Lifehack for Learning Foreign Languages

langsam.jpgSee our complete collection How to Learn Languages for Free: Spanish, English, Chinese & 37 Other Languages,

Here is a quick "lifehack" for you. You can now learn foreign languages and stay current on politics all at once. How so? By taking advantage of a smart podcast concept being used by French and German broadcasters. Radio France Internationale (RFI) issues a daily podcast called Le Journal en français facile (iTunes - feed - web site), which delivers the nightly international news in slow and easy-to-understand French. Along the same lines, the German media company Deutsche Welle (which puts out many great language and music podcasts) also has its own nightly news program Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten (iTunes - feed - web site). It's essentially the same concept: informative news presented in very simple German, and, in this case, it's spoken very slowly.

Now, what's very nice about these programs is that they also provide a written transcript of the spoken word. So you can read along as you listen and make sure that you're really comprehending. (See transcripts in French and German). Even cooler, with the German version, if you have a video iPod, you can read the transcript on your little portable screen. (See directions).

Finally, check out this offbeat suggestion sent our way by a reader: Nuntii Latini (mp3 - web site) is "a weekly review of world news in Classical Latin, the only international broadcast of its kind in the world, produced by YLE, the Finnish Broadcasting Company."

Related Resource: See our article called "Coffee Break Spanish & The Threat to Traditional Media"


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  • gis says:

    Here’s another one for you: “Nuntii Latini – News in Latin – is a weekly review of world news in Classical Latin, the only international broadcast of its kind in the world, produced by YLE, the Finnish Broadcasting Company.”

    http://www.yleradio1.fi/nuntii/

    Also as podcast:

    http://www.yleradio1.fi/nuntii/audi/

    Very nice ;)

  • Devon T says:

    It’s not the news, but if you’re looking to start your kids young with English or Japanese, try http://www.kodomoeikaiwa.podomatic.com.

  • Innatech says:

    Anyone have recommendations for Italian?

  • Codex says:

    I would LOVE something like this in Chinese! Anyone know of a source?

  • Dr Manhattan says:

    I would also appreciate some links for Chinese. Especially slow-speaking ones :)

  • DH C says:

    Just as an fyi, for those looking for podcasts in Chines, Italian, or whatever, you should see the complete podcast collection.

    http://www.oculture.com/weblog/2006/10/itunes_learn_fo.html

  • Ramon says:

    Any suggestions for Norwegian would be welcome :)

  • Chris says:

    You can also slow down the playback rate of mp3s in Windows Media Player to hear
    the words more clearly.

    @DH C,

    Norwegian podcasts at: http://www.nrk.no/podkast/
    Norwegian videopodcasts at: http://www.tvnorge.no/

    Also, iTunes->iTunes Music Store->(scroll to bottom)->My Store: Norway
    Then you will see more Norwegian podcasts in the “Top Podcasts” section
    or the Top 100 section.

    Språkteigen is a good one.

  • Chris says:

    More Norwegian videopodcasts at: http://ipublish.no

  • Ramon says:

    Thank you for the suggestions, Chris. NRK is great resource for Norwegian shows anyway, most of their content can be streamed for free :)

    It’s a shame that many of those others seem to rely on iTunes instead of open, standards-based technology (I don’t use proprietary software). Perhaps they will switch to a free solution one day, though.

  • Clicked says:

    One big American Idol audition

    Suddenly I have an image of the blogosphere as a giant American Idol audition to which we tune in regularly to see some ridiculous, some middling and some excellent performances and watch the more popular performers rise to the top and become professio…

  • Clicked says:

    One big American Idol audition

    Suddenly I have an image of the blogosphere as a giant American Idol audition to which we tune in regularly to see some ridiculous, some middling and some excellent performances and watch the more popular performers rise to the top and become professio…

  • 各国のことばを学ぶためのポッドキャスト一覧”Lifehack for Learning Foreign Languages”

    Open Culture: Lifehack for Learning Fore…

  • Victor says:

    In terms of Chinese podcasts — I’d highly recommend http://chinesepod.com . It’s really excellent. I live in Shanghai and attended a few Mandarin training schools. I’ve gone through the BLCU MP3s and even the Pimsleur stuff. I still think Chinesepod has the best audio content out there.

    I’d also recommend checking out language exchange sites like http://italki.com . With all the free VoIP tools these days, you have the option of improving your language skills by actually talking with someone from that country. If you can’t travel to the country itself, it’s probably the easiest way to get time speaking the language.

    Hope that helps.

  • Matt Vance says:

    Anyone know of an equivalent slow news podcast in Spanish?

