Popup Chinese


Fresh from Beijing, PopupChinese teaches Chinese as it is actually spoken. Start with our basic Chinese lessons, and in no time you'll be speaking like a Beijinger. Our free daily podcasts, vibrant community, and love for the real China make us the most powerful and personal way to learn mandarin.

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The most convenient way to learn Chinese the way it is actually spoken and used. Start with our basic lessons, and in no time you'll be listening to music, watching films and television and engaging in the actual language. With free daily podcasts, a vibrant community, online study tools and much more, PopupChinese is the most powerful and personal way to learn mandarin.
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2017-11-30 22:54
last episode published
2013-06-24 01:00
publication frequency
14.0 days
Popup Chinese author   owner  
Number of Episodes
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Education Higher Education Language Courses



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Beginner - Pushing a Car

Admittedly, this lesson doesn't have much to do with life in Hong Kong, if only because none of us can remember the last time we've actually driven on the island. In our car that is, because while we definitely enjoy shuffling around in a cab every now...
Beginner author

Elementary - Mrs. Robinson

Mrs. Robinson had pushed her daughter to get involved with the university sports program. "You spend too much time in the library," she gestured dismissively at the concrete edifice. "Why don't you try to make different kinds of friends and broaden you...
Elementary author

Elementary - iPad Acquisition Techniques

There are a couple of ways to get an iPad. The most expensive is to walk into the IFC and just buy one. But why wait in line? Or risk falling down that glass staircase and breaking your neck? We have your interests in mind, which is why this week we're...
Elementary author

Advanced - Our Love-Hate Relationship with China

You think you have a love-hate relationship with China? Ever since 1997 we've been privvy to nothing but complaints over the water cooler about those guys. And then they complain back at us. No wonder 2012 was such a rough year in the annals of Hong Ko...
Advanced author

Elementary - 30 Degrees

The temperature in Kowloon Financial's head office had risen steadily through the day, from a comfortable twenty degrees at opening to its current sweat-inducing thirty degrees. James would have opened the window to create a draft, but with the tempera...
Elementary author

Advanced - Life as a Running Dog

This week we're happy to release an advanced show that's one hundred percent native Cantonese. In our studio this week are Aldo and Melody, who take to our studio to chat about relations between Hong Kong and China, and why we don't particularly mind b...
Advanced author

Intermediate - Nepotism in Action

The internship program was one of the most prestigious in all Washington State. And while Susan had expected running it to be a challenge, she had not expected the largest hurdles to come from the company's own upper management, which soon began exerti...
Intermediate author

Beginner - The Four Flavors

One of the best things about living in Hong Kong is the amazing culinary diversity in the city, and particularly the whole range of Asian cuisines. If you're planning on taking full advantage of life in the culinary metropolis that is Hong Kong, you'll...
Beginner author

Elementary - Drinks after Work

Mary had expected the long hours and the occasionally soul-crushing minutiae of handling the international accounts. Carpenter & Wilkins was one of the leading law firms on the island and catered to a top-tier clientele of financial firms, which me...
Elementary author

Intermediate - Dinner for One

What was it about the New York professional set when it came to punctuality and romance? This was Susan's third date in mid-town Manhattan and the third time she'd been kept waiting over half an hour. In most situations you try to be a little flexible,...
Intermediate author

Elementary - Our Morning Workout Routine

It's not that we don't like the gym. It's that our enthusiasm for thirty minutes on the treadmill is highly contingent on the time of day, and what you're suggesting means getting out of bed at six in the morning and biking downtown before the subway e...
Elementary author

Elementary - You're a bad, bad boy....

Up until he turned five, Henry had never known the darker side of life, and his existence passed as a series of pleasures which ran one into the next. As he grew the boy discovered in turn the joy of self-locomotion, the power of speech, and the pleasu...
Elementary author

Elementary - Cat in the Fridge

The thought was too horrible to bear: could the household be passing through wartime rationing? The mid-afternoon milkings which had once satiated them as kittens had become at first irregular before disappearing completely. Debating this crisis from t...
Elementary author

Intermediate - The Investigation

The moon had been hidden behind a layer of clouds blown in off the ocean, lending some credence to the claims of the parking lot staff not to have seen the actual killing. But while the evidence against the main suspect was admittedly circumstantial, t...
Intermediate author

Beginner - Book Smarts

It's hard to pull off being passive aggressive in a Cantonese. It isn't just that you need to keep your words in the right order, master those tones, and avoid flubbing the grammar, but you also have to perfect a certain je ne said quoi, a sort of supe...
Beginner author

