Review of ChineseClass101

What is ChineseClass101?

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ChineseClass101 is a language learning podcast series founded by in 2009 as an offshoot of JapanesePod101. Like JapanesePod101 their primary form of instruction is with podcastsl however they also have video lessons, dialogue only audio, as well as accompanying pdfs for their lessons. Their library continues to grow by the season and they are a good database of Chinese lessons separated out into seasons.

One of the main advantages ChineseClass101 has over some other audio based learning courses is that it uses the tried-and-true method used from JapanesePod101 to work with. They also started more polished than the initial seasons of JPod101.

The podcasts are split into seasons as well as by learner’s level. They range from knowing nothing and go until advanced learners. The podcast include native speakers, and when you find a voice you like you can follow them through learner levels and seasons.

Like all of JapanesePod101’s products, they offer a free trial as well as a limited free account to get you a feel for how they work.

How does it work?

Lessons are hosted within podcasts(video or audio). The lessons is mainly a breakdown of a short or long(depends on level) conversation. Typically a regular speed dialogue is followed by a slower dialogue, then after that a breakdown. Lessons typically range from 7-20 minutes. At a premium subscription level and above you will be able access a dialogue only version of the audio.

There are also PDFs of the lessons included that go over what was in the podcast. They also have a Hanzi breakdown with the vocabulary used within the lesson as well as the pronunciaton. They also include a writing practice worksheet on the second page. Hanzi is included on every level which is a plus.

Some of the higher lessons include less breakdown and are more just conversations. The teacher then explains some of the concepts of culture to you in Chinese.

Pricing?

ChineseClass101 is a subscription based service, but they are always adding new content to their site. There are four levels of subscription they offer.

They are:

  • Free – $0/mo
  • Basic – $8/mo*
  • Premium – $25/mo*
  • Premium+ – $47/mo*

*Discounts offered for longer subscription times @ 3, 6, 12, and 24 months.

Free is really only for trial purposes because the vast majority of lessons are locked.

Basic is the where all of the podcasts are unlocked, but everything except the podcasts and show notes remain locked to you.

Premium unlocks more extras for learning Mandarin. One of the main benefits is the dialogue only audio.

Premium+ gives you access to a virtual teacher, with 1-on-1 instruction and personalized study plans.

ChineseClass101 does allow you to download their material. If you happen to cancel your subscription, you will be allowed to keep everything you downloaded.

What Level Learner?

You can start from zero with Mandarin and progress till levels where you can be finding your own Mandarin media to watch or read.

The guided and step-by-step levels approach should benefit the beginner who likes to go through methodically, but may frustrate someone who likes to rush.

Pros?

  • Huge database of media
  • Tried-and-true method for language learning
  • PDF for the lessons to be sure of what you’ve heard and to review
  • Chinese language learning community
  • The teachers of the podcast are active within the community and sometimes answer questions
  • Have Android and iPhone apps
  • Content separated by learner level
  • More content added constantly
  • Extra resources for Premium and Premium+ subscriptions
  • Your own pace
  • Uses hanzi(Chinese characters), and pinyin

Cons?

  • Varying subscription levels
  • Some teachers may become irritating

 

Sound tantalizing? If you’d like to test it out go to ChineseClass101. All levels are included, and a free 7 day trial is included when you initially sign up for a free subscription. No credit card needed for the free trial.

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