  • lez says:

    Not spanish, but portuguese, you definitely have one:
    http://www.learn-portuguese-now.com
    Well it’s not politics, its just basic sentences, but come in a very consumable way

  • Jon Bischke says:

    Great suggestions here for language learners. I’ve been really interested in innovative ways to learn languages including using DVDs with subtitles, online role-playing games, etc. I’ve been compiling things I find related to these ideas and other resources on our blog @ eduFire which we just launched.

    http://blog.edufire.com

  • […] Here is a quick “lifehack” for you. You can now learn foreign languages and stay current on politics all at once. How so? By taking advantage of a smart podcast concept being used by French and German broadcasters. Read more… […]

  • […] is. Even before that my wife and I desired to learn a second language…I have tried out a few online sites and podcasts but I am actually anxious to try out the Rosetta Stone software. The main […]

  • phoebe says:

    at this site, you can find professional Chinese teacher, and free podcast Chinese lesson !
    http://www.echineselearning.com

  • John says:

    I did find another one, apart from the ones in the comments: http://www.studentteacherexchange.com/ which is completely free and uses chat/video/voice and whiteboards as well. They are new but my guess is they will be booming soon since they charge nothing.

  • Lisa says:

    I want to practice my oral English,I hope I can make some foreign friends

  • great to read that post.Here is a quick “lifehack” for you. You can now learn foreign languages and stay current on politics all at once.Now, what’s very nice about these programs is that they also provide a written transcript of the spoken word. So you can read along as you listen and make sure that you’re really comprehending.

  • sinocenter says:

    The Composition of the Chinese Characters

    The composition of the main characters are in three ways:

    汉 字 的 构 成 主 要 有 三 种 方 法:

    1. Pictographic method

    This is the earliest form of Chinese characters method to create the most original characters, Example: “日” 、“月” 、“ 水 ”、“ 牛”and so on take the shape of each term. These Pictographic characters changed the original character of the physical into a subsequent Founder fonts after gradual evolution, and some reduction in the number of strokes and some strokes added by the rules have become irregular fonts.

    1. 象形法

    这是形成汉字的最早方法,因此创造了最原始的文字,例:“日”,“月”,“水”,“牛”等等。这些象形字经过逐渐的演变,倒后来都改变了原字的形状,变成了后来方正的字体,有的笔画减少了,有的笔画增添了,由不规则变成了有规则的字体。

    2. Associative law

    It’s easier to see the creation of truth through Pictographic characters, but they should not express an abstract meaning. The ancients would have created another law —- Ideographic law. They used different symbols or borrowing Pictographic characters to add some symbols to express an abstract meaning. Example: the character “明” is made up of “日” and “月”, meaning bringing bright. “旦” is made up of “曰” and”一” meaning the sun is rising from the horizon.

    3. 会意法

    象形字比较容易看出造字的道理,但他们不能表达抽象的依稀。古人便创造了另一种造字法—会意法。就是用不同的符号或借用“象形字”加上一些符号来表达一个抽象的意思。例:“明”意思为“日”和“月”带来光明。“旦”字意思为太阳出地平线而升起。

    4. Pictophonetic Law

    Ideographic characters and Pictographic characters can be seen from the shape on the meaning of the words, but they are not allowed to deliver voice. And therefore people created a sound law-shaped characters. To express the sound of voices and express the meaning of the side next to match the shape, a lot of new words came into being. Example: the character “爸” is made up of phonetic character “巴” and meaning character “父”;”芭 ” is a combination of the word “巴” and “++” with a form and so on so forth. According to statistics, Pictophonetic Characters account for about 90% of Chinese characters. The formation and development of Chinese characters, become an important tool for the exchange of ideas, adapted to the needs of human social life.

    3.形声法

    象形字和会意字都能从字形上看出字的意义,但却不能读出声音。因此又创造了形声法来造字。把表示声音的声旁和表示意义的形旁搭配起来,组成很多新字。例:“爸” 字是表音的“巴”字和表形的“父”字的结合;“芭”字是由“巴”和“++” 搭配而成。这样文字越早越多,据统计,形声字占汉字的90%左右。汉字的形成和发展,成为人类交流思想的重要工具,适应了人类社会生活的需要。

    Other questions? Get free advice? Registered our free classes, when facing teachers!
    还有其它疑问?想得到免费建议?注册我们的免费试听课程,当面向老师求教吧!

