From the Education Is Propaganda department

Linese.com is a new website brought to you by the Chinese government and designed to promote the half-lion, half-Mandarin hybrid currently being bred for its skills in magic.

No, apparently it is designed to teach Chinese to us foreigners and also facilitate communication online, etc. I would like to tell you more about it, but its interface is sluggish and buggy and, perhaps because of the Yahoo! story, I can't get any of the links to work... except, curiously, a photo-rich blog written by Francis TCHIEGUE from Cameroon ("我总体想喊这一句话,五个字: 我爱你中国!").

(Later) Aha! A lesson about Yao Ming and "就要...了" has loaded... it allegedly has an audio component, but I can't find how to make the mp3 play, or even where it might be located so that I could download it and play it myself. I think this site could do with some fine-tuning. Still, I guess I got the general idea about 就要...了 from the PDF download. Which reassuringly maintains the grand old language-learning material tradition of the older male authority-figure character who is kind of a jerk:

wáng xiăo yŭ : liú lăo shī , wŏ men qĭng yùn dòng yuán hē yĭn liào , hăo ma ?
WongXiaoyu: Professor Liu, why don't we buy the athletes a drink?

liú lăo shī : hăo 。 wŏ men zhŭn bèi yì xiē kuàng quán shuĭ ba 。
Professor Liu: Sure. Let us prepare for them some mineral water.

ān nī : xiăo yŭ , wŏ men kuài qù măi ba 。
Annie: Xiaoyu, Hurry and let's go buy the water.

liú lăo shī : wŏ zài zhèr děng nĭ men 。
Professor Liu: I'll wait for you here.

"Let us prepare" indeed. Slacker.

Popularity factor: 6

Mark S.:

Their Pinyin is no better than their English -- not that that's a surprise.



Heh. I visited the Tsinghua Ziguang offices a few months ago while they were preparing this. The crowning jewel is supposed to be an online classroom component, where teachers in China will conduct conversation classes with students located around the world. The deal with Hanban (the language office) apparently gives them access to CCTV language learning programs, so a bunch of the video and audio up there is stuff that you'd see if your cable service included the CCTV International channel. They do the annotations themselves, however.


Mark: can you elaborate? I know the syllable-by-syllable (as opposed to word-by-word) spacing thing is wrong, but anything else? In particular, does pinyin really get punctuated like that? .. Also, it's possible that I may have messed up some of the tone marks myself, since I had to convert them by hand (copy-and-pasting from the PDF made each marked vowel into two separate characters.)

zhwj: I shudder to think of a worldwide online classroom squeezed through what gaps can be found in all that gratuitous and ugly flash/javascript/table cruft. Which sucks, because I quite like the idea of the site. Well, OK, I just like the idea of getting stuff for free.

I wish I could point to Japan's NHK language program websites as an example of how to do things differently. The only problem is that they aren't, despite the fact that the material is available on standard-formatted books and CDs and should theoretically be easily transformable into useful web content... I guess the books and CDs must be one of their revenue streams.


Heh, their (wrong) way of writing pinyin looks familiar... I think they do it that way because it's easy to do by computer program, whereas writing pinyin properly may require some actual human thought.

The worst part of it, by far, is the name. LINESE?! Come on...


Damn these Internet tubes! Someone must be sending Senator Ted Stevens an Internet, because I have to wait in line to get to Linese. The "Auido Visual" feature on Yao Mong is cranking away in the other tab as I surf.


The suspense is killing me! Didn't Sen. Steven's internet get through and clear the pipes yet?!

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