For most people, using televisions and radio to learn a new language can often help out with hearing everyday phrases in conversation and learning the cadence of the new language. However, this can cause problems as these TV hosts and radio hosts are all native speakers and for a newcomer the language can often be hard to understand.
However, most TV is very formulaic, especially the news and popular broadcast shows. They are normally divided into sections and every section says the same phrases, for example a Chinese dating show will introduce the characters, talk about the men and women, and then will have questions and answers given.
While TV can go by fast, most Chinese TV is subbed with Chinese subtitles, and with a good dictionary and a pen most people can jot down the common phrases and then work on translation. Once the common phrases are understood, then the more complex ones can be written down and translated.
In addition, watching the news about a topic or investing time in a show that the individual finds interesting, it will help the brain absorb the material and provide information on the topic that will also provide a motivation to learn. After all, when people learn to think and care about something that interests them they will want to understand it.
Using visual imagery
By watching what is going on the screen and using common phrases that multiple characters say, it’s possible to put the plot of the show together just by letting your brain piece together the visual and auditory stimuli.
Also, by picking a character and repeating the same lines after he does will help the brain. If the character says a unique sentence, then the brain will link that sentence to the character and make it easier to remember and understand.
Try to mimic other actors and focus on grammar or any unique parts of speech that they use, and by repeating the phrases as they talk a better understanding of how Chinese is used in actual conversation.
Putting it all together
By connecting phrases and words that are heard on television to their real-life counterparts, viewers can ultimately gain a deeper understanding of the words and their influence in life. So for example, if a show takes place at a dockyard or a train station, go down to those locations and listen to the conversation.
Chances are some of the more generic phrases about work, objects around the location, and even people will be the exact same as the show and conversations will be easier to understand.
Television is a passive medium in the world of language learning, and only by speaking the phrases and putting the shows’ content into practice will a real learning experience be gained and the benefits shown. However, using TV is a good method for all hopeful Chinese speakers and it can help show them what Chinese really sounds like when used in conversation.