Dr. Karen Chung Shares Secrets of Language Learning and Challenges Taiwanese Students Face Learning English

Felicia Lin
4 min readFeb 16, 2023

Dr. Karen Chung shares her secrets of language learning and the challenges Taiwanese students face learning English.

She is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures of National Taiwan University. She talked about something called the echo method when she was previously interviewed for Talking Taiwan in 2012 and we’ve invited her back to give us an update.

In this interview she shared some additional tips on how to use the echo method and her thoughts on the challenges that Taiwanese students face in learning English. We also spoke about Taiwan’s Bilingual 2030 Plan.

[LISTEN to the Complete Episode HERE on APPLE PODCASTS or SPOTIFY]

Professor Chung has a TEDx talk with over 1.5 million views and an online Open Course Ware course in phonetics on the Taiwan University site which has received over 1.3 million views.

A lifelong learner herself, she talked about when she first started learning Chinese, and how to this day, she continues improving her Chinese.

This episode of Talking Taiwan has been sponsored by NATWA, the North America Taiwanese Women’s Association.

NATWA was founded in 1988, and its mission is:

  1. to evoke a sense of self-esteem and enhance women’s dignity,
  2. to oppose gender discrimination and promote gender equality,
  3. to fully develop women’s potential and encourage their participation in public affairs,
  4. to contribute to the advancement of human rights and democratic development in Taiwan,
  5. to reach out and work with women’s organizations worldwide to promote peace for all.

To learn more about NATWA visit their website: www.natwa.com

Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:

  • Where Professor Chung’s interest in language came from
  • How she started teaching German in the 11thgrade
  • How she got interested in learning Chinese
  • Her love of the Chinese language
  • Her resonance with Confucian values
  • What brought Professor Chung to Taiwan
  • How the Echo Method can be used to learn any language and can help to improve your native language
  • Where the Echo Method came from
  • What echoic memory is
  • How to use echoic memory to learn a language
  • Professor Chung’s tips for learning and practicing language
  • How listening and seeking feedback by reading the reactions of those you are speaking to can help you to improve your speaking abilities
  • Whether or not it is harder to learn a language the older people get
  • If it is necessary to be in an environment where you can be fully immersed in a language, in order to acquire a near native accent
  • How to most effectively use the echo method
  • Taiwan’s Bilingual 2030 Plan and increase English translation of signs, websites, government and banking documents
  • How the U.S.’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has increased the burden of paper reporting for banks
  • Karen’s Facebook page, Karen on Ivy League Analytical English
  • Her collaboration with her former student Melissa on creating an English teaching app
  • Karen’s interview on I’m Learning Mandarin podcast and morning routine
  • What she enjoys about reading classical Chinese works

Related Links:

Professor Karen Chung’s TEDx Talk

如何用「回音法」學好英文口說 | 史嘉琳 Karen Chung | TEDxNTUSThttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQEWEPIHLzQ

Professor Karen Chung’s Open Course Ware course in phonetics on theTaiwan University site which has received over 1.3 million views:英語語音學http://ocw.aca.ntu.edu.tw/ntu-ocw/index.php/ocw/cou/101S102

From Minnesota to Taiwan: What the Open School Opened up for me (by Karen Chung): https://centerforschoolchange.org/2021/12/from-minnesota-to-taiwan-what-the-open-school-opened-up-for-me/

Karen on Ivy League Analytical English (Facebook page): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100057367521626

Professor Karen Chung’s articles in Chinese mainly on English: https://homepage.ntu.edu.tw/~karchung/Karen/Karen_Chung_publications.htm#CET

Chinese Cultural Revolution: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_Revolution

Chiang Kai-shek: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiang_Kai-shek

Mao Zedong: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mao_Zedong

Echoic memory: https://www.webmd.com/brain/what-is-echoic-memory

Critical period hypothesis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_period_hypothesis


Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA): https://www.irs.gov/businesses/corporations/foreign-account-tax-compliance-act-fatca

How to Achieve a Near Native Chinese Accent with Professor Karen Chung (Podcast): https://imlearningmandarin.com/2022/06/26/how-to-achieve-a-near-native-chinese-accent-with-professor-karen-chung-podcast/

蜂蜜熊英文 English with Melissa (YouTube channel): https://www.youtube.com/c/MelissaHsiung

Zhou Dynasty: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhou_dynasty

Ep 217 Lost Episodes | Karen Chung on the Echo Method:


Erin Hale: On Taiwan’s Antiquated Banking System and Being an American Journalist Living in Asia (Episode 183): https://talkingtaiwan.com/erin-hale-on-taiwans-antiquated-banking-system-and-being-an-american-journalist-in-asia-ep-183/

LISTEN to Episode 219: Dr. Karen Chung Shares Secrets of Language Learning and Challenges Taiwanese Students Face Learning English HERE

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Felicia Lin

Felicia Lin is the producer and host of Talking Taiwan, the longest running Taiwan-related podcast, and Golden Crane Podcast Award Winner.