Beginner - Working Out

Normally, Allan spent thirty minutes on the treadmill and then another half hour lifting weights, or at least hovering in the vicinity of the weight-lifting equipment soaking in the general vibes of the health equipment. As he woke up this morning with...
Beginner author

Intermediate - The Boy Wizard

Melody was halfway through chapter five by Tuesday morning. As is traditional with children's stories, her novel had started with the somewhat cliched passage of the children heading off to school. But it was now thickening with hints of the titanic st...
Intermediate author

Beginner - This and That

Learning Cantonese? Trust us that no matter how fluent you get, at some point your language skills will fail and you'll find yourself resorting to pointing and grunting. Which is where this podcast comes in. In this Cantonese lesson for relative newbie...
Beginner author

Elementary - Shopping for Clothes

Planning to spend the next few years walking around Hong Kong buck naked? Both we and the local police are guessing not, which means that at some point you'll have to head out and purchase clothing from a local shop in Hong Kong. And while the good new...
Elementary author

Beginner - The Apology

Grovelling isn't exactly our forte, but sometimes you need to put that dignity behind you to salvage whatever you can from your marriage. Like the time one of us arrived home at one o'clock in the morning after a grueling karaoke session only to find t...
Beginner author

Elementary - Take-Out

If you think the sheer population density of Hong Kong is impressive, wait until you experience the island's fast-food density. By our admittedly unscientific survey, conducted on the way to lunch one day, there are several hundred McDonalds prowling t...
Elementary author

Elementary - Hong Kong Medical Records

Learning Cantonese? Our free Cantonese podcast today takes place in a hospital, where a doctor and patient are having an intimate discussion about treatment options. And so while we hope you won't have to visit a hospital while in Hong Kong, this lesso...
Elementary author

Elementary - Creative Driving Techniques

Assuming you've been watching the same Hong Kong films as the rest of us, you must be familiar with the scene: our protagonist is making a mad dash across Hong Kong in the middle of rush hour. Yet despite the standstill traffic, he makes considerable p...
Elementary author

Elementary - Taking Time Off

Jane stared at her production schedule with resigned disbelief. It was clear at first glance that the board's target would be difficult if not impossible to meet, but the deadline still meant it was crunchtime for everyone at the office, and especially...
Elementary author

Elementary - The Lie Detector

Less than an hour after the salesperson had begun demonstrating the device, Sarah lugged her new lie detector onto the kitchen table with a sense of satisfaction. For the last few weeks she had become increasingly distraught over Philip's evasive answe...
Elementary author

Beginner - The Sleeping Beauty

"This lesson has nothing to do with Sleeping Beauty," Nicole was feeling pedantic, probably because we'd just given her about fifteen hours of data entry work, and then added annotating this lesson on top. "I mean... what does this podcast even have to...
Beginner author

Beginner - Chocolate Ice Cream

"You can have any flavor you want," the clerk made a vague waving gesture at the empty shelves, or perhaps the storeroom behind him. Jessica arched her head to gaze behind the counter, but even so only managed to catch a glimpse of a carton of half-mel...
Beginner author

Beginner - Love Triangle

The three of them had spent the night crying, although for entirely different reasons. Ever since Sandra's affair with Michael had been exposed on national television, her relationship with Sam had been ripped apart. And Michael's friendship with Sam h...
Beginner author

Elementary - Our Sobering Thoughts on the Hong Kong Dairy Industry

Ever heard of Hong Kong's famous Tuen Mun yoghurt or the blue cheese of Leung Shuen Wan? We're betting you haven't, if only because neither happens to exist. And sad as that may be to consider, it's hardly surprising given the appalling state of the Ho...
Elementary author

Elementary - Panda Breeding Techniques

The creaking gate stirred Tuan Tuan from his slumber. It was eleven o'clock, and Yuan Yuan, who had been sleeping peacefully in the thicket beside him, growled at the disruption. They were not the best of friends, but on this the two creatures could ag...
Elementary author

Beginner - Passing Thoughts on Hong Kong Fashion

We'll admit that male grooming patterns in Hong Kong continue to mystify us even after several years of exposure. But while we aren't this mean in real life, it's inevitable that sometimes you might want to be, because it doesn't take a lot of getting ...
Beginner author

Advanced - Top Five Horrible Restaurants in Hong Kong, Part I

Now that we're at the advanced level we can afford to be straight with you: Hong Kong is not as perfect as we have led you to believe. Sadly, the city still has the occasional faults. And while there aren't many of them, we'd be doing you a disservice ...
Advanced author

Elementary - Adventures in Pet-Sitting

Being in the global trade business meant frequent trips around Southern Asia strengthening connections with suppliers. At one time this had been a major benefit of working in the field, and one of the reasons Nancy entered the sourcing industry. Yet th...
Elementary author

