Read News, Learn Chinese 看新闻学中文

By Ling-Ling Lisa Shih

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Some helpful tools and a Chinese News App that you can utilize to understand Chinese.

In this modern era, it’s a good idea to keep up with the news so we know what is happening in the world. It will prevent us from staying overly self-focused and extend our concerns to the issues and events that affect our society, and the world we live in. This is the most important reason that more advanced language learners should look into news for learning materials. Reading, listening, and watching news will enhance your Chinese reading and listening comprehension as well. As an old Chinese saying goes , “秀才不出门,能知天下事。” (Without going out, a scholar can know all the world’s affairs.” )

It’s even easier to stay current with what’s going on today. Another reason why Chinese news is a great source, is that these materials are easily accessible through the internet and free!

Although we have an abundance of news from various sources, you should be cautious about everything you come across, whether it’s heard or read. Journalistic reports are supposed to be unbiased and based on facts, but their reports are not necessarily neutral or truthful. Reading critically is important when forming your own thoughts and opinions on a subject. Knowing where the news comes from and the position of the publisher will help determine its credibility and discern if the report reflects a certain bias, perspective, or political ideology.

News broadcasts can be hard to follow even for more advanced foreign language learners,  because news reporters often deliver at a fast-paced rate, and read from a scripted speech. Despite having some sources that are difficult to understand, some news have a lot of interviews that are easier to understand. Olle Linge in A Complete Guide to Learning Chinese with the News has suggested quite a few “good tips and tricks for learning Chinese with the news.” First, Linge suggests reading how to make Chinese input more comprehensible as “one solid step closer to understanding Chinese news.”  This article teaches some Chinese comprehension strategies and skills we can apply to understanding Chinese broadcasts.

The general rule of thumb for learning Chinese through news, is to take advantage of any scaffolding supports available through written language and language tools (which I will introduce later in the article). Once you are familiarized with the content of the news by reading a news article with the help of language tools (Chinese-English Dictionaries中英英中字典 or a Popup Dictionary / Mandarin Spot annotation tool), listening to its video coverage won’t sound like gibberish any more. With the videos below, there is a script available by clicking on a link on the screen. You will find yourself beginning to understand what is broadcasted, and comprehend more and more as you persist and persevere. Even though most bilingual news is intended for English learners, they can also facilitate news reading for Chinese language learners as well.

I hope all of us will strive to set time aside to keep updated with what’s going on in the world. It takes discipline to read news daily considering how easy we can get pulled in “million” directions and many obligations we need to fulfill. Just like exercise, allot a set schedule for 30-minute news reading time.

I think it is very “cool” to be able to read news in both Chinese and English. Seeing the world from both cultural lenses is the privilege for knowing more than one language.

Click here to find Chinese News:

Chinese News for Language Learners

Chinese Language Tools to facilitate your news Reading:

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  • Tong Wen Tang plugin for FirefoxChrome or Safari: Traditional and Simplified Chinese Converter:

For the news articles written in traditional Chinese, you can use the following plugin to convert on-line texts into the simplified Chinese. It is very easy to install to your device. Just install it and the plugin symbol will appear at the right upper corner of the screen. toggle it to convert the on-line text in traditional Chinese to the simplified.

  • Chinese-English Popup Dictionaries

After adding a pop-up dictionary on your electronic device, it will allow one’s mouse to point at any Chinese word on a web page and immediately get its definition and pinyin.



If you don’t want to hassle with downloading any plugins, you can simply paste some text into the Mandarin Spot annotation tool, and then press ‘annotate’. It will provide in-line pronunciation, pop-up English definition when you hover over the words.

For more language tools, please go to:

To read free magazine articles, please go to : Learn Chinese through Magazine Articles 读杂志学中文

Additional Resources:

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