Cracking the Intermediate Plateau (Podcast)

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My First Ever Podcast Discussion Recorded Entirely in Mandarin Chinese! 中式礼貌和英式礼貌有什么区别? I'm Learning Mandarin

Today’s episode is a very special edition in which, for the first time ever, the discussion is recorded entirely in Mandarin Chinese.  For some background: Last Christmas I wrote a blog in which I set my new years’ resolution. And the goal for 2022 was to work hard on my speaking skills and get to a level within one year where I’d feel comfortable recording podcast discussions in fluent Mandarin. So after several months of hard work, I’m finally ready to post my first episode – and hopefully the first of many – in Chinese. I’m joined by my Chinese friend Katherine who is a keen language learner and a graduate in translation studies. She’s currently studying a masters in English literature while living in the UK.  A few months ago she came on the podcast to talk about Chinese polite culture and common attitudes Chinese people often have towards learners of Mandarin as a second language. Today we chat about all the ways ways in which Chinese politeness differs from British politeness based on Katherine's experience of living here for over a year.

*The I’m Learning Mandarin Podcast is now available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify . If you enjoyed this content please subscribe on your favourite podcast provider and leave a review. You can also subscribe to this blog to have new posts and podcasts pinged straight to your email.

As an intermediate Mandarin learner, one of the main challenges I face is acquiring lower frequency words. In any language the most frequent few thousand words account for over 90% of words used in daily conversation. Mandarin is no different and, although I typically understand the vast majority of words in a sentence, it’s those rarer words which can throw me off. 

So how can we overcome the intermediate plateau and learn enough low frequency words to become proficient? 

That’s where today’s guest Andrew Methven comes in. Andrew first started learning Chinese whilst on a backpacking trip in China in 2002-03. He eventually went on to train as a translator and interpreter, before joining a startup in the UK focussed on China. More recently, he started the newsletter: https://slowchinese.substack.com designed to help intermediate and advanced learners fill in key gaps in the vocabulary. 

Every week Andrew shares new words, phrases, idioms, colloquialisms and slang with the goal of helping readers maintain and improve their Chinese, while staying up to date with latest language trends. Andrew’s experiences of backpacking through China as well as his insights into overcoming the long intermediate plateau are fascinating and insightful. 

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