Chinese Learning Apps for Android Roundup

This post is a follow-up to the New Chinese Learning App Roundup post, but this time we’ll be focusing on apps for Android!

While messing around on my Android phone, I went through and grabbed what seemed like the most useful apps from the Google Play store for Chinese study. Check out the list of apps after the jump!

Continue Reading

Logo_integral_sansslogan1

Ninchanese – a new comer to the online Chinese language learning arena

I had been following the progress of Ninchanese for a little while. I joined the beta program a while ago, and it was a few months ago that I received news that the beta was ready. I’ve gone in and played around a bit, and thought it might be worth taking a look at and giving a brief introduction into this new Chinese language learning resource!

Ninchanese’s Goal? Learning Chinese Should Be Fun

Ninchanese focuses on the idea that learning Chinese should be a fun experience. And to reach that goal, they’ve created this adorable little world with characters and stories that guide the learner through Chinese. It has a trailer video, which outlines a bit of this story:

A Little Background

I had the chance to talk to one of the founders not too long ago to get an idea of what their backgrounds were, what inspired them to work on Ninchanese and more. Here’s what they had to say:

We’re a small 3 person team passionate about Chinese. My partner and I started imagining Ninchanese because we couldn’t find the resources we wanted to keep learning Chinese. So we decided we’d create our own Chinese learning app. It’s been quite an exciting adventure since our first mockups on paper, and it gave us the chance to work with some pretty great people, ones who joined the team. We’re proud to have reached a stage where we can invite other learners in. It makes us really happy to see learners use Ninchanese, progress and send us extremely positive feedback on it (and great suggestions!). The more we work on Ninchanese, the more we realize what else it needs to be a strong, entertaining system with which to learn Chinese and that’s why we decided Kickstarter was a good place for Ninchanese!

I was surprised to find out that it’s only a three person team behind all of Ninchanese. It’s pretty impressive considering what they’ve managed to build up in the past couple years, and their passion for Chinese does show through in their efforts.

The App Itself

Now with that introduction all set, let’s take a look at the app itself, keeping in mind that it’s still in beta stages and could change.

The interface is sleek and modern, and upon login, the user sees a dashboard that provides a plethora of detail about their current progress and where to go next:

Ninchanese1

Also listed on the dashboard are the different lessons that, as you progress, unlock one by one:

Ninchanese2

The lesson organization itself is pretty well done, and goes in an order that makes sense to a new Chinese learner. One nice thing too is the grammar lessons are spread out pretty evenly, and there is a focus on dialogs and situations than just grammar points. There is a story line that is interwoven throughout the lessons, and is displayed in a instant messaging style format:

Ninchanese3

The “training” is also not lacking. There’s quizzes where you input the Pinyin, the English and character training. These are called ‘time attack” trainings, and you can see how well you do in a given amount of time. There’s also audio for each and every character and phrase you’re working on. One of my favorite trainings, though, is the drag and drop sentence structuring training. I think this is a fantastic way to learn the sentence structure and get immediate feedback:

Ninchanese4

It’s also nice, being a modern web app, that you can sign in and learn from pretty much any device–including tablets. Not being restricted to a single platform does make a world of difference if the the itch to study and keep progressing with the story crops up when you least expect it.

Gameification is also a big part of Ninchanese, and using the app is encouraged through fun badges you can earn:

gameification

You’re also given stats to see your progress, including how many points to the next level, skill progression, and scores:

stats

There’s a huge social aspect as well, where you can add friends and challenge them, as well as share progress through Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Final Thoughts

Overall, it’s a modern, colorful and fun way to learn Chinese. There’s friendly competitions you can have against other students, and so far it seems like there’s more than enough content to get yourself started learning Chinese. I would even argue this can actually be a great learning tool for kids.

That being said, it’s definitely very cute, and at times very kiddish, so more serious learners may be slightly put off but the cartoony story and characters. Still, I can definitely see these elements really pulling in people as they immerse themselves in the world, and for that it is very effective.

The beta is still invite only, but if you’re interested you can head here and sign up.

They also have a Kickstarter campaign going, as it turns out, which you can check out here.