Beginner - Listening Test #1

Learning Cantonese? One of the things you'll learn about us here at Popup Cantonese is that we move at a pretty fast pace. But we know some of you are struggling to keep up, which is why in today's lesson we take a step back and review some of the thin...
Beginner author

Elementary - A Romance For The Stars

We've heard women complain that Hong Kong men can't be romantic, and then we've heard the same men complain about the same women that they just don't appreciate the finer things in life. So we don't really know where we stand, except that when it comes...
Elementary author

Advanced - Dealing with the Family

We meet the teary-eyed couple over drinks Lan Kwai Fong. Their story is pretty typical for Hong Kong and goes something like this: girl meets boy, they fall in love and maybe even move in together. He gets a raise and she gets a promotion and life is g...
Advanced author

Elementary - Backstabbing Friends and Colleagues

Learning Cantonese? Let your other textbooks teach you office pleasantries. At Popup Cantonese we're all about the watercooler gossip: who is sleeping with whom, who was spotted drunk at Lan Kwai Fong last night, and the perfect angle of descent for re...
Elementary author

Elementary - The Art of Comparison

"I'm not sure if I should get the Aston Martin or the Jaguar XKR," Nicole stared at the glossy automotive magazine, her lunch lying untouched on the table. The growing stream of celebrity endorsements on everything from instant noodles to motor oil was...
Elementary author

Beginner - Our Boundless Gratitude

We'd been cornered outside a 7/11 and were getting a lecture on professional ethics. "It's a simple exchange," the professor said. "You contribute a little bit to the cause and we're endlessly grateful in return." Our thoughts on this gentleman's forwa...
Beginner author

Beginner - Bargaining and Money Matters

Now that you've lived in Hong Kong for a day or two, you might feel the need to venture out to buy some essentials like food, clothing and water. In other countries this would be a pretty routine affair. Go down to the corner store, flash that winning ...
Beginner author

Advanced - The Power of the Cup Noodles

Fearful of being forced into marriage against your will? Concerned your prospective husband may be murderous scum and your family putting political allegiances above your health and longevity? Our advanced Cantonese lesson today is a listening test off...
Advanced author

Beginner - Borrowing a pen

This podcast is dedicated to a certain ex-coworker of ours known widely throughout Hong Kong for his uncanny abilities in the art of pen theft. No matter how many we'd buy or where we'd hide them, by the end of the week every single writing instrument ...
Beginner author

Beginner - The Art of Denial

Learning Cantonese? This lesson is about the art of the denial. Which is highly-critical language you may just find yourself using the next time you sweep through Hong Kong on business, or just want to disavow any knowledge once again of that little in...
Beginner author

Beginner - Where is my wallet?

In our introduction series, we taught you the most simple way to ask where things are in Cantonese. In this lesson, we introduce another way to find out who has taken your stuff. This is the difference between asking "where is my wallet" and "where's m...
Beginner author

Beginner - Internal Fortitude

One of the most impressive things about Hong Kong is the absolutely incredible bladder control you will find on display throughout the city. Forget about the Chinese acrobatic acts featuring intense young Buddhists smashing their forearms through concr...
Beginner author

Advanced - Hong Kong Women Never Pay?

Learning Cantonese? In our advanced show for today we unleash Nicole and the rest of our team in a podcast filled-to-the-brim with our non-expert and possibly-dangerous opinions about your relationship problems. Don't have relationship problems you say...
Advanced author

Basic Cantonese - Critical Verbs #4

If you've listened to our previous Critical Verb lessons, our fourth installment won't contain anything terribly surprising. Rather than a surprise appearance by David Bowie and impromptu studio versions of China Girl (working on it...), we just review...
Basic Cantonese author

Basic Cantonese - Listening Test #4

Learning Cantonese? We're almost finished our Critical Verb series and are onto more dialogue-based lessons. And we've covered a lot of ground, which means our listening test for today is actually pretty difficult. If you've just started to learn Canto...
Basic Cantonese author

Basic Cantonese - Critical Verbs #3

Meh? In any other language it would be an expression of boredom or contempt. Which goes to show what living on an island will get you, because in Cantonese people have elevated this sound to a critical part of everyday language. And we guarantee that i...
Basic Cantonese author

Basic Cantonese - Critical Verbs #2

Learning Cantonese? Today Brendan and Nicole introduce four key verbs you'll need to talk about speaking Cantonese. You'll have heard some of these before, which is why we move fairly quickly through the basics and throw some more difficult sentences y...
Basic Cantonese author