Say It Right Series

    Edsko's HSK 2


    Diligent student, and developer extraordinaire, Edsko, in preparation for his HSK exams, prepared a list of ChinesePod lessons that would best prepare him for the listening portion of the test.

    This list is for any student that wants to kick start their learning, and attempt the HSK 2 exam. For more information about how Edsko picked these lessons, you can read his in-depth blog post here, or reply directly on the forum.
    HSK 2 = 300 cumulative words. Designed for learners who can use Chinese in a simple and direct manner, applying it in a basic fashion to their daily lives. In HSK 2 all characters are provided along with Pinyin.

    New Year Newbie

    When the countdown to midnight begins, you never know who you’re going to be standing next to. In this lesson, learn how to talk about how you plan to spend New Year’s, and also how to wish someone a “Happy New Year” in Mandarin Chinese. Listen to this podcast, and we’ll help you to not be lost for words when you see in the New Year with a Chinese friend.

    Tags: holidays, New Year, festivals

    I like beef Newbie

    In the 80’s it was “Where’s the…”, in the 90’s it was “What’s For Dinner” and in the ummm…0’s, it’s the focus of our lesson. In this podcast, Ken and Jenny teach a Mandarin Chinese lesson dealing with carnivores and their preferences.

    Tags: food

    Happy Birthday Newbie

    Quick – name things that you love! 1. ChinesePod 2. Cake That’s right! So what’s the only thing we could include to make this a very special day? How about taking advantage of the coincidence of one of your hosts being born on this day? In this podcast, learn how to wish someone a Happy Birthday!


    I Got Married Newbie

    “Soooo… who’s the eye-candy on your arm?” See, ChinesePod is used to these questions, as we only hire “hot-cakes.” So, what do you say to an old acquaintance when you’re seen hand in hand with your spouse? (This is your cue to press play). In this podcast, learn how to tell someone that you got hitched, in Mandarin Chinese.

    Tags: celebrations, marriage, introductions

    What are you doing? Newbie

    We’re all about the classics here – Chuck Taylors, Pong, New Coke, the lot. So why not help you out with the classic question: “what are you doing?” Why not, indeed! Listen to this podcast and learn it in Mandarin Chinese.

    Tags: newspaper, internet, actions

    Power Outage Newbie

    There are a few things ChinesePod is scared of: 1. Having to be constrained to a classroom seat to learn language 2. Animals dressed as humans 3. The dark …so, over the next few months, we will address each. Today, we start with the 3rd: what would one say when the power goes out?

    Tags: home and office, emotions

    Didn't Hear Clearly Newbie

    Sometimes you say one word of Mandarin and the other side assumes you’re fluent and lets loose with a torrent of Chinese. But then there are times when you have the opposite problem: you don’t hear what someone says, and then they write you off as not even understanding “ni hao.” This podcast was designed for just that maddening situation, so tune in and learn what Mandarin to use in that situation.

    Tags: language, communications

    Sweet Watermelon Newbie

    You know it's summertime when those trucks roll into the city, feeding streetside stalls thronging with business as the evening ambles home. Ask anyone who lives here: watermelon is a small joy of life in China. But no one will force it on you. And to get it, you've got to know how to ask for it in Mandarin Chinese. Which is where this podcast comes in. Enjoy!

    Tags: food

    My Cat Newbie

    There are cats to love (white, fluffy kittens) and cats to hate (those gold ones waving their strange little arm at the till in the Chinese restaurant). However, love them or hate them, you probably wouldn't mind a little one to keep you company (they make patient language partners). If so, you're going to have to learn how to use your Mandarin to bond with the rice-eating cats of China. Listen to this podcast, and learn how!

    Tags: location, appearance, animals

    How do you take your coffee? Newbie

    Coffee is a harsh mistress. One perhaps best relinquished before you arrive in tea land. But for those who can't face the notion of life without her, here is a Mandarin Chinese lesson modeled on a fantasy utopia-China, where not only could you have your coffee, but your sugar and cream too. Listen in, and you never know, you may just get your cuppa to your liking. If not... there is a Chinese medicine perfect for treating that withdrawal headache.

    Tags: questions, preferences, food

    Eating Tofu Newbie

    So, you're thinking a lesson on eating tofu sounds about as bland as that spongy white square of mush on your plate? That's what you thought... Truth is, there is nothing more racy than an affinity for 'eating tofu.' Confused? Don't let someone else have the last laugh. Listen to this podcast and find out the 'spicy' side of tofu, in Mandarin Chinese.

    Tags: culture, food

    How many people are in your family? Newbie

    Ah, the home front. Any self-respecting Mandarin learner has their work cut out for them in deciphering the who's who of a Chinese family. And don't think the one-child policy makes things any easier. So, line 'em up, and get them all straight in this podcast which will enlighten you on the members of a Chinese family.

