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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 May 24, 2013 04:51 PM

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