When you are learning a foreign language, sometimes the most rewarding feeling is to be able to pick up something written for its native speakers, and being able to understand it yourself. This is why newspapers make for such great study sources. You get up to date news that you probably have an idea of from your own news source. You get the most current language used so you know your vocabulary is up to date. And if you have a special interest, like politics, the environment, or anything else, you get to explore that subject in your chosen language as well. Perfect all round! Learning Mandarin? Here are some of the best newspapers for you to help you learn.
People's Daily is a great newspaper to start your Mandarin practice with. It is the largest Chinese newspaper in circulation, with a readership of around three million readers worldwide. It is historically a pro-government newspaper, with most editorials needing to be approved by the government prior to publication. The tone has relaxed a little in recent years, however, making its stories less about propaganda and more about sharing information. Though you definitely won't see any anti-government stances or views!
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So what have you got to read? Go for 滚动 which is rolling, or headline news, or 时政, which is current affairs that include the latest news over the past few days. If you want to read international news in Mandarin, try 国际. This article on the new Chinese-American agreement is a great introduction to the tone and style of the newspaper. There is a photo ticker tape on the front page that takes you to all kinds of stories depending on what catches your eye, like this one on the recent 'People 1' rocket launch. We also like that there is an entire section devoted to message boards, which is one way to get your bite-sized learning in, giving a read through the comments!
The clarity of People's Daily as a newspaper makes it an excellent choice for language learners. People's Daily is also pretty unique in terms of Chinese newspapers when it comes to languages; you can get editions in English, Arabic, Russian, French, and Spanish! Something to think about for all polyglots out there!
Sing Tao Daily
The Sing Tao Daily might be familiar to you since it is part of the Sing Tao group, which caters for Chinese speakers the world over. There are in fact 16 overseas paper editions, meaning its circulation reaches more than one hundred cities both in China and overseas—in addition to the online version of the newspaper which everyone has access to. With a plain, easy style of writing to make the newspaper reader-friendly for everyone, you really can't go wrong with the Sing Tao Daily as a study resource.
So what can you read? The Sing Tao Daily feels a little more like a regular newspaper than the People's Daily, just from an initial glance. The ticker tape with photos takes you directly to the latest headlines, with other headline articles listed beneath it along with more photographs to help you to decide what to pick. As for sections, the sports section (體育) might be good for those who want to follow football news, like this article about Manchester United. The entertainment section (娛樂) is also good if you're looking for an easier article to start using Mandarin realia with for studying. This article about a reunion between beloved actress Wei Zhao and her former co-stars will give you a little insight into the Chinese entertainment industry — as well as the chance to practice!
Finally, for the novelty of it, and especially if you want some bite-sized learning first to see if reading newspapers works for you as a study source. In the bottom right corner of the front page there is another ticker tape, this time with various Chinese advertisements. Want to know about phone plans for families in China, or about which best saucepans to buy? Sing Tao Daily has you covered!
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