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leosmith

Chinesepod draws the line

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leosmith
The proposed podcasts should be “modular,” which simply means that they will not be dependent upon one other. This will enable the listener to skip around between podcasts just as the member can skip around to different threads within Chinese-Forums, itself. An attempt will be made to explain all the vocabulary used in each podcast (except for vocabulary considered too basic for the level in which that podcast is rated).

This is essentially type B. And as you mentioned earlier, it would be good to give the learner a list of this basic vocabulary she is expected to know for the given level.

The progressive lesson method really requires a well thought-out structure

Totally agree.

and can only be any good if done by somebody with a lot of experience in teaching Chinese.

I think there is enough information out there, and enough samples of what works/doesn't work, that one could create an excellent podcast without being a professional teacher.

You'd essentially be providing a language course

That will be my goal if/when I make my podcast site (in a different language). I know I'm being a buttinsky, as I'm not terribly interested in creating a Chinese podcast, but perhaps y'all need to ask yourselves if you just want to make a few podcasts about forum topics, or if you want to do a full blown project that will take a learner from lower intermediate to advanced. Or not. I'm just enjoying this topic, so I hope you don't mind if I continue to participate.

The modular concept is much easier to implement, IMHO.

Unless one painstakingly makes sure that the sum of the podcasts of a given level teach all the vocab of that given level (my type B). In that case it's probably just as difficult.

I'm in agreement with MikeEdward's post with the exception of the Pimsleur recommendation. I think that course is just above worthless.

Couldn't agree less.

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simonlaing

On the topic of modular or sequential I am reminded of my English teaching days at Canilx and Nasdaken.

There they had 5 levels where for the first 3 levels the first 12 (small group lessons) were named basically the same but had differing diffuculty with the level.

So Beginner class 1 was basic greetings. Hi, how are you

Intermediate Class 1 Greetings Hi how are you where is your home town.

Upper Intermediate Class 1 Business Greetings Hi I am Simon . How are you? --- I work for Sunyu Translation Company, here is my business card.

(Each private class also had a grammar section, though it was usually only touched on in the beginner sections, sentence patterns though were used through out)

Thus they sort of built off each other ,

Some of the other topics were food, weather, housing, etc...

Each level also had 24 modular salon classes which were like mini english corner and were to stimulate discussion. ( activities like would you rather be a __ or a ___ for conditional practice)

So if it was set up like this there could be a basic set of 12 classes that could give you progression while also having modular classes that could be added to the appropriate level.

It wouldn't be a big deal to tailor the first podcasts to a structure, but I think using the Chinese forums advantages like TV shows and flash card tools would be advantageous.

What to do you think?

have fun,

Simon:)

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imron

Those of you considering setting up your own podcast, might want to check out this thread by trevelyan (of Adso fame). He's just starting a new site that allows users to create their own lessons and podcasts.

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renzhe
I think there is enough information out there, and enough samples of what works/doesn't work, that one could create an excellent podcast without being a professional teacher.

Yes, it's possible, but if you have somebody who has never taught a person how to speak a language making a course teaching people how to speak that language, then the chances are that they would mess up somewhere.

This is not a slight, just some good-old skepticism.

Unless one painstakingly makes sure that the sum of the podcasts of a given level teach all the vocab of that given level (my type B). In that case it's probably just as difficult.

I don't see why this is a problem.

Take the HSK1 vocablist and make it mandatory. Most beginner learners will know most of that.

Then take the HSK2 vocablist and import it into a text editor. Every time you make an elementary podcast, mark the words you've used. Aim to use at least 5-10 words from the list in each podcast (and some others). Repeat until you've used all the words.

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renzhe
It wouldn't be a big deal to tailor the first podcasts to a structure, but I think using the Chinese forums advantages like TV shows...

I think that the TV show project could easily be turned into a blog (with links to the forum discussions) and structured as a learning resource. It could serve as "content" to draw people to the forums.

You could have elementary to very advanced "lessons", with vocabulary, summary, and perhaps a cultural comment or two that explains something you can learn about China/Chinese history/Chinese society from that lesson.

Then again, I don't have the time to do this alone, so I'm throwing it out there as an idea.