    邮箱:customer@sino-center.org
    Skype | Msn | Gtalk ID: sinocenter Yahoo ID: sinocenter@yahoo.cn

    地址:北京海淀区中关村大街甲59号中国人民大学文化大厦608室 电话:86-10-62514789

  • sinocenter says:

    How To Pronounce Chinese Phrases

    On this page you will learn to pronounce a lot of different basic mandarin chinese phrases.
    Latest mandarin chinese phrases:

    How to pronounce 1, 10, 11, 100, 101, 110, 111 in chinese
    Pinyin : “yī, shí, shí,yi1, yībǎi, yībǎilíngyī, yībǎiyīshí, yībǎiyīshíyī”
    一,十,十一,一百,一百零一,一百一十,一百一十一

    How to pronounce 11 to 20 in chinese

    Pnyin : “shíyī shíèr shísān shísì shíwǔ shílìu shíqī shíbā shíjǐu èrshí”
    十一,十二,十三,十四,十五,十六,十七,十八,十九,二十

    How to pronounce who is it? in chinese Pinyin : “shì shéi” 是谁?

    How to pronounce australia in chinese Pinyin : “àodàlìyà” 澳大利亚

    How to pronounce who are you? in chinese Pinyin : “nǐ shì shéi” 你是谁?

    How to pronounce mcdonalds in chinese Pinyin : “màidàngláo” 麦当劳

    How to pronounce congrats in chinese Pinyin : “gōngxǐ” 恭喜

    How to pronounce do you have a boyfriend?( in chinese )
    Pinyin : “nǐ yǒu nánpéngyǒu ma” 你有男朋友吗?

    How to pronounce i am full in chinese Pinyin : “wǒ bǎo le” 我饱了.

    How to pronounce how often? (in chinese) Pinyin : “duō jǐu yī cì” 多久一次?

    High frequency chinese phrases:

    How to pronounce welcome in chinese Pinyin : “huān yíng” 欢迎!

    How to pronounce you are welcome in chinese Pinyin : “bú yòng xiè” 不用谢.

    How to pronounce thank you in chinese Pinyin : “xiè xiè” 谢谢.

    How to pronounce and you in chinese Pinyin : “nǐ ne” 你呢?

    How to pronounce i am fine in chinese Pinyin : “wǒ hěn hǎo” 我很好.

    How to pronounce how are you? in chinese Pinyin : “nǐ hǎo ma?” 你好吗?

    How to pronounce my name is … in chinese Pinyin : “wǒ jiào …” 我叫…

    How to pronounce i am sorry in chinese Pinyin : “duì bu qǐ” 对不起.

    How to pronounce hello in chinese Pinyin : “nǐ hǎo” 你好.

    Other questions? Get free advice? Registered our free classes, when facing teachers!
    还有其它疑问?想得到免费建议?注册我们的免费试听课程,当面向老师求教吧!

    邮箱:customer@sino-center.org
    Skype | Msn | Gtalk ID: sinocenter Yahoo ID: sinocenter@yahoo.cn

    地址:北京海淀区中关村大街甲59号中国人民大学文化大厦608室 电话:86-10-62514789

  • sinocenter says:

    How to stduy Chinese?

    I point out three key method :interest,input,practice.
    有三个关键点:兴趣,积累,练习

    First,interest is the best teacher.If you want to be good at Chinese,you must bring up your interest of learning Chinese .Interest can help you fight against whit dull.Find something you like to do.For example you like to watch TV ,so you can watch some Chinese TV with your mother language caption.If you like to chatting ,you can using Chinese to chatting with Chinese throughth internet,or by other ways.

    首先,兴趣是最好的老师。学习中文一定要有兴趣,这是学好中文的关键所在。找出你喜欢做的事。比如你喜欢,看电视,你可以看些带有英文字幕的中文电影。喜欢和朋友交流,你可以交一些中国朋友,用中文来和他们交流。等等。

    Second ,you must insist on studying.No input,no output.So you must learn some chinese character or phrase every somedays.After studying,it is better to use the character you have learn to write some chinese article ,or chatting wiht chinese.So you can not forget the character or phrase. Do not stop learn for long,and learn continue to learn .If so,it almost impossible for you to be good at Chinese.But i advise you that not to learn too more by one time of learning Chinese.If so ,you may be feel dull and then stop to learn Chinese.

    第二,要有持之以恒,每天有一定的积累,但不能太着急。没有输入,就没有输出。在保证不会太枯燥的情况下,每天学习一些中文字或者词组。然后想办法把刚学会的字和词组用起来,比如用这些字和词组和中国朋友聊天,这样会产生兴趣,避免枯燥,帮助记忆。持之以恒,效果会很好。如果中断学习,后面再学习时,效果会很差。

    Third,do not afraid to make mistake.Do not afraid make joke.Do not be too care with grammar.If you are too care with the grammar ,it will be too dull to do practice everytime ervrywhere you want to practise chinese.Remember that if you want to be good at chinese ,you must do more pratice.

