China's popularity in the world continues to grow, with more and more foreigners attracted to Chinese culture, society, history and language. Among those expats living in China, many turn to Chinese television not only as a source of local entertainment but also as a way of learning Putonghua.
The Global Times recently hit the streets of Shanghai to interview foreigners about their Chinese TV viewing habits.
"I think watching Chinese dramas or reality shows are a good way to learn the language," Adbi from Australia said. "I also often listen to Chinese radio. It helps me a lot with my listening skills."
French national Jean began studying
Putonghua when he first came to Shanghai. He believes that watching Chinese TV programs is helpful, and as he is also a big fan of Chinese poetry, he likes to watch a show named Chinese Poetry Conference.
"I think it's fantastic that China can organize a TV program about poetry. There are plenty of words that I love. The most impressive one is 'yongqi.' It means courage and it may be the best symbol of China."
Kelly from America agrees that watching local programming helps her learn Chinese for her daily life, though she prefers Chinese action movies. "I've watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon almost twenty times."
However, after attempting to communicate with her Chinese friends using the Putonghua learned from her viewing, she said it did not go well. "They looked at me in confusion and asked me what I was talking about. But I'm not afraid of making mistakes. I think it's interesting."
Mark from France speaks fluent
Putonghua as well as the Shanghai dialect. He agrees it is very helpful to learn by watching Chinese TV series, as there are many common expressions and slang that can be picked up.
"Reading Chinese newspapers and magazines, and communicating with Chinese people are also good ways. I learned a lot of Chinese idioms from my Chinese friends, such as suiyuer'an [go with the flow] and wuhuabamen [multifarious]. They all have deep meanings."
A foreign woman reads a book. Photos: CFP and Xiang Jun/GT
Poster of Chinese TV series The First Half of My Life
Poster of Chinese movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon