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May 24, 2013

Welcome to Bo Tan!

The best way to get to know today's China, short of spending time there oneself, is to listen in on the conversations that are catching the attention of Chinese internet users. Some of these get reported in the international media, but the coverage is limited and often tells us more about journalists' views than those of Chinese netizens.

The language, needless to say, can pose a bit of a barrier. Web-based translation and dictionary tools, while certainly useful, can only go so far in making a text come alive for the non-native reader. In order to get the extensive reading practice needed to improve language skills and get to know another culture, students need tools to help make authentic materials more accessible and fun to read.

This blog is intended to provide students of Chinese language and cultures with an opportunity to develop their reading and listening comprehension skills while getting to know modern China by sampling a wide variety of brief and accessible news items, blog posts, videos, and opinion pieces that have generated interest and debate on the Chinese blogosphere.

Clicking on the Audiotext Reader link provided below each blog entry will open a Java applet that allows you to both read and listen to Chinese texts one word, phrase, or sentence at a time. You can click on unfamiliar characters to see their meanings and pronunciations, and you can drill down further to access lists of related words and characters. And you can listen to an audio recording of any portion of the text as many times as needed to become comfortable with it through your ears as well as your eyes.

Once you've made your way through a piece, feel free to join the conversation yourself using the comment option provided. Enjoy!

Thanks go to Frank Dai, Anna Ma, and Laura Dong for their generous contributions of audio recordings to the blog.

Posted by dporter at 04:51 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2013

China, on the Tip of the Tongue

The popular seven-part Chinese television documentary “China on the Tip of the Tongue” presents an enticing panorama of China's culinary traditions. This commentary on the series is adapted from a blog post by Peking University Professor Zhang Yiwu.

Audiotext Reader | Source Webpage

Posted by dporter at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2013

Chinese Dream, American Dream

The fabled American Dream is no longer the only great nationalist story of personal aspiration in town. This blog post by Gong Fang Bin reflects on the future of the Chinese Dream in the wake of a discussion about national ideals between China and US leaders.

Audiotext Reader | Source Webpage

Posted by dporter at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2013

The Plight of Rural Students

While the education system in China is meant to be meritocratic, in practice, students from poor rural areas face significant hurdles to their educational success.

Audiotext Reader | Source Webpage

Posted by dporter at 05:13 PM | Comments (0)

Comedy in Exile

What makes Chinese immigrants laugh? Ask stand-up comedian Cui Baoyin (stage name “Beimei Cuige”), a Beijing native living in Seattle whose comedy routines have proven popular both with Chinese communities in the US and web video audiences back in China. In this short act for a women's gathering, he offers a modern Chinese take on the battle of the sexes and has some fun at the expense of inexperienced translators as well.

Audiotext Reader | Source Webpage

Posted by dporter at 10:48 PM | Comments (0)