    第三,不要怕犯错误!不要怕闹笑话。不要太在意语法。如果会很认真的去学习语法,这样学习中文就太枯燥,很多外国人就因此放弃了学习中文。想说就说,增加了练习的机会,这样会提高很快。

    The last.Creat a chinese environment as we know.The best way to learn chinese is to creat a chinese environment.Because it has more pritise chance,less dull,and you can remember what you study for long times,may be all your life.So many foreigners come to china for studying.But if you can not come to china ,you can use the internet ,or some other ways.

    最后,培养一个中文的环境!我们知道,在外语环境里学外语,效果是最好的,因为练习的次数多,记忆效果好,而且不会产生枯燥。如果你不能来中国,就通过网络和中国人进行交流。

    I hope that you can use the methods to learn chinese.So you can make greate progress by using less time.Thank you for you reading.
    相信你用以上方法进行实践,你学习中文就能进步很快。谢谢。

    Other questions? Get free advice? Registered our free classes, when facing teachers!

    还有其它疑问?想得到免费建议?注册我们的免费试听课程,当面向老师求教吧!

    邮箱:customer@sino-center.org
    Skype | Msn | Gtalk ID: sinocenter Yahoo ID: sinocenter@yahoo.cn

    地址:北京海淀区中关村大街甲59号中国人民大学文化大厦608室 电话:86-10-62514789

  • sinocenter says:

    HanYu Pinyin ABC

    why learn hanyu pinyin

    Hanyu pinyin (漢語拼音), often abbreviated as pinyin (拼音; “spelling sounds” literally), is the most wiy used mandarin romanization system: p. r. china and singapore, and many other countries as well. the library of congress uses pinyin to catalog its collection in chinese, most contemporary dictionaries use pinyin to spell out chinese characters, and the vast majority of chinese textbooks published overseas use pinyin, to name just a few.

    Advice on learning approach

    Just like “cultural” is pronounced differently in french and english, “can” symbolizes different sounds in mandarin and english — the sounds represented by a certain letter are not always the same in different languages.

    Therefore, when learning pinyin, instead of referring to the english pronunciation of each letter, you should try to establish a direct connection between a certain letter, or sequence of letters (like “sh”, “ang”, etc.) and the exact mandarin sound represented. in other words, using chinese characters as reminders of sounds represented by pinyin letters will be much more sensible since you already know the mandarin sounds.

    Other questions? Get free advice? Registered our free classes, when facing teachers!
    还有其它疑问?想得到免费建议?注册我们的免费试听课程,当面向老师求教吧!

    邮箱:customer@sino-center.org
    Skype | Msn | Gtalk ID: sinocenter Yahoo ID: sinocenter@yahoo.cn

    地址:北京海淀区中关村大街甲59号中国人民大学文化大厦608室 电话:86-10-62514789

  • sinocenter says:

    Chinese Grammar Basics

    Grammar plays the key role in bringing chinese characters together. in compensation, chinese grammar is considerably easier than english. here are just some examples of difference between chinese and english for your reference.

    1. As there are no singular and plural in chinese, subject-verb agreement doesn''t exist.

    English: I am a student. we are students.
    Chinese: 我是学生,我们是学生。
    Chinese personal pronouns are pluralized by adding the suffix 们.
    For example, 我= i, 我们= we
    2. Chinese verbs do not express time, but simply action, so chinese has no verb tenses.

    English :I am learning chinese.I learn chinese.
    Chinese :我学中文。我学习中文。
    Notice that there is no difference between “i learn chinese” and “i am learning chinese” in chinese. Then how to let others know whether the thing has happened or not? In chinese, adverbs are frequently used to take the place of verb tense.
    明天 tomorrow to show the thing has not happened yet
    昨天 yesterday to show the thing has happened already
    现在 right now to show the thing is happening
    3. Chinese has no genitive case, character 的 is used to indicate possession.

    English:This is my pen. Nancy’s friend is very smart.
    Chinese:这是我的笔。南希的朋友很聪明。
    Ok, here above are just three simple examples. You will encounter much more on your way of learning chinese.

    Other questions? Get free advice? Registered our free classes, when facing teachers!
    还有其它疑问?想得到免费建议?注册我们的免费试听课程,当面向老师求教吧!