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Luobot
I think that the TV show project could easily be turned into a blog

I agree and think that it could also be turned into a podcast. The podcast would pick out lines of dialogue and use it as the basis for discussing vocabulary, sentence structure, and grammatical versus colloquial usage.

I took a look at the First Episode 31 and was quite impressed with the work Renzhe did on it. This one would be a good starting point for all the reasons that Renzhe gave in his post about it (and it's a funny movie). Of course, a podcast takes more effort and resources than a blog, but it also has greater reach.

Again, I'm willing to help with editing the audio. Someone else will have to do the talking and initial recording, then send me the file. I'll clean the file up, and I'll extract audio clips from the movie and insert them into the appropriate places in the podcast where they are being discussed.

If there are C-F members willing to dedicate the time necessary, then there's no reason why there couldn't be a second effort to produce other podcasts in addition to these, such as the modular, thread-based ones discussed earlier, and Simon's progressive lesson idea, assuming Simon will take the lead in creating those.

I'm up for any and all of them.

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simonlaing

As others said this looks like a clone of Chinese pod, where most of the material is behind a subscription wall and lacks a coherent scheme and good upper intermediate classes. I am not going to touch on the pods though the two I listened to seemed short..

I thought the whole point of discussing doing on Chinese-forums was to remedy these issues of having a subscription wall instead of paying for it with advertising or referrals .

Also incorporating the topics talked about on Chinese-forums and collaborative help on the dialogues.

Time has gone into popupchinese.com, no doubt but I still don't see how it deals with the issues caused by Cpod charging for higher classes and lacking in certain content issues.

Anyone feel the same way? Luo bot as it is subscription fee based don't think it is a bit early to say this is way to go.

Or I am not sure if trevelyan is willing to make it advertising based...?

What do you think?

Simon:)

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roddy
I thought the whole point of discussing doing on Chinese-forums

You're looking for an entirely different discussion, here.

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imron
and lacks a coherent scheme and good upper intermediate classes
Considering it's only been online for a week, that's not so unreasonable :mrgreen: I'm sure it will expand in time.

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simonlaing

Sorry I accidentally posted on the other thread.

Oh I am up for this but think I would appreciate the help from others with audio and transcript writing and editing.

I was wondering do you have links to those HSK 1 and HSK 2 word lists?

Should I dig out the Canilx/nasdaken topic list for the core Podcasts topic titles or is there another organization of vocabulary that you guys suggest?

Also the parts of the lesson,

Teaching the english lesson there were

Pronunciation - (Aka Tongue twisters that used the vocab)

Intro of new vocabulary (done in transcript, flash card game or even inside the MP3)

Model dialogues

Discussion of dialogues

(dialogues with pauses, this could be done blues clues pausing style (in all chinese) or , English and then Chinese translation.

Grammar sentence structure exercise ___ 比 ____ 好. i.e. " How would you say chinese-forums is better than the Formosa Board?"

Then using the words in a creative way with a model to start. aka on the weather topic: make a weather report of three cities in China or your home country with recomendations of what to wear.

Would we want all of these in the podcast? The dialogues, and examples should also be interesting as that was a draw of the CPod.

So as you ponder what should be included in each lesson tell me if I should post the list of lesson topics?

have fun,

Simon:)

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roddy

Moved your posts across.

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renzhe
I was wondering do you have links to those HSK 1 and HSK 2 word lists?

Right here on this site.

The more advanced podcasts could use the higher levels too, but that's still a lot of vocabulary to cover. If you include 25 words per lesson, it will still take you about 80 lessons to cover HSK2 alone.

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Luobot
Oh I am up for this but think I would appreciate the help from others with audio and transcript writing and editing.

I’ll be happy to help where I can, primarily with editing the audio after it's been recorded. If you want pauses, then don’t worry about them, as I can easily insert and fine tune them to any length. You don’t need to sit there with a stop watch when you’re recording. (But a slight full pause where a pause is to be inserted will improve quality.)

So as you ponder what should be included in each lesson tell me if I should post the list of lesson topics?

By all means, why not go ahead and post the list of topics.

Also, I think if you throw up a rough draft of a transcript, then you will get community-based help with editing it.

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kdavid

How many listeners / hits was Chinesepod getting per day when all of the content was still free?

