Bǎo Bèi Tīng Tīng (BBTT) wasn’t made to help you learn Chinese, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use it. BBTT is a Chinese language app made for Chinese parents. It’s filled with stories, songs and cartoons recorded for young kids. Because the material has been made for children, the language is much easier to understand than what you would find elsewhere. Because BBTT wasn’t made for language learners, there are obviously places where it falls short compared to a language learning platform like Yabla, Chinesepod or many others. However, it’s free and you may find a lot of material around your level to use for practicing your Chinese listening.
BBTT is probably only suitable for elementary or higher level students. Even stories made for the youngest kids will be too difficult for beginner students. The app is only in Chinese but it’s still pretty easy to navigate.
By clicking the 2nd button from the left at the bottom, you’ll be taken to a new screen. From here, you can browse by categories, age or other options. For the youngest age range, 0-1 years old, most of the material is quite short and too annoying for me to actually listen to. However, as you move up in age ranges, there are longer, more interesting stories. They’re great when you want some longer passive listening practice.
Most stories don’t have subtitles, so you’ll have to accept the fact you may not be able to figure out what every word means. However, most of the cartoons and some of the songs do have them. You can also download the content to listen to or watch later.
As you reach the intermediate level, you may find yourself wanting to move away from language learning materials and try out native content. Sites like FluentU (review) and Yabla (review) are quite good and provide more age appropriate content, as well as making the content easier to study for language learners. One issue with those platforms is that there isn’t much content over two or three minutes long that you can just sit and watch without looking up lots of words. While BBTT doesn’t have the option to look up the words, much of the material is comparatively easy to understand. So, you’re able to watch or listen to longer content.
BBTT isn’t the best for active listening practice or even really adding new words to your vocabulary. However, if you’re at an intermediate level and just want to sit back and watch or listen to longer content that you can mostly understand, BBTT is pretty great.
If you’re looking for a free alternative to FluentU, Yabla or Chinesepod, 宝贝听听 is worth trying out. I still think those paid services are much better for active listening and 宝贝听听 can’t do everything those can. But, if you want extra material for passive listening practice, check out 宝贝听听. The best part is that it’s completely free.
Also, if you have a Chinese girlfriend like me, she’ll laugh every time she sees the app on your phone.