Since my new method of studying is doing transcriptions and using them to improve my listening I figured I might as well share them with you and also use this opportunity to review the podcast.
A bit about 狗熊有话说
I have listened to a couple of the episodes of this podcast, also known as Bear Talk (or lit. the black bear has something to say). Originally, I came across it through a blog post, but at the time I wasn’t particularly impressed because I wasn’t a fan of the topics and soon found a different podcast. But then, recently searching for new podcasts to listen to I saw that the presenter 大狗熊 had an episode on Minimalism or 极简主义 [jí jiǎn zhǔ yì], a topic of my interest.
It also turns out half of his podcast has become a kind of reading club called “Read with Bear” or 狗熊月读 (lit. Bear’s monthly reading), check it out. He’s been reading two books a month for the past two years and provides all kind of detailed info on them. In his words, 狗熊月读 is:
iTunes 获奖人气播客「狗熊有话说」的主播大狗熊发起的有偿个人学习计划，大狗熊将从 2016 年 1 月 1 日开始，每个月精读 2 本书，并将书的精华内容整理成音频有声读物、视频课程及资料文档，提供给加入计划的学习伙伴。通过参加「狗熊月读」计划，不论您在哪儿，不花额外的时间，就可以轻松获得一年 24 本好书的阅读收获！
iTunes award-wining popular podcast Bear Talk’s anchor, Big Bear, newly launched paid study program. Big bear started to read two books pers month since the first of January, 2016. Each books main features are neatly presented together in audio, video and digital format. The program offers a membership study companion. When you participate in the Read with Bear program, it doesn’t matter where you are, and with no time wasted, you can effortlessly reap the benefits of reading 24 books in a year.
It’s pretty interesting, this idea of basically reading for someone else to “reap the benefits” or 获得收获. Also, it’s rather admirable that a guy with a full-time job and a kid has time to not only read these books but make all this material AND a podcast. Well good for you Big Bear and 加油大狗熊.
That being said, lets get to the review.
After hearing a little bit I decided to make this my next study objective and sat down to start transcribing with the help of my teacher on italki. A couple of things I realized were: 1) I have quite a bit of trouble understanding his accent, which is from the south, not so much the zh/sh/x/s but the -n vs -ng and some vowels, 2) after sitting down with the transcript I realized my comprehension is just around 95%, but listening on the first try was only about 60%; and 3) getting used to the difference between spoken 口语 vs written 书面 languange takes practice.
I would put the languange level for this episode and his way of speaking around the upper-intermediate (with a lot of noise depending on your listening comprehension and vocabulary) or advanced level. His accent is not a very strong southern accent but just enough to throw you off if you’re used to only the standard mandarin accent.
As for content, I wasn’t very impressed. Sure, there are a lot of expressions to help you practice, but I felt that aside from a pretty brief summary of the book and one important anecdote he liked from the author, his opinions are pretty superficial, mainstream, and repetitive. But don’t mind me, I studied philosophy, and well, he is on a deadline. That being said, my teacher also didn’t think Big Bear’s opinion’s were very deep either.
In terms of language use, he does vary language quite a bit, uses a lot of metaphors, and if you’re not used to reading a lot of Chinese you might be thrown off by the common use of written expressions, especially when he’s introducing the book and summarizing it.
I would recommend this kind of podcast or reading club for those who want to be able to talk about books, or likes to hear about books and want to hear someone with a different accent who doesn’t speak a mile a minute. I would say it’s just right for somone at the upper-intermediate level looking to break into the advance level. It is not, however, what I would call compelling input, but I’m very picky about my podcasts.