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How I Study with ChinesePod 1: Newbie


I finally got around to making my first video in a 6-part series on “How I Study with ChinesePod,” starting of course with Newbie.


Great job with the video ewilc773!

Your insight into tones and how real people communicate struck a chord with me. The words become more meaningful with context. With the emotional content (affect) words gather meaning. Here’s an affective and cognitive domain graphic I found online just now. You are correct: Hearing the intensity–or lack of it!!–gives context.

I remember how distraught I was once when Fiona said in a lesson that if you were translating you were studying the wrong way. She said the goal should be just to know. After I finished pouting about it…I’d been translating…I realized she was right. And you are saying the same thing. The repetition you’ve detailed in your studies helps the brain to bypass the clunky translation for meaning step and now you just know the context.

The ‘blind listening’ exercise is something I’ll begin to work on. I often do a massive review for comprehension, but this has been with Hanzi characters showing. Imitating the voices until they come back naturally hasn’t been something I’ve worked on, but its happened a couple times naturally so I’ll try and add that to my study.

Thanks for your dedication to learning and sharing with the community. Honest! Very cool and helpful thing to do!! :surfing_man:


Thanks stevinsjs!

Here’s a YouKu version I just uploaded for anyone who can’t see YouTube in their particular region.


Great video! Thank you for sharing.


You’re welcome! I’m working on one for Elementary now.


Thanks Elijah. It is s so helpful to be able to learn from people such as you who have already used ChinesePod successfully. I am putting your suggestions for Newbie into practice on elementary and intermediate lessons and am very much looking forward to finding out how yow tackled these levels yourself.

One thing I noticed when I was learning Spanish saws the effectiveness of going back and revising earlier lessons until the speech patterns and vocabulary felt natural, while at the same time moving ahead into new material.



I’m glad to hear that this was helpful for you. Here’s a spoiler: My strategy for Elementary wasn’t much different from Newbie. I had to start changing my strategy at Intermediate because the length of the dialogue and example sentences just became unmanageable.


Xie Xie ni again ewilc773 ! The vocal repetition portion was definitely missing from my studies. I’ve been roaring through a massive review of CPOD lessons this past week with amazing success for me. Retention is way up. My brain kicks the definition into place when the repetition insists it works in context. :headphones: Like notes in a song?


“Like notes in a song” - that’s the perfect analogy. I would listen to those Newbie/Elementary dialogues 100 times precisely because I was trying to learn it like a song, which gave me a way to remember the tones.

During those years, each time I spoke, I was replaying a ChinesePod dialogue in my head. I had to follow these steps before or while speaking each sentence:

  1. Get an idea of what I wanted to say
  2. Figure out which tone I couldn’t remember
  3. Figure out which ChinesePod lesson had the tone I needed
  4. Replay the dialogue in my head until I got to that word, so that I could hear the tone
  5. Say the sentence

If I wanted to tell someone I didn’t like soup, I’d realize that, although I knew it was “tang,” I didn’t remember the tone. I’d start speaking the sentence (我不喜欢喝汤) very slowly, while replaying the “Hot Soup” dialogue in my head. I would hope that I could say it slowly enough that my mental replay could reach the word “soup” before I needed to say the word.

It went like this [stuff in brackets is the ChinesePod dialogue I’m hearing inside my head]:

“我 [spoon tapping on table] 不 [妈妈] 喜欢 [我要] 喝 [喝汤] 汤。”

Whew! That was close. I just barely made it to the right point in the dialogue to hear the 1st tone on 汤 in order to say it correctly.


Thanks Elijah, that’s a really useful video and I’m excited to try out some of these strategies. I’ve actually “studied” 83 Newbie lessons and 82 Elementary lessons, and I do listen to the dialogues in iTunes again and again while driving to work. But I realise I haven’t studied them anywhere near as thoroughly as you and now I want to go back and work on those Newbie lessons again!