Chinese Language Blog

Great Ways to Learn Chinese – BBC Real Chinese Posted by on Jul 7, 2014 in Culture, Vocabulary

There are so many ways to go about learning a language these that it can be overwhelming for people just getting started. Enroll in a traditional class, get a tutor, find a language partner, self study, get online, buy software – the list goes on and on. Of course, the best way you can learn Chinese is with us (wink wink), and I’m sure plenty of you are already doing just that. When it comes to language learning, though, you can always do more. This is especially true for those of us who are fortunate enough to have a decent internet connection and access to sites like YouTube, which is blocked in China. Over the next few months, I’m going to spotlight a few great ways to learn Chinese, especially online. First up, we’re jumping over the pond to see how our friends in the UK are learning Chinese.

BBC Real Chinese

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A screenshot of the BBC’s “Real Chinese” page.

The BBC put together a great mini-series about China and the Chinese language called “Real Chinese” (日常中文 – rì cháng zhōng wén – lit. “every day Chinese”). You can read all about it here on their website and follow along through their 10-part course. Topics range from a basic introduction to the country and the language up to booking a hotel, so this is great for absolute beginners who want to get a good base. You can listen to a native speaker and practice your pronunciation by repeating, and you also learn how to read the pinyin system. One of the downfalls, however, is that Chinese characters are not used at all. Of course, for many people who want to just learn how to speak Chinese, this is of little importance. As is the case with most things produced by the BBC, the videos are quite good and provide a great insight into the world of Chinese. Each episode is only 15 minutes long, so this won’t take up too much of your time. The website also has mini-guides, tests, and a few games for added practice. Here are all ten episodes of the series, in chronological order:

Episode 1 – Speak

Episode 2 – Home

Episode 3 – Education

Episode 4 – Drink

Episode 5 – Food

Episode 6 – Buy

Episode 7 – Explore

Episode 8 – Travel

Episode 9 – Leisure

Episode 10 – Entertainment

After watching all of these episodes and working through the course on their website, you should have a much better understanding of China, the people, language, and culture. Keep an eye on the blog, as we’ll be sharing more awesome resources for learning Chinese in the future. Don’t forget to learn a new Chinese word every day with us while you’re at it!

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.


  1. Peter Simon:

    An excellent thing you’re sharing such material. Thanks a lot.

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