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VOA Launches New Internet-Based English Lessons For China

Now available for Mandarin speakers, soon for Persian

Washington, D.C., November 25, 2009 –, a new, interactive Voice of America (VOA) Internet site, is available for Mandarin speakers learning colloquial American English. The site will soon be available for Persian speakers.

The site is designed around 24 modules that represent a variety of everyday cultural situations. Each module has three lessons—beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Topics include "College Schedules," "Retail Shopping," "Apartment Hunting," "Greeting Friends," and "Going on a Hike."

In each lesson, students use a headset and microphone to converse with avatars about everyday situations in the United States. Each lesson has phrases and sentences along with short exams.

The program bars students from progressing until their pronunciation and answers are correct. As students move from beginner to advanced, they hear more English and less of their own language.

Users can register their ID and password on and take advantage of the site's English lessons as well as blogs, forums, groups, and RSS feeds.

"Today's technology gives our audiences worldwide the tools to learn our language in an entertaining way, using a variety of American accents and situations," said Rebecca McMenamin, director of New Media. "We wanted to give our audience a truly interactive experience when they learn colloquial American English."

Initial promotion for began in early November in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China with advertisements in Facebook. VOA Mandarin will give away T-shirts, posters, and handbills with two-gigabyte flash drives in on-air promotions and also send these items to U.S. Embassies.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 125 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages and are intended exclusively for audiences outside of the United States.

For more information, call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail