100 hours of Mandarin listening! / Audio version of “Learning Languages Like Children”

I hit my first 100-hour mark last week! Sometimes I feel like I already understand so much, and sometimes I’m totally lost – I never appreciated how relatively easy it is for English speakers to acquire any Germanic or Romance language until I started listening to Mandarin. Instead of starting at 30-50% comprehension, you start at 0%. That’s why it takes two to three times as long to acquire some languages than others –  they’re not “harder”, they’re just “different” – so you have to start from scratch.

Refer to this chart of approximate Language Learning Expectations for English Speakers from the Foreign Service Institute of the Department (FSI) of State and this thread on LingQ for more on the subject.

***There’s also a Wikibooks link for the chart here).

I’m currently listening to the Elementary and Intermediate podcasts from PopUpChinese and CSLPod‘s Intermediate, Upper Intermediate, and Advanced series (CSLPod’s Elementary stuff is too slow and repetitive for my level) and trying out their Premium material (Lesson Guides and audios at the sentence level for some newer lessons) on a $10 Basic Subscription.

The only thing you get in the CSLPod Lesson Guides that you don’t get in the free content are the Hanzi texts for the post-dialog vocabulary explanations, but as these make up half of each audio track, I thought I’d try them out. However, as they don’t provide the translations for these like they do for the dialogues, I have to rely on rough translations from Google Translate. Sometimes I understand the majority, sometimes I don’t, but if the content is interesting enough, I keep listening.

One thing that’s nice is that CSLPod does the work of parsing the Hanzi text with pinyin so you don’t have to use a pinyinization tool like at PopUpChinese.

Also, I’ve just uploaded recorded versions of the intro and first chapter of Learning Languages Like Children by Dr. J. Marvin Brown to the LingQ English library.

You can access the collection on LingQ here:


I will be recording and uploading chapters 2-5 over the next few days, so make sure to check back for those if you’re interested!

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