Guest Post: Do I learn Mandarin Chinese or is it best I try Cantonese?

Below is a guest post from Learn Mandarin Now, which tackles the question: should one learn Mandarin Chinese or Cantonese? This is especially interesting for me as I’ve been taking some steps into Cantonese recently myself.

Have a read and leave your comments below!


With so many people planning to learn Chinese these days, an early decision needs to be made whether to learn Mandarin Chinese or Cantonese. That’s where we come in as we at Learn Mandarin Now always try to help you in studying Chinese via our various articles, informative advice and tips.

But, before we begin, at this point, we’d like to thank Greg for his contribution to our recent Infographic: How to learn Chinese: read the views of over 50 experts where you can check out Greg’s and other 50+ experts suggestions on their preferred ways to learn Chinese.

Right, so, prior to making your choice, let’s look at some of the things to consider and which may affect your decision to learn Mandarin Chinese or Cantonese:

Diversity of the Chinese Language

The home to almost one quarter of the world’s population, and with the majority of people speaking Mandarin Chinese, China is a vast country. However, given the diversity of people and the expansive geography, naturally there are a huge range of regional variations, dialects and accents—whilst, in some ways, similar to the UK or Australia where local variations in word usage or of slang is common, the sheer scale of China means the differences are more pronounced. For example, in an extreme case, some people in the southern areas such as Guangzhou might have difficulty understanding people from the northern areas around like Harbin because of the local terms and accents, even though they all speak Mandarin.

This issue was more apparent in the past but, as most of the younger generation learn the correct way to speak Mandarin at school, communications are now much easier.

Well known regional variations of Chinese

Whilst most people in Mainland China and Taiwan speak Mandarin, one of most well known alternatives is Cantonese. Cantonese is spoken by some 80-100 million people in Hong Kong, Macau, the Guangzhou (Canton) and Guangxi provincial areas; it is also widely spoken throughout most of the overseas Chinese communities in Australia, Europe, North America and other parts of the world.

To learn Mandarin or Cantonese?

At the end of the day, the choice is yours, and depends primarily on your motivations and purposes to learn such new language.

If you have been offered a job in or are planning to relocate to Hong Kong, Macau or the Guangzhou area then maybe consider Cantonese; on the other hand, some people simply enjoy watching Hong Kong movies, and wish to learn the language to better understand what’s really going on—especially as sometimes some of the local nuances can be lost in translation to Mandarin or English.

Alternatively, if you want to work in Taiwan or Mainland China (especially the northern part), then learning Mandarin may be a better choice. In fact, on balance, new students will start to learn Mandarin first. Some reasons for this are that it is spoken by the greater share of the population in China, thereby offering more job opportunities once you have mastered the language; plus, there are generally more courses and learning materials available for Mandarin.

So, have a careful think before you decide… but, in any event, keep reading our blog posts at Learn Mandarin Now for more sound information and advice—as we said, we’re here to help!

Prepare to battle!

I always much preferred the battle system in Chrono Trigger over Final Fantasy, especially encountering enemies: being able to see the enemies first not only made for richer environments, but is also took away much of the annoyance of random battles.

That said, battles do happen and when you get into one, you need to know what to do! Let’s check out the menu options:

Battle Dialog:

逃跑成功 (táopǎo chénggōng) = Escaped!
不能逃跑 (bùnéng táopǎo) = Can’t escape!
[Character]站起來了 (zhànqǐlai le) = [Character] got back up!
目標 (mùbiāo) = target

Battle Commands:

戰鬥 (zhàndòu) = Attack
技能 (jìnéng) = Tech
連攜 (liánxié) = Combo
道具 (dàojù) = Item
逃跑 (táopǎo) = Escape
1人技 (yīrénjì) = Single Tech
2人技 (liǎngrénjì) = Dual Tech
3人技 (sānrénjì) = Triple Tech

