Studying chinese (3) – improving your listening abilities

I experienced many apps on iOS/android to learn to recognize words in a live context, but either you have to pay, or it’s not totally satisfactory.

There is no easy way out to improve your understanding : you have to listen to the words and phrases and read subtitles along. You will have better results if it’s not in a scholar context, if you ENJOY what you are listening to. You can achieve that by two means : listening to songs in the language you are studying, or, yes…watching TV.

It’s not that easy to access chinese channels from abroad. The official CCTV channel app provides distant access, on Android or iOS, but you can only access the CCTV network, and there are many other channels in China.

Last week I came upon this fantastic app on android (not sure it exists on iOS). It’s totally functional, the user experience is astonishing, and you can access up to 130 channels from all the chinese territory. This is a good solution, free of charge, I highly recommend it.

Second part : the songs. In the chinese course I am attending every week, we sometimes listen to songs in mandarin chinese. Many are produced in Hong Kong & Taiwan, but they come more & more from mainland China. A few months ago we listened to this particular song from Wang Feng :

This song had a huge impact on chinese youth at the time he sang it (2009). It was just after the Olympic Games in Beijing, so with the images in the middle of the clip you can figure out it’s the celebration of a new era, the new China breaking into XXIst century. The words tell you it’s quite different : it’s all about nostalgia, about a man who is arriving in the middle of his life. He remembers the good old days of youth, that’s when he was the most happy, and he mourns for these innocent times. It’s not a very delicate song, with its gross guitars and its easy melody, but it’s moving, anyway.

If you are looking for more popular chinese songs to sing along, here is a good source.