Over the past few months, I’ve been sharing some tips on great ways to learn Chinese on the ‘net. Here are the previous posts in case you missed them:
- BBC Real Chinese: This great series from the BBC teaches you some basic Chinese and also a lot about the culture.
- FluentU: Learn Chinese from real life videos such as commercials and TV shows.
- nciku: This great site has a dictionary, vocab lists, conversations, HSK prep, and more.
Today we’ll take a look at a fantastic resource for learning Chinese online – YouTube! There are tons of awesome channels on YouTube that can help you improve your Chinese as well as learn more about the country and culture. Here are some of my favorites:
There are tons of ways to learn Chinese on YouTube.
Of course I have to start with a shameless plug. In all seriousness, though, I’ve put a lot of time and effort into building the YouTube channel over the years. You can find videos specifically on Chinese language – learn the 100 most common characters, how to make comparisons, useful vocabulary for daily life, and more. There are also plenty of videos about Chinese culture, such as an introduction to Spring Festival. As an avid traveler, I’ve put together around 100 shorts on some of the places I’ve been in China. Plan your trip and get an insight into this amazing country.
“Scenes from a Chinese Restaurant”
While an American guy in a Hawaiian shirt hanging out in his garage might not scream “Chinese teacher,” Mike’s Mandarin abilities are impressive and his videos are not only helpful but also quite funny. Watch all of his videos and take notes, and you’ll be well on your way to being able to speak Chinese.
Get to know Mike in the first lesson on his great channel.
The best part about this channel is its variety and organization. You can choose from many types of videos to learn Chinese – build vocabulary with pictures, practice your listening, learn about Chinese holidays, or just focus on the short 3-minute lessons. There are so many videos already on the channel with new ones going up all the time, so you’ll never run out of material.
Practice your listening with this video about ordering in a restaurant.
Yang Yang is an excellent Chinese teacher with clear, informative videos for learners of all levels. Beginners will love her videos on the pinyin system and its pronunciation, while more advanced learners are sure to get a kick out of her street interviews with real local people. These videos force you to practice your listening on the first go, and then subtitles come in to help you out the second time around. You can also download the dialogues for further study.
Why do foreigners learn Chinese? She poses this question to locals.
Ben is a great host on this channel, and his videos are made even better with native speaking guests. While you can learn a lot about Chinese language here, such as how to correctly use the four tones or common greetings, there are many other interesting topics covered. For example, you can watch a video about dumb Chinese tattoos. Chinese people laugh at these foreigners with bad tattoos, and you should too!
Why does Justin Timberlake have “ice skating” tattooed on his body?
We’ve already talked about this site specifically in a previous post, but the YouTube channel definitely deserves a mention on here as well. There are videos on just about any topic imaginable on here, and most of them are short and specific. Following this channel will help you primarily with your listening, as the videos aren’t very instructional. The lack of subtitles is a bit disappointing, but it’s understandable since they want you to sign up for the premium content. For learners of an intermediate to advanced level, this channel is good practice either way.
How was your Spring Festival?
For those interested in living in Taiwan, this is an excellent channel to follow. As she’s Taiwanese, Peggy uses traditional Chinese characters in her video. If you’re trying to learn simplified characters, don’t let this deter you from checking out her channel. She has tons of conversational videos in real-life settings that are much more useful than outdated textbooks. Take for example this video where she shows you how to order a drink and chat with your bartender:
Chat your bartender up in Chinese.
These are the most professional videos you’ll find, as they were all produced by CCTV. You can watch a wide variety of series on here focused on Chinese language and culture, such as “Travel in Chinese” and “Growing Up in Chinese.” The former is hosted by perhaps the most famous Chinese speaking foreigner, Mark Roswell of Canada. Known by Chinese as 大山, he’s the 老外 every 老外 loves to hate, but you’ve got to hand it to him – his Chinese is amazing and he’s a huge celebrity here.
Da Shan teaches you how to take a taxi in Chinese.
Emma keeps things interesting on her YouTube channel with a few different series. Travel with her to places like her hometown of Xi’an, listen to her read Chinese books out loud, learn how to sing Chinese songs, and of course pick up tons of useful vocabulary and grammar. Her new videos are always fresh and relevant, such as this one that teaches you how to talk about taking selfies in Chinese, a phenomenon that has absolutely taken off here:
Don’t just take selfies; talk about them in Chinese!
Check out this channel for their self-described “funny edu-taining videos” that go along with their silly name quite well. These guys are hilarious and their videos are worth a look for a few laughs. They also provide lots of insight into not only Chinese, but Asian culture as a whole. From fashion through the dynasties, to strange moon cake flavors, to this amazing short entitled “Signs You’re Turning into Your Asian Parents,” this channel is pure gold.
Are you turning into your Asian parents?
There you have it, folks. Quit wasting your time looking at cat videos and start learning Chinese on YouTube.
Even LOL cats like learning Chinese on YouTube!