Friday, December 22, 2006

ChineseBlast: Strangely Attractive

Chris pointed out the ChineseBlast site a few days ago, and I find it strangely attractive. That is to say I like it, but I can't figure out why. On the face of it, it seems like like a subset of ChinesePod: A dialog with transcripts in Pinyin, Hanzi and English.

It has something that Chinesepod doesn't have - it allows users to cooperate on the transcripts of audio clips and so arrive at the understandings by themselves - like a specialized wiki.

But even without getting into that functionality, what I like about it is the immediacy of it all and the ease with which I can go back and listen again and again to the dialog in order to see if I have finally got it. My old French teacher (I'm talking about 25 years ago) used to talk about the boomerang method: constantly going back on what you learned yesterday, and the day before, and last week, but in increasingly less detail. I've found this to be effective.

With ChinesePod, much as I appreciate and enjoy the banter between Ken, Jenny and John, I would like to be able to go back and just listen to the dialog. I wonder would it represent a lot of work (and little gain) for the guys over at ChinesePod to publish a dialog-only version of each lesson, to facilitate those of us who can only devote small pockets of time and would like to use that time to maximum benefit?


John said...

I'm not sure if I see the similarity between ChineseBlast and ChinesePod.

I do like ChineseBlast though. The idea of being able to add Audio or Video clips from anywhere on the net and having the community help you to translate it is a great idea. And the already translated clips are a great resource in themself.

Brendan Lawlor said...

Hi John,
From the point of view of a user who just goes to ChineseBlast to listen to dialogs and then read the transcripts, I find this to be a ChinesePod-in-a-nutshell experience.
It's a small subset of what ChinesePod offers, so I wondered what was it that made me like it (given that I don't use ChineseBlast's other features). The conclusion I came to was that I liked the immediacy: the ability to jump in for 5 minutes and revist just the dialog - as it's often just 5 minutes at I time that I find myself with. (I should point out that I listen mainly to Elementary Level ChinesePod dialogs, so that colours a lot of what I'm saying).
It'd be nice if I could do something similar for the Elementary dialogs in ChinesePod, though I recognize that this might present a lot of work for little demand, for the ChinesePod guys.