Once again, we've somehow gone two months without a newsletter.... We've just sent out an email update for everyone on our list, but if you've missed that here is the abridged version of what has been happening here at Popup Towers:

1. Popup Cantonese Launches

Popup Cantonese went live a month and a half ago. We've since published around two lessons each week at our site for teaching the world how to learn Cantonese, and have more materials coming out each and every week. So if you haven't visited yet, be sure to stop by and check it out. We love Hong Kong and are working to make Popup Cantonese the easiest way to learn the world's hardest language.

In somewhat related news, for the past month we've quietly been giving free access to Popup Cantonese to all Popup Chinese subscribers. We're going to be continuing this unofficial 2-for-1 promotion for the next month as we build up our lesson archive and get to the point where we have a decent chunk of dialogue-based lessons. So if you like Hong Kong and are learning mandarin too, this is a great opportunity to 一石两鸟 or 一举两得. [http://popupchinese.com/account]

2. Popup Platform Upgrades

As part of our push to launch Cantonese, we overhauled our PDF and test systems. If you've downloaded our PDFs from the latest lessons you may have noticed support for new fonts, an improved color scheme, and support for direct copy-and-pasting from the PDFs. We also have some new question types for the new HSK. Everything should work perfectly, but if you run into any problems please let us know.

3. Insider HSK Gossip

As a bystander in the Chinese education field, one of the more surreal things we've witnessed over the past few years has been the Chinese government actually fighting itself over which agency has the authority to offer HSK testing to non-native speakers. At stake in the dispute is considerable government funding as well as control over certification revenues from test-takers. In the last half-year, this conflict hit its nadir as the private squabbling actually degenerated into a lawsuit between Hanban and BLCU.

It looks now as if this conflict has been bureaucratically resolved, and that HSK testing within China will shift to the Hanban-developed new HSK exam starting this spring. In an effort to provide the most up-to-date HSK preparation materials, we switched our support to the new HSK in December and added support for several new question formats found on the new test (the older materials will continue to be available). That said, because of concern over the lack of difficulty of the new exam, we are planning to launch our own test for more advanced speakers. And we are looking for a good name. So if you have any suggestions, let us know at newtest@popupchinese.com.

And that is it for this month. As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please write us anytime. And our thanks again to everyone who has taken the plunge and joined Popup Chinese as a paid subscriber. We are focused on trying to make learning Chinese more effective and affordable than ever -- you guys are helping us get there and we appreciate the support.

All our best,

--The Popup Team
Mark Lesson Studied