    Tags: introductions, family

    Time for Class Newbie

    Now that 2008 has been declared the "International Year of Languages" by the UN, it's time to buckle down and study Mandarin for world peace. Start with this podcast and learn how to understand your teacher so you don't end up in the detention hall because you confused 'sit down and shut up' with 'stand up and sing a Chinese rendition of 'Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting.'

    Tags: education, directions

    Chinese Green Eggs and Ham Newbie

    The concept of green eggs is not one so particularly far-fetched in China. Could a 1,000 year old egg be any other color? Sam-I-am has found his place in the sun. In this podcast, green eggs and ham revisited with a Chinese bent--fried rice as their companion. With a mouse, in a house, on the train... yeah, pretty much anywhere. Expand your Mandarin palate with this lesson.

    Tags: food, colors

    Are You Tired? Newbie

    Discovering these 800-plus podcast lessons, likely you've been up for days, listening. You're not tired yet, due to the language-learning high that doesn't wear off until after lesson 452. However, a language full of sh's has been known to produce a trance-like sleepy state. The cure: just turn up the volume and let this podcast wake you up. Learn how to talk tired, in Chinese.

    Tags: people, feelings

    Formal Introduction Newbie

    This is the formal introduction to the formal introduction lesson: You've mastered your Chinese hello and don't know what to do with that awkward silence. Now what? 1) Lose any sentimental attachment to your previous identity--you're going to need a new name. 2) Smile, bow, handshake, kiss, twiddle your thumbs, or curtsy... it's all good. Oh yeah, and 3) listen to this lesson to learn how to introduce yourself, Mandarin-style.

    Tags: people, greetings, etiquette

    Sing and Dance Newbie

    The hills are alive with the sound of the pipa. Singing in China... rife in KTV bars, on street corners, in public parks, in low-budget questionably-directed lip-dub videos. Dancing.. though it's singing's less popular cousin, look out for the classy ballroom dancers in a lit up corner of the park on a cool summer evening. In this podcast, the language of music transcends. Learn it in this Mandarin lesson.

    Tags: questions, music, ability

    Finding a Taxi Newbie

    We assume that, as a beginner, deciphering the schedule for the airport bus might be just a little stressful, so put off breaking into that duty-free you bought for 10 minutes or so and get yourself far, far away from the mayhem that is an Asian airport. In this podcast, you will learn how to find a taxi, in Mandarin Chinese. Then, sit back and enjoy the thrill sport that is taxi-taking in China.

    Tags: travel, town and city, transportation

    Taking the Train to Beijing Newbie

    If you're a newbie to China, then you've definitely got to make a trip to Beijing. This Chinese lesson for total beginners will help you to make sure you've got those train tickets... and maybe even help you be all bossy and make someone else go buy them.

    Tags: time, train, transportation

    Weekend Activities Newbie

    Don't be surprised when your Chinese friends start asking you what you do on the weekends. (Foreigners are known to have riotously good times on the weekends, as faithfully reported by Hollywood.) In this lesson, learn how to make a connection and ask a friend in Mandarin Chinese what they are up to this weekend (AKA fishing for an invite).

    Tags: hobbies, entertainment, daily life

    Let Me Sleep a Little Longer Newbie

    If you're the kind of person that even the alarm clock doesn't wake, then you'll have definitely experienced a conversation similar to this. Learn how to tell someone that you want to sleep that little bit longer.

    Tags: sleep

    Who's That Over There? Newbie

    You spot a familiar figure on the street. Well it's best you know how to describe that person if you're trying to point them out from a busy crowd.

    Tags: clothes

    Haggle For A Good Deal Newbie

    Shopping is a great opportunity to practice your Chinese. In today's lesson, you'll learn a new way to say "how much is this?" so that you can prompt the shopkeeper to tell you about their deals and different pricing combos. You'll also learn how to play hardball to haggle your way to a good deal.

    Tags: shopping, bargaining, buying

    The Traffic Jam Elementary

    We know you listen while you’re on the subway, but we’ll put our China commute up against yours any day. In this podcast, we’ll take advantage of your gridlock to teach you “gridlock”. You’ll also learn to talk about how you get to work every day, in Mandarin Chinese.

    Tags: traffic, travel, taxi

    Do I look good in this? Elementary

    We know all ChinesePod learners wanna look cool, so when we realized you might leave the house wearing something a little lacking that “je ne sais quoi”, we immediately put together a lesson to aid you with that conversation. You can’t have “ChinesePod” without “C-H-I-C”, so in this podcast learn all about what suits you, in Mandarin Chinese.

