Good TV for Beginners

Any suggestions for good TV to watch for beginner language learning. I recall in my French study days finding it very useful to watch French talk shows where there was tons of dialogue focused around a single - more or less - topic. That might be a little ambitious for my Mandarin but anything is welcome - with some specifics on time and day. Thanks.

I highly suggest getting VCD box sets of TV serial dramas. These are great for language learning, because they provide intense repetition and variation of dialogue on everyday themes in everyday language. If you get them on VCD, you can replay sections that you miss until you’ve understood them to your satisfaction. With soap-opera type dramas, you can also learn a lot about fine points of social life, structure, and etiquette in Taiwan that aren’t often addressed in traditional teaching materials.

Unfortunately I can’t suggest any particular Mandarin series as I haven’t had a cable TV connection at home for quite a few years. There are a number of Mandarin series in box sets on the shelves of the various big chain stores that sell CDs, VCDs, and DVDS. (Choose something that you would find absorbing based on your own tastes – be it cop dramas, historical dramas, business dramas, family dramas.)

I’ve been watching the boxed VCD set of 台灣龍捲風 to work on my Taiwanese, and have found it extremely helpful for my listening comprehension. I’ve been watching a couple of hours a couple of nights a week, and I’m now up to episode 180 and can understand just about everything that is said, though I still have to glance often at the subtitles. (By comparison, when I started watching the series, I could only understand about 60 percent of the dialogue without reading the subtitles closely and rewinding often.)

Just be careful that you know which dialect is being used (if more than one occurs)…it would be very frustrating to be listening over and over to something only to learn later that they had suddenly switched to Taiwanese (which does happen).

Virtually all of the Mainland stations I get here in the US via satellite (sorry, not much help to you however ;-( ) come with full subtitles. Add a DVD recorder and you’re all set!

Star Chinese is probably one of the better options. It’s fully in Mandarin and has subs in Chinese and English (though that English isn’t always good). If you are a beginner, you can listen for what you know and then take a peek below at the subs when you feel you are losing track of the plot.

Eat Sleep Man Woman By Ang Lee.
The Characters all speak slowly. (Don’t ask me why.)
It is also a good film, so not a punishment to watch.

Eat [color=darkred]DRINK [/color]Man Woman is Ang Lee’s masterpiece.