I’m a firm believer in making language learning as fun, interesting, and engaging as possible. There is almost nothing better for one’s motivation than content that meets those needs. While movies, comics, novels etc. are fun, they’re not necessarily going to give you the vocabulary you need to talk about things that you like to talk about (and who doesn’t like to do that?), sometimes learning that stuff is going to take a slightly different for of attack. The wonderful thing about the Internet is that finding interesting content that’s relevant to you can be as easy as typing a few keywords into a search engine and seeing where the results take you.
That’s what I did a few months ago when I was looking to add a bit more sci-fi related content to my language studies. What I eventually found upon was simply too good not to share with you all–a 32 episode open lecture series from Qinghua University in Taiwan called 科幻概論/科幻概论 (kēhuàn gàilùn: Introduction to Science Fiction). The teacher, with his black on black attire,looks like someone out of The Matrix and his lecture style is something rarely seen in Taiwanese education.
If you have any interest in sci-fi, than this lecture series is for you! The lectures, while entirely taught in Chinese, should be manageable for students at the intermediate or upper intermediate level and picking up new vocabulary based on context is relatively easy if you have any interest in sci-fi. This, or similar videos, are also a great way to test listening ability toward specific content, and perhaps would give you an idea of what attending university in Taiwan might be like. I’ve been slowly working my way through the lectures during my free time and find each one is better than the last. The most interesting thing about the entire course is hearing how the professor interprets and analyses western sci-fi.
Naturally, this lecture series isn’t going to be for everyone. Actually, Qinghua University has an entire Youtube channel dedicated to various Open Course lectures, and a simple search for 開放式課程/ 开放式课程 (kāifàngshì kèchéng: Open Course) turned up over 15,000 hits on Youtube alone. I’m sure there are even more on other sites as well. Not ready for a lecture entirely in Chinese… than stick with short videos, Wiki links, Facebook groups etc. and connect to interesting content that way. Bringing your passions, hobbies, interests, specialties into the mix can be an amazing way to take your language abilities to the next level.
If you find a lecture series worth sharing, please be sure to add a link in the comments below!