ChinesePod’s Free Lessons

Want the most comprehensive and entertaining education in spoken Chinese out there? Go to ChinesePod.

If you’re serious, you’ll sign up for a Premium account. Yes, before September 2008, all lessons were free, published under a Creative Commons license. And there are plenty of those lessons available here.

But, the “Golden Age of ChinesePod” was 2008 through 2014. Without a paid account, you’re missing out on most of the good stuff.

Also, there are interactive tools on the website that reinforce those lessons. In my experience, the difference between studying ChinesePod with those tools and without those tools is like (as Mark Twain might say), “the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug.”

I have almost all of ChinesePod’s lessons downloaded on my computer, and over the past five years, I’ve made almost no progress. I finally bit the bullet last month and re-committed myself to a Premium account, and I’m moving forward again.

However, if you’re either smarter and more motivated than me, or you’re not so serious, then listening to those free lessons is still terrific. There are enough lessons to get you all the way through the highest levels.

Note: I obviously don’t endorse everything they produce. But, when you’re learning a foreign language, you end up touching every subject.


ChinesePod recommends that you do 50 of these before moving on. Personally, I did 100. I wanted them to be annoyingly easy before getting hit with the major step up to Elementary.

Here are some favorites:

There is also a series about each of the tones:


ChinesePod recommends that you do 80 of these. I think I did at least 120.

Some highlights:


ChinesePod recommends that you do 120 of these. That was about right for me.

Some highlights:

Upper Intermediate

Personally, I’ve found this to be the hardest level to break through: ChinesePod recommends that you do 160 of these. I was stuck here from 2009 until 2017!

There are some really good ones at this level, but unfortunately most of them aren’t free. But there are some:


ChinesePod recommends that you do 120 of these.

I’ll post highlights once I’ve picked some out.


ChinesePod recommends that you do 80 of these. Warning: They’re super hard!

I’ll post highlights once I’ve picked some out.

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