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Zeppa

Changes at Chinesepod

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Zeppa

I've recently decided to start using Chinesepod again prior to getting Skype lessons or one-on-one local lessons. It occurred to me that it's ideal to plus the gap for me as I can read quite well but lack oral skills. I've been doing intermediate classes in London, one evening a week, but obviously that isn't enough to improve speaking. I used Chinesepod a couple of years ago and at that time I was hung up about the varying levels of difficulty, being unable to translate quickly enough into Chinese and so on. Now I just plan to listen to lessons, including the pure dialogue and vocabulary practice.

 

Having signed up for at least one month, I was surprised to see the whole thing has moved to Taiwan! I can't find anything about this here, though there is a long thread about it on the Chinesepod community from December 2014 on. I find this quite a surprise. The new key person is Fiona Tian, who seems very good on audio although rather exhaustingly dynamic if you watch her videos. In the old Shanghai lessons there were an awful lot of giggling girls, which I don't miss. I do miss Dilu, although Jenny was very good too. The current English speaker Gwilym (Fiona sounds bilingual) seems to swallow words a bit.

 

Anyone else using it?

 

 

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vellocet

Eh, their time in the sun is over.  They sold out to some company and now it's yet another soulless operation.  I really liked their Chinese Corner or whatever it was called where they discussed word usage or differences in similar words.  Too bad it was basically unlistenable as they used an audio editor to put "traditional music" (i.e. what westerners think of as stereotypical "Chinese" music) in the background, so as to distract from what was being said. 

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Zeppa

I think they sold out some time before the move to Taiwan, or am I wrong?

Of course they may have reached an impasse. I think the podcasts are useful for me at the moment, though. I quite liked Popupchinese but after a while their weird topics got irritating.

I don't know Chinese Corner - or is it what they call Qing wen?

Of course it's easy to get annoyed at things, the way I do about some speakers. For instance, the title 'Qing wen' drove me mad. I think one of the textbooks I use has a DVD with an English Christmas carol tune after every track. I believe the music is used to tell you it's the end or beginning of a track, so they're probably damned whatever music they choose. But at the moment, I find it useful enough to live with that.

Does anyone else use Chinesepod?

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Silent

 

Fiona sounds bilingual

I believe she grew up in the UK, she at least went to university in the UK.

I know her from MandarinmadeEZ clips at youtube.

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naijahusker

I do use Chinesepod podcasts. I subscribed for a month or 2 a while back and downloaded all the lessons I thought I would need (Intermediate and Upperintermediate). I mainly have lessons by John and Jenny or John and Dilu. I use them for listening practice. I try to listen passively during the day and if I have time in the evening try and transcribe what I hear. This can be time consuming. If I get stuck not being able to make out a sentence or phrase, I ask a Chinese friend of mine. I don't/didn't mess with the newer lessons that are missing the old crew as I noticed a significant drop in quality which is understandable because it took the old guys years to hone their craft.

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tysond

I have been listening to the latest lessons, I don't notice any huge issue.

People get attached to previous hosts a lot and when one leaves there is drama for some reason.

I prefer seeing people come and go, you get different approaches and viewpoints.

 

There were always some challenges with the non-native speakers and pronunciation but I don't think it's too bad. 

Also there are no non-native speakers at upper-intermediate and advanced, which is where I spend more of my time now.

 

I spend almost an hour listening to this a day while on my bike, so it's quite valuable to have fresh content every day.

I repeat a lot of sessions so I will hear most of them 3-4 times each.  

Occasionally I will intensively study a lesson but mostly it's just background learning and reinforcement (it's always amazing how the word you just learned somewhere else shows up in the next days podcast).

 

The only thing I really miss from the old shows was the KTV session.  That was actually very useful in learning Chinese culture - famous artists, genres of music, etc. 

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Zeppa

Thanks, naljahusker and tysond. I think that's right - the service is still OK. No one is going to use it for ever. I have been using it around the house and in the garden, but I don't have a one-hour bike ride. However, there are times I can use it. Still getting used to how to put it on the iphone - best copying into iTunes. There is an app which works very well, but all I can get are the full courses. I am still finding elementary best and decided to do it for a few weeks before intermediate. The trouble with elementary is that you don't want to listen to the full lesson more than once, but want the pure dialogue and the vocab review, and those don't come in the app - hence back to iTunes. I hope to move up a level eventually.

 

One trivial thing I notice is that they've got some studio sounds in Taiwan. Someone was complaining about the noise of the dentist's drill in the dentist lesson. I didn't notice that, but when I was listening to the latest, about spicy food, there were sounds that were supposed to be a restaurant kitchen. I thought something had broken on our roof! It must be fun to add sounds, but I don't feel I need it.

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vellocet

Yeah, someone is teaching themselves how to use an audio editing program.  Or, is in love with changing things just to put "that creative touch" on mp3s meant for serious language learners.  It sucks for the rest of us that have to suffer because of that. 

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Flickserve

They did some livestream.

 

I had a look. To be fair it will take them to get their new team and style going.

 

However, their livestream was labelled as advanced but they spoke a lot of English. It was more at low intermediate level.

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LARPtimus Prime

Um, did they switch to Taiwan Mandarin? What's going on there?

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