Free English/Chinese learning the podcast way
By Douglas Habecker
Translated by Naomi Lai
While many people purchase iPods and MP3 players to listen to music on the go, did you know that they are great tools for learning languages as well? There are at least two websites offering free lessons in podcast format. This lets your computer automatically download the latest lessons as soon as they are released, so you will always have something fresh to listen to in your iPod or CD player. Below are two popular podcasts that teach English and Chinese.
Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/
The lessons in this podcast highlight common mistakes that are made when writing in English, with lots of easy-to- follow examples. A new lesson is released each week, centered around a particular grammar point. Each lesson is between five and 10 minutes long, and is taught in a fun, interesting manner. If you have questions about a lesson, you can visit the website and leave a comment. If enough people ask the same question, it becomes the topic of a future lesson. Since this site has been around for several years, you can find a lot of old lessons available, which should answer any English grammar questions you may have.
Chinese Learn Online: http://www.chineselearnonline.com
This podcast is produced in Taichung and is a great resource for foreigners wanting to learn Chinese. The lessons here are progressive, which means each one continues where the previous one left off. The course is organized into different levels, with 60 lessons in each one. Lessons from earlier levels are taught entirely in English. However, in later levels the amount of English used in explanations is gradually reduced and replaced with Chinese that was already taught, providing greater review opportunities for the listener. Students who are serious about their progress can purchase subscriptions, which give them access to transcripts and online review tools to make sure they are keeping up.
Don't limit yourself to just English and Chinese, though. Just like these websites, you can find hundreds of podcasts online teaching all the major languages of the world!