    邮箱:customer@sino-center.org
    Skype | Msn | Gtalk ID: sinocenter Yahoo ID: sinocenter@yahoo.cn

    地址:北京海淀区中关村大街甲59号中国人民大学文化大厦608室 电话:86-10-62514789

  • sinocenter says:

    Chinese- Family introductions

    In China today, women do not change their surnames after they get married. They always keey their maiden names.
    People like to ask questions such as “你结婚了吗?”(Nǐ jiéhūn le ma?), Are you married?
    e.g.
    这是我/我的… Zhè shì wǒ/wǒde …This is my …
    家 jiā family

    爱人 àiren spouse (lit. love person)

    丈夫 zhàngfu husband

    女儿 nǚ’ér daughter

    儿子 érzi son

    你结婚了吗? Nǐ jiéhūn le ma? Are you married?

    我结婚了 Wǒ jiéhūn le I’m married

    我没结婚 Wǒ méi jiéhūn I’m not married

    女朋友 nǚ péngyou girl-friend

    男朋友 nán péngyou boy-friend

    朋友 péngyou friend

    同事 tóngshì colleague

    Family life

    Families are very important in Chinese culture. Traditionally, children used to live with their parents even after they were married. It was normal for three generations to live under one roof. These days, although most married couples live by themselves, they still consider looking after their parents as their responsibility. Traditionally large families were a sign of prosperity. These days, families are becoming smaller and smaller, especially with the introduction of one-child policy in the late 1970s.

    Other questions? Get free advice? Registered our free classes, when facing teachers!
    还有其它疑问?想得到免费建议?注册我们的免费试听课程,当面向老师求教吧!

    邮箱:customer@sino-center.org
    Skype | Msn | Gtalk ID: sinocenter Yahoo ID: sinocenter@yahoo.cn

    地址:北京海淀区中关村大街甲59号中国人民大学文化大厦608室 电话:86-10-62514789

  • sinocenter says:

    Chinese A B C

    Chinese is a very interesting language, it write body now of art, pen mathematics which row an inside, and high simplification but lifelike shape, will let you feel, learn Chinese, be like is learn to make uniform a painting.

    It of pronunciation(the alphabets of the Chinese phonetic, Chinese pinyin), adoption Latin letter of alphabet, divide consonant and rhyme mother. Each sound has four voices to adjust again, respectively is 1, 2, 3 and 4.However Chinese language’s pronounce is the system that a kind of writes to read a sound, can’t replace Chinese characters. The article, which completely pronounces to write out with the Chinese language, can hardly understand, therefore, it is not one kind to formally write a way, but the help of just a kind of reading.
    The Chinese language is in the world to use most languages of number.

    In addition to china is big six with Taiwan outside, the Chinese language still distributes in Singapore, Malaysia etc. ground. Take Chinese language as the person of mother tongue about has 1, 300, 000, the Chinese language is one of the work languages of United Nations.

    About have in the world 1/5 people use Chinese language as mother tongue. Chinese language as to it is also once the language writing of the nation of the periphery creation over-weight wants to influence. For example Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese in all the reservation have a great deal of Chinese language to lend phrase and Chinese language to write system writing. The Chinese language is a kind of Chinese language.

    The Chinese language is special language in the world, the writing height unify and norm, the modern Chinese language has already unify with the phrasing of norm, though dialect pronunciation difference specially big, but written language norm, have no writing form that dialect difference result in to communicate obstacle. The super dialect of Chinese language has a huge function towards supporting unify of Chinese nation.

    The Chinese language belongs to independent language, analysis language. Chinese language is writing a way is a kind of Chinese characters of pictograph. The written language that 54 sports before use is called “text speech”, is 1 kind the ages is with the Confucius use of take”ya3 yan2″ as basal written language.54 written Chinese languages sport push after are usually called “vernacular” and namely take northern dialect as basal modern and written language. In the written language of modern Chinese language, text’s talk has already seldom used.

    All say that the Chinese language is difficult to learn, in fact the Chinese language be easy and have no tense in the Chinese language variety, the verb adjective also has no variety and have no connect read, language jian3 lian4, pronounce clear, the language is soon slow-moving. It is a kind of language, which very easily learns. Difficult what to learn be a Chinese characters.

    Other questions? Get free advice? Registered our free classes, when facing teachers!
    还有其它疑问?想得到免费建议?注册我们的免费试听课程,当面向老师求教吧!

    邮箱:customer@sino-center.org
    Skype | Msn | Gtalk ID: sinocenter Yahoo ID: sinocenter@yahoo.cn

    地址:北京海淀区中关村大街甲59号中国人民大学文化大厦608室 电话:86-10-62514789

  • Eric says:

    at this site, you can find professional Chinese teacher, and free podcast Chinese lesson !
    http://www.echineselanguagelearning.com

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