Top Five language and literature sites:

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in teaching Chinese history, the Internet East Asian History Sourcebook provides hundreds of links to translations of historical documents from ancient to contemporary China, as well as maps and images.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.


傅泽西 said...

Hi, we are a Chinese community radio station based in London. We have a lot of programmes in Chinese, and are making more all the time. It's all for free, and we are a registered charity, so we are doing good work. We hope also to do some programmes specifically targeting learning Mandarin in the future. Please drop by and have a listen... I think you can't get us in China at the moment, but we are working on that...

傅泽西 said...

Oops! Forgot to write our URL: www.londonhuayu.co.uk ... enjoy!

Alan said...

Beijing sounds is a cool blog about how Chinese is spoken in Beijing, with soundclips to help you learn the true Beijing hua

Chinese Pera-Kun Dictionary. This will let you mouse-over Chinese text and see an English translation. (works with Firefox)

The China Beat said...

Thanks to both of you for these recommendations--all very solid. I was delighted to learn at Beijing Sounds that a police car goes "zrrr, zrrr," and also particularly enjoyed the discussion there about foreigners learning Chinese: http://www.bjshengr.com/bjs/?p=94#more-94

--Kate M-H

Anonymous said...

Here's another list of mainly online, mainly free Chinese learning resources