Listening comprehension is one of the trickiest skills to better when learning a foreign language. Spoken language is almost always less formal and more contracted than its written form. Not to mention different accents, dialects, speech impediments, slang or colloquial expressions that can make it hard to understand.
According to a research on communication done by University of Missouri we spend 45% of our time listening. But when it comes to learning and/or practicing a second language – is this true? In class or at home do we spend 45% listening to a foreign language? Not in my experience.
To make things right here are 4 Chinese podcasts for training your listening skills.
Texts with audio on relevant topics taken from news aggregators.
LEVELS: Elementary to Advanced (HKS1 – HSK6+)
PRICE: $10/month, $80/year
ADVANTAGES: Reading Comprehension Tests after each lesson, Vocabulary Flashcards, Grammar Commentary, Analytics, 4-5 new articles a day, can switch between Simplified and Traditional Characters.
DISADVANTAGES: only one sample lesson per level, no free trial period.
2. CHINESE POD
Videos and/or podcasts on fun topics.
LEVELS: Newbie to Advanced + Media
PRICE: $14/month, $124/year for BASIC PLAN
ADVANTAGES: 30 DAY FREE TRIAL but only for some of the lessons, vocabulary explanation, examples, exercises, forum, dictionary.
DISADVANTAGES: no transcript or download button unless you upgrade to premium.
Audio with texts. Lingq is designed as a vocabulary app but it has GUIDED lessons that contain audio and can be used for listening comprehension training.
LEVELS: Beginner – Advanced
PRICE: Has a free version, PREMIUM $10, PLUS $39
ADVANTAGES: Can add your own texts (web version only), vocabulary practice, tutors, can be used for many languages.
DISADVANTAGES: Designed mostly for reading so the audio content is limited. Just look for that sound button.
4. SLOW CHINESE
Slowly spoken Chinese articles on relevant topics about modern phenomena in Chinese culture and society.
LEVEL: doesn’t have a breakdown, appropriate from Intermediate and up.
PRICE: FREEEEE!!! (They have a shop, check-out and order something to support the project).
ADVANTAGES: Fun and short. Downloadable. Texts are translated into English, German, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, and even Arabic.
DISADVANTAGES: It is spoken really slowly. You might want to speed it up on a 2nd or 3rd listen. Updated roughly once a month. Does not have vocabulary training.