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A Quick Look at “Learn a Chinese Phrase”


I was recently contacted by the Learn a Chinese Phrase team from Wayne State University about a video series they put together. I must admit this was pretty surprising, considering I went to school in Michigan and had friends at Wayne State University, too. So I was quite curious to see what they had put together, and now I’m sharing with you! Enjoy.

First up, here’s some basic background on the program: Learn a Chinese Phrase was started in November 2011 by the Confucius Institute at Wayne State University. The goal they hope to accomplish is to teach Chinese through interesting and fun idioms. They take a Chinese idiom and, if it has an English equivalent, teach it by association for the student to both learn the idiom and structure as well.

As of this post, Learn a Chinese Phrase has 63 videos already online. In addition to the 2-minute idiom videos, there are 10 accompanying supplementary videos. In these videos, the teacher takes the idiom just presented and breaks it down for the student. I have to admit, the videos are actually pretty cute at times (I liked the one about being stingy) and I found them quite enjoyable to watch.

I got to talk with John Brender, Ph.D. who is in charge of the project and asked him what they plan to do in the future. He replied:

We are in the process of producing a mobile app to enable users to take these lesson on the go. The app will allow users to take our lessons on the go and test their knowledge on each lesson via the interactive in-app quizzes.

I’m a huge fan of digital apps for learning Chinese on the go, so I am really looking forward to seeing what they put together! If you’re interested, here are links to one of their idiom videos and a supplementary lesson.

You can find “Learn a Chinese Phrase” on YoutubeFacebook, or follow them on Twitter.

If you happen to check it out, let me know what you think in the comments below!

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