Sunday, July 09, 2006

Chinese Language Website

China sets up website to help foreigners learn the language
BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese is notoriously one of the world's most difficult languages, but Beijing authorities are now trying to make it a little easier with a special website for foreign learners, state media has said.

Sponsored by the National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, was launched over the weekend, offering online training, volunteer help and search services, Xinhua news agency reported.

"The website features multimedia technologies including online interactive courses, virtual communities, blogs and podcasts," said Zheng Zhongxiu, leader of the team who prepared the website.

The website so far is in Chinese and English only, but authorities are preparing additional versions in Korean and Japanese, according to Xinhua.

Interest in learning Chinese, especially the main national standard known as Mandarin, is exploding, presumably aided by the rapidly growing economic importance of China.

Statistics from China's Ministry of Education show more than 30 million people worldwide are learning Chinese, and more than 2,500 universities in 100 countries and regions offer Chinese courses.

China has also established a network of so-called Confucius Institutes around the world to facilitate understanding of Chinese language and culture.


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