Try this free, daily podcast to improve your listening skills. Lessons come in Newbie, Elementary, Intermediate, Upper Intermediate, and Advanced, with titles such as “Abducted by Aliens” and “I See a Thief!.” Students of Chinese will appreciate the clear pronunciation and discussion of key terms in the easier levels. Serious sinophiles will like the discussions of such nebulous concepts as “giving rise to internal heat” 上火 and “booze ghosts (alcoholics)” 酒鬼. Oh, and “fake iPhones” 假冒 iPhone.
The supporting website is thoroughly web 2.0ish, with active discussion boards surrounding each lesson and a clean, uncluttered interface. Users can choose to pay for more services, from .pdf transcripts and lessons to daily phone calls. Most of us will simply choose the podcast, as there is plenty to be had for free.