for their podcasts? Its been awhile
Note: I probably won't see any replies, as I'm going into heavy japanese study in final prep for a language placement test for the next couple of weeks (and the leftover time i'll be using to maintain chinese, so internet time is a nessecary sacrifice), but can be reached by pm if needed. I look forward to talking more with everyone afterwards!
' I had to navigate their menus for setting up a new account. I, also, had to find a small link on the page asking for my address to enter a foreign address'
Hi Mark - just noticed this comment; I've wondered about buying from amazon.cn and following your comment just wondered how payment is made? Can you use a foreign credit card? (I haven't yet explored - thought I would ask you first!)
bohan2007July 29, 2012, 04:50 PM
I also think there have been very few advanced lessons recently. There has only been 1 new advanced lesson in all of July.
I don't mind less media lessons, because I personally haven't found media lessons to be very helpful because the audio recordings of media lessons seem to just be discussions on the articles, and not really teach listeners a whole lot.
rootAugust 02, 2012, 04:38 AM
Hmm, this is a concern for those of us who want to continue extending our subscriptions... Personally I think there's a deluge of lower level lessons, just looking at available and recommended lesson counts
Newbie 378 to 50
Elementary 462 to 80
Intermediate 408 to 120
Upper-Intermediate 312 to 160
Advanced 270 to 120
Media 124 to 80
Actually the worst ratio seems to be Media (1.55) followed by Upper-Intermediate (1.95), with Advanced coming in third at 2.25. At the Newbie level we have a total deluge of lessons, 7.56 times exceeding the recommended number.
However, I can't help but feel that the recommended number of advanced lessons (120) is artificially lowered, it does not make sense to think that it would take fewer lessons to clear this level, no?
I imagine the useful number of Advanced lessons would be about 250 or 300, following a typical exponential growth curve, instead of the oddly low 120. This would put the number of available advanced lessons at barely enough, if you ask me. Granted, a lot fewer people are using advanced lessons, but putting marketing considertation aside, there should be more, it feels.
I do sincerely hope they pick up and shift focus from lower to Advanced by the time I get there (hoping next year, going at one lesson per day)
The Newbie numbers are somewhat inflated by the practice of re-recording old lessons perhaps? (There was an announcement about this say around a year ago?) I am not sure actually whether the original lessons are retired, but it is a thought. Apart from that, there are a lot of similar lessons at the lower levels, so again the numbers you quote may not give a reliable picture of the learning platform.
Clearly there are commercial reasons behind the spread - Advanced lessons are less profitable. They require more resources to produce and fewer people use them.
Too my mind the lower levels are more valuable because quality resources are in short supply, particularly if you are immersed in the Chinese culture. Once you reach the higher levels, you have access to lots of options: some learning options referred to in posts above, as well as real-life learning (again assuming you are immersed in the culture).
All that said, it would always be good to have more, so long as quality is maintained, because the ChinesePod product is so good.
Right, this is what I am observing as well -- at CPod content is key, and there is just not enough of it at Advanced level, driving people off-site.
That is exactly why I am concerned I will have low motivation to renew my subscription by the time I reach that level. Of course half-year ahead may be kind of early to plan, but still. The community is great and all, but with only 270 (+24 new lessons at once per month) not sure will be enough to justify a two-year renewal.
jennyzhuAugust 02, 2012, 09:34 AM
We publish 1 adv and 1 media/month, also 2 upper for our higher level students. That's cut down from 2 adv and 2 media/month. The reason being 1) vast majority of students are lower level 2) filling in content gaps and build clearer progression in lower levels to better support students (that's why you've seen a string of newbie lessons) 3) we struggle with keeping up with so many higher level lessons as they require significantly more production time.
I've always thought that upper intermediate content is not that much easier than advanced. But the main difference is that the lesson audio is all in Chinese. Is that the main draw?
Perhaps I am wrong, because I am nowhere near the Advanced level. But I would think that by the time you reach that level you are at the stage where you are interested only in vocabulary building. And there are any number of sources on the web which will allow you to build vocabulary. The actual teaching goes on at the lower levels, and Chinese Pod is right to be placing their focus here.
The broader issue is that there is no way to go from inter to UI (and beyond) using cpod. Many people have gone from newbie to being very comfortable at inter by using cpod only (ie living overseas, no Chinese partner, no other significant study materials etc). But to make the jump to UI and advanced the content at cpod does not (alone) allow for a very easy progression. You have to supplement and most people that stick with it just bumble through this process. Doing the UI main podcasts in mandarin only and providing transcripts for the full podcast at this level (as well as for advanced) was a previous suggestion. Also I'd love to see more dialogues like D0561, E0429, and E0841.
I have gone from Newbie to Upper Intermediate from basically just using ChinesePod. The biggest gap I found was Elementary and Intermediate. Looking back at both these lesson types I actually think the gap isn't that big. What made the gap between Intermediate and Upper Intermediate easy for me was taking on ones that related the most to my life, it also helped that I got a free consultation from ChinesePod in which the teacher told me I could take on Upper Intermediate lessons. I think it just depends on what your attitude and dedication is like.
‘there is no way to go from inter to UI (and beyond) using cpod.’
Iaing, your comment is interesting to me in at least two ways: (1) should anyone try to achieve an ‘UI’ or ‘Advanced’ level relying on CP only? I can’t imagine trying to restrict myself to a single resource – you have to look to several platforms or sources to keep climbing, or even just to stay interested. And I have always believed that I have to be ‘immersed’ in China to make the kind of progress I aim for, so it just isn’t practical for me to think of a ‘CP only’ method. (2) Does CP have a position on this? I don’t know that they have ever stated their philosophy except in ‘Chinese on your terms’; I could be corrected on this point. It would help if CP gave some guidelines on how best to use their product to maximise learning opportunities for more advanced learners.
Most of us have a linear idea (learned in school) of starting at grade 1 and progressing through to grade 12 and we take this with us into learning Chinese. This is reinforced in most formal language learning environments. I guess we all need a bit of structure … :) This framework marries with the ‘goals-oriented’ approach that helps some people (& John Pasden has often referred to the importance of goals.)
I think goals and plans are well and good so long as you break them regularly. My personal philosophy is that there is significantly more benefit in making a plan than following it through. (It’s bound to be deficient in some way so following it through is bound to be counter-productive.) So I’m all for plans as long as they are frequently re-made.
Despite the CP categories Newbie through Advanced & Media it does not really conform to the formal progression we have in schools and universities. For one thing, they have never really got the ‘testing’ thing working. For another, it makes sense for more advanced learners to plug into the elementary lessons as well – they are always coming up with new material.
Actually, I think we need a new set of terms to replace Newbie through Advanced (Media is ok) – but it is not a big concern. I suspect there is a more useful way to refer to them but, not being a linguist, I don’t have the terminology. I know at higher levels that it is not just a matter of learning vocabulary, most of which will be quickly forgotten. I need to learn things like the rhythm of the language, subtle variations in meaning, written expression, and different tones, including humour. You can learn those things at all levels, Newbie to Advanced, children do.
My ‘approach’ to Chinese is incremental, even at times a shambles, but it is how I do most things. I would like to progress my Chinese and I would like ChinesePod to be a part of my plan.