    Tags: colors, clothes

    Pronunciation Correction Elementary

    Oh, it will happen – right after the cab driver who you just told “I don’t speak Chinese” starts drawing Chinese characters on the window with his hand. It’s the “tone correction” sit-down. Get used to it now, with this podcast giving you a Mandarin Chinese lesson in a tone correction. Forget those “ma/ma/ma/ma” classes.

    Tags: language

    Directions with a Map #2 Elementary

    So, you dug the previous “left/right” lesson (or enjoyed taking “orders” from Jenny) so much, we decided to make another. But in this podcast, instead of “left/right,” we’re taking you north/south/east/west. Watch, listen, learn Mandarin Chinese and love. map 2

    Tags: directions, location

    Consoling the Bereaved Elementary

    It’s always difficult to find the right words of comfort when a friend’s loved one has passed away. It’s many times more difficult when you have to do it in Mandarin. In this podcast, learn the right Chinese phrases for consoling your friend during that painful time.

    Tags: etiquette, feelings, family

    Flags and National Anthems Elementary

    Now that China is your "adopted country", you had better make sure you know what your flag looks like. The national anthem? Hmm, that we'll leave for you to learn before 2008 (or you can just hum along). In this podcast, learn a little bit about the flag and national anthem of China, in Mandarin Chinese.

    Tags: Olympics, nationalities, culture

    Hard of Hearing Elementary

    Screeching scooter brakes, cacophonous construction and prolonged iPod use to block it all out is a China dweller’s recipe for auditory undoing. Before you end up bidding an early retreat to the world of grandpa hearing aids, listen (while you still can) to this podcast and learn about being hard of hearing, in Mandarin Chinese.

    Tags: communications

    Hungry Traveler: Xinjiang Elementary

    One man's meat is another man's poison. In this edition of 'The Hungry Traveler' we journey to the cuisine oft adored by westerners and somewhat spurned by those of a more Shanghai palate. Did you ever think of Chinese food as chewy flatbreads, cumin-crusted kebabs, and spicy curries? Welcome to Xinjiang... the marvelous cuisine that is the best kept culinary secret of China.

    Tags: food, Hungry Traveler Series

    Introducing the Managers Elementary

    Managers are a big deal in these parts. And you don't want to go calling them any old 'Mister.' In this podcast, learn how to address and introduce your manager in Chinese in the most efficient, face-giving manner possible. Sure to result in promotions, raises, slaps on the back, and right back at ya face-giving maneuvers.

    Tags: etiquette, home and office, introductions

    How Many Zeroes? Elementary

    The Chinese number system is based on groups of four zeroes, not three. Learn how to talk about big numbers in Chinese, in today's podcast.

    Tags: zero, math, numbers

    What do Foreigners Like? Elementary

    No matter what you sell, you have to know your market. In today's podcast you'll learn how to talk in Chinese about dealing with picky customers who always want a good deal. Learn Mandarin while shopping!

    Tags: peddler, DVDs, watch, bag, shopping, foreigners

    No TV Before Your Test! Elementary

    For the past month you've been studying for your Chinese test. Now you just want to relax in the warm glow of Mother Television. But what's this? Your real mother has other plans! Go study some more Mandarin! You have a test coming up soon! Learn how to tell your kids to study harder in Chinese.

    Tags: learning, parents, study, test, television

    A Thanksgiving Phone Call Elementary

    It's the time of the year when Americans (and even some Canadians, too) give thanks for the good things in their lives. Today we're listening to a conversation between a mother and son - and there's a great Thanksgiving surprise at the end!

    Tags: surprise, thanking, family, call, Thanksgiving Day

    Medicine Doses Elementary

    OK, you made it to the pharmacy and you managed to explain your symptoms to the pharmacist. You even have some funky-looking over-the-counter pills that promise to make you feel better. Now you have to figure out how often to take the pills... Learn the basic language to understand the dosage instructions. You wouldn't want to risk taking the wrong amount, would you?

    Tags: alcohol, food, illness, medicine

    Finishing Work for the Weekend Elementary

    At the end of the work week things generally wind down. But for some people, Fridays are the busiest. Check out today's lesson to learn about a person who's trying to cram everything in before the weekend. Jenny and John will also be discussing the very common practice of working overtime: 加班 (jiābān).

    Tags: good-bye, time, office, work

    Giving up a Seat on the Bus Elementary

    In the craziness that befalls Chinese cities at rush hour it hardly seems likely that there is any method to the madness. Yet often times when it comes to the elderly and the handicapped (and kiddos, too) people are quick to relinquish their hard-won seats. Find out more about giving up your bus seat with today's lesson!

    Tags: station, children, old people, people, seat, transportation, etiquette

    An Email Introduction Elementary

    It's fairly common in China for the newcomer in the office to send out a friendly introductory email to new co-workers. In this lesson we'll be taking a look at that simple email, and all its essential Chinese words and phrases.

