97 episodes

You can Learn Chinese, a podcast by Jared Turner and John Pasden of Mandarin Companion. Hear Chinese learning experts discuss how to learn Mandarin!

You Can Learn Chinese Jared Turner, John Pasden

    • Education
    • 4.7 • 94 Ratings

You can Learn Chinese, a podcast by Jared Turner and John Pasden of Mandarin Companion. Hear Chinese learning experts discuss how to learn Mandarin!

    Should you take the HSK?

    Should you take the HSK?

    Many people study for the HSK exam but will focusing your language learning on your interests and needs be better and faster? Well, yes…maybe! In this episode John and Jared discuss how to bring better focus to your studies so you can beat the pants off the HSK. Guest interview is with Ben Whatley, avid Chinese learner and co-founder of Memrise.

    Links from the episode:Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) | Wikipedia general infoHSK-Mod | Live, one-one-one online courses by AllSet LearningNo links for too much sugar in your Chinese food… no one needs thatSimply Chinese | Comprehensible input YouTube channelMemrise | Co-founded by guest Ben Whatley 


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    • 59 min
    Do music skills make you better at Chinese?

    Do music skills make you better at Chinese?

    Does a musical background make you better at Chinese? Believe it or not, there is research on this very subject that John and I are going to delve into. Guest interview is with Murray James Morrison, jazz musician, composer, and professor at NYU Shanghai. 

    Links from the episode:Research Paper | Identification of Mandarin tones by English-speaking musicians and nonmusiciansSherlock Holmes and a Scandal in Shanghai | New Level 2, 450 Words, Mandarin Companion Graded Reader Sinica Podcast hosted by Kaiser KuoThe China Project | Rebranded name for SupChina


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    • 52 min
    Five qualities of good language learners

    Five qualities of good language learners

    Anyone can learn a language, but in this episode, John and I are going to talk about five qualities of good language learners. Call them qualities, call them attitudes — these adjustments will help maximize your learning results.

    Guest interview is with Zachary Gidwitz, who despite having a Chinese teacher tell him to give up, later progressed to a level that opened up job opportunities with one of China’s largest ecommerce giants. 

    Links from the episode:YCLC #7 The Myth of Learning Chinese Like a ChildTolerance of Ambiguity and Use of Second Language StrategiesSherlock Holmes and a Scandal in Shanghai (Mandarin Companion’s next book!)The Six | Documentary about 6 Chinese survivors of the Titanic


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    • 1 hr 4 min
    Four types of teachers to avoid

    Four types of teachers to avoid

    The Ultra-Traditional, the “Buddy”, the Know-it-All, and the “Too Nice” are all teacher types that John and Jared are going to break down and you should consider avoiding. That being said, they have some redeeming qualities too!

    Interview is with Brad Johnson whose interest and friendships were the driving force in improving his Chinese skills to the level where he now hosts a podcast in Chinese. 

     Links from the episode:#87 The 6 Types of Chinese Learners#79 Why typing characters is better than handwritingEmma 《安末》 (Mandarin Companion Level 1 graded reader)Brad Johnson’s Podcasts | MianBao.fmXiaoyuzhou podcast appTop 100 Podcasts on Xiaoyuzhou


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    • 59 min
    Game-based learning with Fred Poole, Ph.D.

    Game-based learning with Fred Poole, Ph.D.

    In this special episode, John and Jared interview game-based learning expert Fred Poole who is a professor at Michigan State University, an avid gamer, and also an advanced speaker of Chinese and Spanish. 

     Links from the episode:Fred Poole at GithubGame and Activity Book by Fred Poole (PDF)Identity RPG game Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Curly Haired Company | Mandarin Companion Level 1 graded reader


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    • 47 min
    A rude awakening: Chinese norms and niceties

    A rude awakening: Chinese norms and niceties

    Have you ever had comments in Chinese about your weight, asked how much money you make, or experienced just a general lack of “please” and “thank-you”? John and Jared talk about common usages of Chinese that at times can be perceived as “rude” by non-native speakers. Plus we’ll talk about how YOU can avoid being perceived as rude to Chinese speakers. Interview is with Randy Telfer who was first drawn to Chinese by martial arts and today has built a life and career around Chinese.







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    • 1 hr

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
94 Ratings

94 Ratings

rene.nay ,

Be ready to be inspired

I didn’t think a podcast talking about language learning would be as helpful as listening to the actual language but it has been truly inspiring. This podcast is filled with helpful information; I hesitate to call them tips as well. I’ve only listened to about 7 or 8 episodes but they’ve all been highly motivating. The studies they review or conduct themselves are so informative. And the interviews are so fascinating. Since listening, I’ve started meeting with a friend who is a native speaker and she has been very encouraging to practice conversation with. I also totally get the point about reading characters in context through reading a Mandarin Companion book. Only in chapter 2 and I already have noticed an increase in my confidence to read. Thanks you two!

TiggerQueen2255 ,

Y’all Helped Me Impress My Chinese Teacher

I’m a senior in high school learning Chinese, and this podcast has been the ace up my sleeve. My teacher was practically blown away by my pronunciation of tones, all thanks to the pronunciation tips from this podcast! Really, the credit should go to the hosts of the pod. They’ve also helped me level up my Chinese with their awesome graded readers, and with which I’m still at breakthrough level. I can’t wait to move to level up though! I’m super psyched every time I see a new episode has been released. I love Mr. Jared’s intros and the jokes he adds in every episode, and they have yet to fail to make me laugh!
I have a couple of questions for y’all, mostly about listening. With pronunciation, my tones are pretty good, and with single syllables, I can hear the tones decently too. However, when I’m listening to recordings or things like that, I hardly register tones at all. I rely entirely on the other parts of pronunciation and then try to guess from context. What can I do to try to improve my listening as far as tones are concerned? And, if applicable, when did y’all transition to naturally hearing tones? Thanks so much for an awesome podcast, and I can’t wait to hear more episodes!

Yeah I like Toy Box ,

Thank you for a great resource

Between work, grad school, and raising a toddler, I like many others are playing the “I don’t have time to learn (any new) Chinese.” card. But with the my collection of mandarin companion books I can maintain my current level and listening to this podcast keeps me engaged with learning the language. Every episode contains great information on how to approach learning, how to stay engaged with learning, and a motivating episode with someone who has made significant strides in the journey of learning Chinese. You can add another life long learner to Team Extensive Reading. Thank you J n’ J!

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