Two weeks ago, we published a list of websites that provide lesson plans and other resources for teaching on China. This week, we promised an equally solid list of links for Chinese language and literature resources. Chinese language learning has been increasing in the U.S. in recent years and websites that offer resources for Chinese language learning are also increasing, though American interest in Chinese does not yet match Chinese excitement for English-language learning.
1. Few websites have made Chinese-language learning as approachable (and palatable) as Chinesepod. Its “newbie” to “advanced” podcasts are available for free at its website or through iTunes (one must become a monthly subscriber to access transcripts, worksheets, flashcards and other content), and the active user community further enhances the learning experience for dedicated listeners. Chinesepod’s success points to the desire among language learners for up-to-date content that covers current events (though the program steers clear of controversial political topics), pop culture, and slang.
2. For those interested in Chinese literature (in translation) or who want to use bits of primary documents in teaching Chinese history, the Internet East Asian History Sourcebook provides hundreds of links to translations of historical documents from ancient to contemporary China, as well as maps and images. This site could have fit equally well in last week’s list, but because of its emphasis on literature, we decided to include it here.
3. Those learning Chinese in the US will also learn the pinyin Romanization system. Pinyin.info has a variety of references to help with pinyin learning, as well as their interesting blog (which has further references for those interested in learning more about the “Crazy English” program discussed in the recent New Yorker article—link to this above under “Chinese excitement for English-language learning”).
4. Zhongwen.com offers a variety of tools for language learning as well as a learner-friendly feature of a handful of classic Chinese literary sources which are cross-referenced with a dictionary (in other words, as you read, if you don’t recognize a character, you can click on it and the definition appears on the right side of the screen). The website also provides a space where you can paste in Chinese text and the website will provide the same cross-referencing.
5. John Pasden helps with the intermediate and advanced lessons at Chinesepod, as well as keeping his own website, Sinosplice, which offers a variety of language resources.
These are only a small selection of available Chinese language resources on the web. Please share your own recommendations and experiences in the comments section.