Learning Chinese does NOT have to be all blood, sweat and tears! In fact, if that’s been your experience, you’re doing something wrong.
You see, these days there are so many amazing tools for us to use that make language learning a piece of cake.
One of these amazing tools is YouTube.
Everyone knows YouTube – it’s a video sharing website and the second largest search engine in the world! You can find anything on YouTube, including amazing Chinese content.
So how do you use YouTube to supercharge your Mandarin learning? Well, that’s what I’m going to share with you in this post. Keep reading to find out.
Learning Chinese with YouTube
This method that I’m going to describe to you is very effective for rapidly improving your listening skills and overall understanding of Mandarin Chinese.
You probably think I’m going to recommend a bunch of YouTube channels like YoYo Chinese. Well, I’m not.
Don’t get me wrong, YoYo Chinese is fantastic! And so are many others, but I want to share a slightly different method for using YouTube to learn Chinese – a method based on immersion.
Immersing yourself in the language really is the best way to learn Chinese and YouTube is the perfect place to get high-quality Chinese immersion content!
Step 1 – Create a Brand New YouTube Account
Okay, first of all, you’re going to want to create a brand new YouTube account. Do NOT use your existing account.
Why? Because you’ll get distracted with videos popping up all the time in your native language.
Register a new Gmail address (it’s free!) and then head on over to YouTube. once you’ve created your new account, make sure you only subscribe to Chinese language channels.
Step 2 – Subscribe to Chinese Channels
The most important part about using YouTube to learn Chinese is finding high-quality content to watch/listen to. Well, you’re in luck because I’ve done all the hard work for you!
I’ve compiled a list of all my favourite Chinese language YouTube channels. Check it out, here.
Here are just a couple of the channels that I watch on a regular basis:
Kevin in Shanghai – Kevin is a young Chinese guy from Shanghai that makes interesting videos about travel and other stuff. He’s really easy to listen to and his content is a lot of fun.
Joeman – Joeman is another fun channel with a lot of good content. It’s run by a Taiwanese guy who creates videos about different products, cars and compares ‘regular-priced’ products with their luxury alternatives.
二分之一强 – Er Fen Zhi Yi Qiang is a Taiwanese talk show that I’ve written about before. Each show features a panel of foreigners and a panel of Taiwanese artists discussing different topics. The show is light-hearted and a lot of fun! And the best part? They have over 1000 episodes on YouTube!
Step 3 – Create Your Watch List
Now that you have chosen which channels to subscribe to, it’s time to add videos to your ‘watch later’ playlist. When you create a new account, you automatically get a ‘watch later’ playlist where you can add content.
Go through the different channels’ videos and add content to your playlist. This helps you keep track of what videos you want to watch.
Step 4 – Download MP3s for Further Listening Practice
After filling up your ‘watch later’ list with juicy Chinese content, you’ll want to create a second playlist, called ‘already watched’ or something along those lines.
Then, once you’ve finished watching a particular video, you’ll delete it from your ‘watch later list and add it to your ‘already watched’ playlist.
At the end of the week, you can download the MP3 of all the videos you have already watched, for further listening practice. You can use a tool called YouTube-gld for this, which you can find here.
Once you’ve downloaded all the MP3s, load them onto your iPod/MP3 player and listen to them whenever you get a minute or keep it playing non-stop and pop your earphones in when you can.
This way, you’re not ‘wasting’ content by only listening to it once.
Note: you can buy an old iPod or MP3 player for really cheap these days, and trust me, it’s worth the investment! I’m currently using my (very) old iPhone 4 as a makeshift iPod and it works perfectly!
This is a really simple and really effective method for rapidly improving your Chinese listening skills. YouTube is jam-packed with interesting Chinese content if you know where to look.
Remember to check out this document for a list of Chinese language YouTube channels that are well worth watching. I don’t expect you to like all of them, but I’m sure you’ll find a few that interest you.
Be sure to leave a comment below and let me know which Chinese YouTube channels you like the most!
Are you an online English teacher? Here are 8 ways to make lessons fun and engaging in an online classroom…
Find out what kind of ESL jobs are available for English teachers in China…
Here are some of the best Chinese TV shows to watch to rapidly improve your Mandarin…
Check out our Chinese language resource library →