    Tags: jobs, office, greetings, work, introductions, email

    City Districts in Shanghai Elementary

    Cities in China are divided into districts, which are not only labeled on maps, but also frequently mentioned in casual conversation. Do you know what the major city districts of Shanghai or Beijing are? If you live in China, do you know which district you live in? In this lesson, we cover the essential Chinese words you need.

    Tags: place, district, time, distance, transportation, city

    Don't Eat the Snow Elementary

    Don't eat the snow! No, not for the reason you're thinking... it's dirty! Join us in this lesson as a northerner and a southerner compare their Chinese winter experiences.

    Tags: entertainment, weather, snow

    Introducing Kids to Each Other Elementary

    Ah, kids. They love to play, but they also love to steal from each other and smack each other around for no reason. (Come to think of it, they're not that different from adults.) In this Chinese lesson, learn how to introduce children to each other so that they start off on the right foot.

    Tags: introductions, parents, children

    Didn't you get my email? Elementary

    There are many reasons to believe that someone may not have received your email. Whether you're a conspiracy theorist or simply need to remind a technology-challenged co-worker, this Chinese lesson will equip you to ask someone if he got your email.

    Tags: email, work, office

    Can I Have your Phone Number? Please? Elementary

    You may know one way to ask for a phone number, but can you beg shamelessly for one? Or can you deflect the request like a true ice queen? This lesson provides some simple but useful Chinese which might just come in handy at a bar.

    Tags: time, communication

    Favorite Sports Elementary

    Sports are a popular topic of discussion all over the world, and China is no exception. In this podcast, learn how to discuss which sports you like to play.

    Tags: daily life, hobbies, sports

    Commuting Options Elementary

    Subway, taxi, or bus? This is the common commuting conundrum faced by any number of working Chinese throughout the country. Listen in as two coworkers discuss the pros and cons (well, mostly the cons) of each mode of transportation in today's elementary lesson.

    Tags: daily life, transportation

    Lessons Per Week Elementary

    Sure, you're studying Chinese. We all know that. But are you a casual learner, or are you hardcore? And by that, I mean, "how many lessons do you have per week?" Learn what every student needs to be able to answer in this lesson.

    Tags: time, classroom, lessons, language, study

    Where's My Takeout? Elementary

    If you haven't been in this situation, you haven't been in China long. There are just some times when you wait and you wait, but the food you order never arrives. So when you call to inquire, you're told that it's coming "right away." Learn all the key language in this Chinese lesson. How tough you want to get is up to you.

    Tags: time, delivery, food

    Washing Clothes on the Road Elementary

    Nobody likes taking too much with them when traveling. However, some of us just don't like washing their clothes when on the road. This lesson concerns to friends discussing how much clothing they're bringing on a trip and why.

    Tags: daily life, luggage, clothes, travel, washing

    Rice with Soy Sauce Elementary

    Does steamed white rice have taste? Well, some of us seem to think so. However, there are those who just can't resist drizzling a bit of soy sauce over it to add a bit of flavor. In this elementary lesson, two friends discuss putting soy sauce on rice.

    Tags: food, eating, rice

    Ticket to Ride Elementary

    For getting around the metropolises of China, taking the subway is essential. In this lesson, listen in as someone looks to buy a subway ticket and learns about the various options.

    Tags: transportation, tickets, subway

    It's a Boy! And a Girl! Elementary

    Twins always steal the show. They are double cuteness, double giggles, and double trouble! In today's lesson, learn the Chinese word for twins of different genders.

    Tags: baby, kids, family

    A Visit to the School Elementary

    Choosing a good school for your children may involve going to visit the school to take a look around. This dialogue will prepare you to take a school tour in Chinese!

    Tags: introductions, visit, school

    Can Your Kid Speak Yet? Elementary

    At what point did you or your children start speaking? Today we hear two parents discuss this topic as well as learn the subtle differences between the verbs 能 néng and 會 huì which loosely translate as "able to" and "learnt to" although there is quite a lot of overlap in many cases.

    Tags: speaking, children, can

    City Comparison Pre Intermediate

    It’s been established you like your city, but why exactly? In this podcast, you will learn how to compare two things using Mandarin Chinese; in this case, cities. The more comparisons you can make, the smarter you sound. And the smarter you sound, the more you like us. And the more you like us, the better the Christmas gift we get from you. See how that works?

    Tags: city

    This Weather Is So Odd Intermediate

    “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” Have you ever tried to plan an outdoor activity that was dependent on the weather? Listen to this lesson where you'll learn ways to say that the weather is changeable and odd, as well how to make plans, and change them. Photo by belindasmilne

    Tags: rain, basketball, gym, exercise, sports, making plans, weather