Sure, it’s easy to learn Chinese if you were either a) born into a Chinese-speaking family, b) born in a Chinese-speaking country, or c) have a couple hundred dollars you need to drop into Rosetta Stone’s pockets. For the rest of us, there’s FluentFlix, a new startup that curates Chinese video content on YouTube and makes it easier to pick up the notoriously difficult-to-learn language.
As the name FluentFlix suggests, the website lets members subscribe to video clips of their choosing based on genre or category and difficulty level. Current categories include Arts and Entertainment, Business, Everyday Life, Health and Lifestyle, Politics and Society, Science and Tech and Traditional Culture. The FluentFlix platform subtitles the videos, so when watching, you can click on a word and view the definition along with three sample sentences. You can also add the word to your vocabulary list to review later.
Founded by Alan Park, a graduate of Duke University and Harvard Law School, FluentFlix has a team of four language lovers. Sam Cheng is responsible for Operations, Jason Schuurman for Content and Ben Sangree for Marketing. FluentFlix has created its innovative language-learning model with the idea that “traditional tools like textbooks have been essential for us. But what we’ve found is that we learn best through engaging experiences,” the FluentFlix website reads. Using FluentFlix, users will be exposed to the language as well as the Chinese culture. What FluentFlix does essentially is bring boring grammar to life with real world applications.
FluentFlix is currently in beta mode, but you can gain early access by referring more friends or spreading the word on Twitter. You can also learn more about FluentFlix on their blog, which covers topics like the best way to study Chinese and how watching videos can be effective. Personally, I think they’re onto something great—this “video textbook” for the next generation of Chinese language students.
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