Status Ailments:

poison2毒 (dú) = Poison

slow

緩速 (huǎnsù) = Slow

sleep睡眠 (shuìmián) = Sleep

chaos混亂 (hùnluàn) = Confuse

blind失明 (shīmíng) = Blind

lock遺忘 (yíwàng) = Lock

stop2時間停止 (shíjiān tíngzhǐ) = Stop

沉睡 (chénshuì) = Sap
完全遺忘 (wánquán yíwàng) = Omnilock
守封 (shǒufēng) = Curse
無法戰鬥 (wúfǎ zhàndòu) = KO

Status Enhancements

加速 (jiāsù) = Haste
護盾 (hùdùn) = Protect
護罩 (hùzhào) = Barrier
重生 (chóngshēng) = Reraise
狂戰士 (kuángzhànshì) = Berserk

SNES - Chrono Trigger - Status Ailment

The spoils of battle:

到手了! (dàoshǒu le) = Obtained!
技能點數 (jìnéng diǎnshù) = TP (Tech Points)
金錢 (jīnqián) = Money; G
[Character]的等級上升了! (de děngjí shàngshēng le) = [Character]‘s level increased!
[Character][tech name]學會了!(jiāng xuéhuì le) = [Character] learned [tech name]
獲得了[number]經驗值 (huòdé le jīngyàn zhí) = Earned [number] EXP.
獲得了[number]技能點數 (huòdé le jìnéng diǎnshù) = Earned [number] TP.
獲得了[number]G (huòdé le G) = Found [number] G.
獲得了[item] (huòdé le) = Obtained [item]
[Character]的等級上升了! (de děngjí shàngshēng le) = [Character]‘s level increased!
[Character]學會了[tech name]! (xuéhuì le) = [Character] learned [tech name]!
[Character]學會了2人技 [tech name]! (xuéhuì le liǎngrénjì) = [Character] learned [tech name] dual tech!
[Character]學會了3人技 [tech name]! (xuéhuì le sānrénjì) = [Character] learned [tech name] triple tech!

This should get you safely any battle in the game!

SwiftKey for Android Now Supports Chinese!

Every so often I switch the default keyboard just to check out the third party ones. I don’t use them often, but I was happy to see that SwiftKey (one of the first third party keyboards I downloaded) finally supports Chinese input. And, perhaps just in time for Chinese New Year, they’ve also introduced a special theme just for the holiday.

After getting the app, you’ll need to go in and Add Languages. The Chinese input methods are listed by their Chinese names, so you’ll need to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the list to add them.

Screenshot_2015-01-29-17-20-49

The update brings the following support:

Simplified Chinese

  • QWERTY Pinyin input method
  • 12-Key Pinyin input method
  • Stroke input method

Taiwan Traditional Chinese

  • Full Key Zhuyin (Bopomofo) input method
  • 12-Key Zhuyin (Bopomofo) input method
  • Stroke input method

Hong Kong Traditional Chinese

  • Cangjie input method
  • Quick Cangjie input method
  • Stroke input method

I’m still on the fence with third party keyboards, but I think it’s nice to finally see Chinese language support rolling out to them. The typing experience isn’t bad, either, and the predictive text was fairly accurate, too:

Screenshot_2015-01-29-17-22-37

Although it would be nice to see a Pinyin input method for Traditional Chinese, hopefully a future update will bring that along!

You can find SwiftKey on the Google Play store here. If you happen to check it out, let me know what you think of it in the comments below!

ctworldmap1000ad

Head Out Into the World – World Map Locations

ctworldmap1000ad

 

This post is a (fairly) exhaustive list of the locations in Chrono Trigger and some notes on their names and translations. I tried to catch as much as I could and give some insight into where the names came from, since some of them are different from the English version!

Head below the jump to see the list!

Continue Reading

Introducing Project Chrono

Coming Soon

Chrono Trigger: perhaps one of my (if not the) all-time favorite RPGs.

Then, a beautiful thing happened one day: SquareEnix released an iOS and an Android version of Chrono Trigger. But, not only that, it included a complete Chinese translation–both in Simplified and Traditional Chinese.

This was simply amazing.

So I decided in a series of posts I will be sharing some fun tidbits from the game and hopefully build up a useless amazing RPG vocabulary set in Chinese! So keep an eye out for those, and feel free to let me know if there’s anything specific you’d like to know from the game!