Beijing authorities are now trying to make it a little easier with a special website for foreign learners, state media has said. There is a word that Linese.com is sponsored by the National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, and stands out as the first official website of China to help foreigners learn the Chinese language and experience Chinese culture. However, according to one guy working at Linese.com, it's actually a "private company", even though the website held a magnificent press conference in the Great Hall of the People on its launch day of July 8th, as well as got highly exposed in various news articles including on Yahoo. How did a language learning and teaching site end up getting such a high-profile promotion? You see, it's as easily recognized as a flea on the top of a bald head: Linese.com must have received generous support from the authorities, and you can call it a private venture wearing an official veil, visibly or invisibly, which is one of the successful time-tested business models in China, especially in the capital city of Beijing.
Well, I've gone a little far. Now, let's get back to what the site offers. Linese.com uses multimedia technologies to teach and learn Chinese, featuring audio-visual presentations, online interactive courses, virtual communities, blogs and podcasts. It also includes a bilingual news section, revealing China's social development as well as local Chinese landscapes and customs. All is free now.
But it seems that Linese.com suffers a lot from its fancy technologies, such as some dead links, occasional or frequent failed registration, slow wma files downloads … And what's more, quite a few visitors complain about its poor information design: as a fresh beginner, you might not know where to start and how to use this site, with so many options but no exploring tips and suggestions available.
In spite of all the above, I have a hunch that Linese.com would grow bigger in the near future. It's supposed so, doesn't it? Anyway, go and see yourself what Linese.com is really like.
From other sites:
学会中文blog - by Allison 莲丽
CNET Asia Blogs