Background Audio – News Shows

While I’m not really one to watch the news, having streaming news channels going in the background is a great way to keep immersion going during the day—and adds a bit more vocabulary variety to your daily immersion. Plus, it helps to keep up with new events and new terms as you listen.

Below are a list of news shows you can check out online and throw on to have playing in the background.

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A “skewer” of songs

I came across this the other day while looking for a collection of Eason Chan’s (陳奕迅 [Chén Yìxùn]) Mandarin songs:


I thought using 串燒 was such a fun way to refer to a selected compilation of his Mandarin songs. Here’s how it breaks down:

陳奕迅 (陈奕迅) [Chén Yìxùn]: Eason Chan

國語 (国语) [Guóyǔ]: Mandarin Chinese

熱門 (热门) [rèmén]: popular

And here it gets interesting:

串燒 (串烧) [chuànshāo]: literally this refers to food barbecued on a skewer, but here it is being used to refer to a collection of songs strung together in a compilation

精選 (精选) [jīngxuǎn]: carefully selected collection of something, in this case, Eason’s Mandarin songs

Anyway it’s also a great collection of his Mandarin songs, giving you over an hour’s worth of great background music to listen to.


Sudoideas: Dramas and Background Audio

Welcome to the first post in the series on background audio and finding things to watch and listen to in the background. This post is an extension on one back from 2011, where I introduced the site Sugoideas. Thankfully this site is still going strong since then, and it has even more content and better categories to organize everything they have available. As I mentioned then, most of the titles are in English or romanized version of the Chinese names, so it can be a bit hard to find specific dramas and TV shows. As before, the website keeps episodes consistently updated, so there’s always new material available.

Now when you visit there’s nine categories listed at the top of the page to help you find something you might like:

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Let’s take a look at those categories as well as a few selections from them! Hopefully you’ll find something you like and can do what I did all last weekend.. binge watch 😀

Continue reading “Sudoideas: Dramas and Background Audio”

Learning by Listening

I came across this article, which, while dated (2009), it reinforces much of what I believe we already should know:

“Our ability to learn new words is directly related to how often we have been exposed to the particular combinations of the sounds which make up the words. If you want to learn Spanish, for example, frequently listening to a Spanish language radio station on the internet will dramatically boost your ability to pick up the language and learn new words.”


I’ve always been a strong proponent of this methodology, and believe that learning the sounds first before learning any of the phonetic systems–regardless if you’re using Pinyin or Zhuyin–is far more valuable than starting with entire chapters devoted to initials, finals, etc. That is, it gives you even more immersion in the language until it becomes background ‘noise’ that actually has some benefits for concentration and learning.

There’s even an interesting study that was done (found here) that explores the benefits of ambient noise on cognitive ability. Often times, while at work, driving to take care of chores, or even while walking around, I’ll put on some sort of audio to listen to. I have a collection of news, music, talk shows, food shows, movies, and podcasts that provide enough variety to listen to on a regular basis without getting bored or sick of what I am listening to.

That said, I will still try and repeat what I listen to a few times so that I can become more and more familiar with what is being discussed and get used to the nuances in the way different people are speaking. It’s a really great method to get Chinese into your subconscious so you can still learn without necessarily focusing on it.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be putting together various sources and recommended items to listen to. I added a new section, Audio, where you can easily find more posts in this category and hopefully find some audio you’ll enjoy listening to to help practice.

If you have any you’d recommend, please share them in the comments below!