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simonlaing

Hey Guys,

Sorry I have been away for a few days, Work got busy again, I am learning how schmooze and the two handed ming pian hand off. Plus wedding preparation schanigans are popping up these days.

I will post the list of topics and and outline of the lesson this weekend, after I look it up in my dusty files. I will have time then as it is the Moon Cake festival and I get Monday off work, woo hoo!

I am glad there is continued interest in this.

have fun,

Simon:)

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trevelyan

@simon - just a ping that I've replied to your earlier message here. I actually think and hope the lesson creation tools we have can save you a lot of time, but that's for another post.

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Luobot
How many listeners / hits was Chinesepod getting per day when all of the content was still free?

kdavid,

According to an interview with Ken Carroll a year ago, ChinesePod "boasts more than 250,000 unique hits per day with more than 100,000 registered users."

That's quite juicy, even without taking into account the likely growth over the last year since the Sept. 2007 interview.

It will be interesting to see what happens a year or two from now, especially if someone comes up with an attractive alternative model to compete with ChinesePod for those eyeballs now that they are mainly a pay wall site.

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leosmith

Something I just realized that might help you guys. Chinesepod is the only modular intermediate podcast that uses a fair amount of english. That's quite an important niche, IMO. If you want to, you can be the only free modular intermediate podcast that uses a fair amount of english. Do that, and if you're any good at all you should get a nice piece of the pie.

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leosmith
(Tonight I will explain why japanesepod101 is so much better than any other podcast I've tried.)
Time flies when you're working OT:(

Now I'd like to share what I think about format. Since I only use podcasts while I'm walking, I want comprehensible input. I'm not asking for easy, but rather Krashen's i+1. This is why I'm so fond of podcasts that use beginner vocabulary to explain intermediate vocabulary. Don't just throw a bunch of new, unexplained words at me, and force me to read a transcript. Make the podcast self-contained.

Up until now, I've avoided talking about grammar, for brevity. But now it's time to mention that there are some grammar structures that deserve some attention, even in a rather straight forward grammar like Mandarin. What I'm driving at is a quick, somewhat literal sentence by sentence english translation is a superb idea. I've listened to a lot of podcasts, and I feel that having the sentence by sentence increases the comprehensibility of the entire podcast significantly. Podcasts that don't have it, no matter how much effort they go into explaining vocabulary and grammar, will not be as comprehensible. It has to happen at the right time too. Specifically, here is the format I find most useful:

1) introduction, banter to pique interest including 2 or 3 critical vocab

2) dialogue only

3) sentence by sentence, alternating with the dialogue

4) banter about the dialogue as a whole

5) vocabulary explanations - including 2 or 3 sample sentences, one of which is the dialogue sentence, for each word

6) grammar explanations

7) dialogue only

8) farewell banter

One final note about sentence by sentence. Translating the sentences of context, rather than alternating line by line with the dialogue, doesn't make the podcast much more comprehensible than just translating individual words.

Back on my chinespod rant. My two biggest complaints are that they are type C, and that they don't do sentence by sentence. Those are two very big marks against them, IMO. On the other hand, japanesepod101 is the only podcast I know of that's type B (somewhat) and does a sentence by sentence. That makes it the best podcast I've ever used.

That being said, some of the earlier intermediate chinesepod casts did have sentence by sentence. And they were very comprehensible. But they used too much english, pushing them below Krashen's i+1. The next thing I'll talk about is how much english is appropriate.

Edited by leosmith

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kdavid
How many listeners / hits was Chinesepod getting per day when all of the content was still free?

According to an interview with Ken Carroll a year ago, ChinesePod "boasts more than 250,000 unique hits per day with more than 100,000 registered users."

That's quite juicy, even without taking into account the likely growth over the last year since the Sept. 2007 interview.

It will be interesting to see what happens a year or two from now, especially if someone comes up with an attractive alternative model to compete with ChinesePod for those eyeballs now that they are mainly a pay wall site.

This differs quite drastically with this Wikipedia article that claims they get 10,000 visitors a day.

Any ideas on which figure is more accurate? I'd be more inclined to say the latter. I mean, 100,000 people studying Chinese world wide? Really?

I'd love to look at some articles elsewhere estimating how many people are seriously studying this language.

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