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Breaking Down Barriers: Movies and TV Shows in Chinese Language Learning

by | May 26, 2023

Breaking Down Barriers: Movies and TV Shows in Chinese Language Learning | That's Mandarin Blog
Learning Chinese can be somewhat stressful considering how complex the language is. It requires immersion and exposure to its native culture to understand some of the finer nuances. Luckily, while it is not as good as talking to a native Chinese speaker, you can make your language learning experience more interesting by watching movies and TV shows. However, it helps to have a basic understanding of sentence structure and measure words before you do so.

Movies and TV shows play a crucial role in enhancing language skills and providing a deeper understanding of the Chinese culture. This article explores how watching movies and TV shows can aid language learners in their quest to master Chinese. 

Enhancing Listening Skills

Watching movies and TV shows exposes learners to authentic spoken Chinese, helping them improve their listening skills. By hearing native speakers converse naturally, learners become familiar with the rhythm, intonation, and pronunciation of the language. Therefore, exposure to a variety of accents and dialects also expands their comprehension and adaptability to different linguistic contexts.

For beginners, movies like “Everything Everywhere All At Once” (媽的多重宇宙, Mā de Duōchóng Yǔzhòu), “Crazy Stone” (疯狂的石头, Fēngkuáng de Shítou) and “Lost in Thailand” (人再囧途之泰囧, Rén Zài Jiǒng Tú Zhī Tài Jiǒng) offer a good balance of humor, relatable situations, and simple dialogues that aid comprehension and vocabulary acquisition. Interestingly, there are many Chinese movies you will enjoy watching as you study the language. Some of these weren’t even made in mainland China yet use Mandarin Chinese – they will be just as interesting and useful to you. A good example is “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” which is mostly in English but has a smattering of frequently used, familiar Chinese words that provide learning context and enhance retention.

Expanding Vocabulary and Expressions

Movies and TV shows provide an abundance of vocabulary and expressions that learners can incorporate. Through context and visual cues, learners can grasp the meaning of new words and phrases, expanding their vocabulary in a memorable and engaging way.

For beginners, TV shows like “Happy Chinese” (快乐汉语, Kuàilè Hànyǔ) and “Growing up with Chinese” (跟着贝贝学汉语, Gēnzhe Bèibèi Xué Hànyǔ) offer educational content specifically designed for language learners. These shows provide interactive lessons, practical vocabulary, and cultural insights in an accessible format. You might also want to contact an experienced writer from the writing service Write My Essays who can help you create a schedule for all the movies and TV shows you plan to watch.

Cultural Understanding

Movies and TV shows offer insight into the Chinese culture, allowing learners to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of Chinese customs, traditions, and societal norms. Visual cues, settings, and characters help learners connect language learning with the cultural context, providing a more holistic learning experience.

For beginners, movies such as “Mulan” (花木兰, Huā Mùlán) and “Kung Fu Panda” (功夫熊猫, Gōngfū Xióngmāo) not only entertain but also introduce Chinese folklore, martial arts, and values like filial piety and perseverance. These films provide cultural insights while keeping the language accessible for beginners. It might help to watch them with English subtitles to help you make the association.

Improving Pronunciation and Intonation

Watching movies and TV shows exposes learners to authentic Chinese pronunciation and intonation patterns. By observing native speakers, learners can imitate their speech patterns and develop better pronunciation skills. Mimicking dialogue and paying attention to stress and intonation help learners sound more natural when speaking Chinese.


Colleagues | 5 Ways to Say “I Like” in Chinese

For children, TV shows like “Ni Hao, Kai-Lan” (你好,凯兰, Nǐhǎo, Kǎi Lán) are excellent resources. Such shows feature simple language, clear pronunciation, and repetition, making them ideal for improving pronunciation and intonation.

Watching movies and TV shows in China is a valuable tool for learning Chinese. They provide an immersive and enjoyable learning experience, enhancing listening skills, expanding vocabulary, deepening cultural understanding, and improving pronunciation. So grab some popcorn, sit back, and embark on an exciting language learning adventure through the world of Chinese cinema and television.

Guest Author | That's Mandarin Blog

by Cynthia Young

Cynthia Young is an academic writer with a wondrous love for writing and linguistics. She starts her day by reading her favorite magazine and ends up writing her own article. In her spare time Cynthia writes articles for various reputable blogs on self-education and marketing.



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