Pinyin Practice

Mandarin Pronunciation Exercises and Learning Components

Archive for the ‘Characters’

iPhone Apps for Chinese

September 26, 2009 By: Pei Category: Characters, Learning Chinese, listening 8 Comments →

I don’t actually have an iPhone. Guess I am not quite that cool. I do have an iPod Touch though, so I must be kind of kù. And so with all of my coolness, I sometimes keep watch for apps that would help me or students or faculty. I’m a helpful person. Here are some apps I recently learned about that might help you:

  • iCED Chinese/English Dictionary $29.99 – Quickly find words you hear or know how to pronounce. Kind of puts my crusty old paper dictionary to shame.
  • eStroke Animated Characters $4.99 – A great way to see character production. If you struggle or are anal about that kind of thing. But also has really nice reference dictionary built in.
  • Chinese Flashcards II $4.99 – Produced by Audio mode looks interesting. Contains 1000 words from HSK 1 List.

I’d like to see a Chinese menu app. I’ve always struggled when it comes to reading Chinese menus. There is so much variety. It could list the dish name with all the typical or optional ingredients. And maybe when you shake the phone it randomly provides a decent selection of food for how many friends are eating together. Anyone else have a good app idea? Or has anyone already developed my Chinese Menu app?

3 Greate Ways to Create Flashcards

September 15, 2009 By: Pei Category: Characters, Learning Chinese, Reviews, website 2 Comments →

Flashcards are a staple for language learners. Carrying a flip book or rubberbanded stack of index cards with characters on one side and pronunciation and definition on the other is a great just-in-time study tool. But let’s get a bit more with the times and look to the web for help with creation – and your next test will be róngyì times ten!

1. Ediscio – Feature rich flash card system largely focused on the Leitner system of grouping known and unknown cards into stacks to practice at different intervals. Registration is required. You can download cardboxes and print if you want. Plenty of other features too, including graphical progress charts and graphs.

2. Ting – A flash application. I like flash.  All based off of PCR texts, but the database is downloadable and therefore customizable. Audio downloads are part of the system. Nice.

3. Vocab Chinese – A java application. Nice features including sentence level practice with audio files. Not really a flashcard application creation tool except that you can add your own items if you follow the procedure for doing so. Based on Integrated Chinese text series.

I didn’t look too hard for these. Anyone else have favorites?

Spell-checking for Chinese, Anyone?

August 15, 2009 By: Pei Category: Characters, Learning Chinese 5 Comments →

On the drive home today we were chatting about rules for turning in assignments. My wife, a French teacher, said one of her new rules is that she will not grade anything which has not been spell-checked. Decent rule for French. And I explained how students were always turning in papers with cuò zì (incorrect characters). Are there good checkers for cuò zì? And if so, are they still called spell-checkers?

Practice Pronunciation and Writing with VoiceThread

August 01, 2009 By: Pei Category: Characters, Learning Chinese, Pronunciation 1 Comment → offers a unique service for presentation and interaction with material and those interested in the material. Sign up on voicethread to participate in this activity (there is a free basic level).

Once you are signed up, come back here and record yourself reading the slides. Or if you are at a more advanced level, try recording a sentence with each word. Or if you want to practice writing, try writing the characters with the annotation tool. If you want your annotations to stick (fading is the default), click the center white circle before making your annotation on the image. Nifty, no?

I’ve provided a model for you to follow for this first one. Record your own reading and I will give you some feedback.