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


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.


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:


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!


Head Out Into the World – World Map Locations



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!

WaiChinese – A complete tone changer

I have to preface this by saying I am extremely impressed by WaiChinese. I have absolutely always wanted an app that was able to actually track your tones as you say them and it’s finally here! So please go and try it it out!

Now onto the full review!

It all comes down to tones

First and foremost this app is specifically focused on improving your tones and, by extension, your regular daily conversation. Phrases are recorded by native speakers, and I’ve had some recorded specifically for me to focus on particularly difficult tone combinations. The app provides live-as-you-record sound charts so that you can see how the tones are actually said, both yours and the ones the teacher records.

Below are two examples of how this looks in the app. The sound chart on the top is the teacher’s original recording, while the chart on the bottom is the student’s:


On this screen you can touch on the “translate” text at any time to see the English translation of the phrase you’re currently studying. In addition, you may notice a green book on the side with a grade on it:


If you click on the green book that has the grade on it, you’ll be taken to this screen:


Here, all of the recordings done by a student for a particular word, in this case 你好, will appear on this page. What this means is that a student see and hear how they’ve progressed over time for any word submitted on WaiChinese. The student can also see the teacher’s grade and comment. This provides a great way to focus on improvement for particularly difficult tones and tone combinations.

And in case anyone is curious, the app’s designer has also provided a little peak into the teacher’s view:


From here the teacher can see the list of students and is also able to grade them very quickly. This is where WaiChinese fits into a very unique niche: not only is it a great resource for students, but it also becomes an invaluable tool for teachers as well.

Originally I wanted to point out that this is an excellent app for Chinese language teachers to be used in the classroom or in 1-on-1 sessions. But I can also see this being really helpful for learners using Skype or even just language exchange partners. Certainly, at least, the “I have a teacher that will assist me” option makes it seem like this would be a great broad use case for this app.

My Personal Experience

I’ve been using WaiChinese for about a week now and I have to say it has made me much more conscious of my tones. I find myself thinking about them on a more regular basis than I normally would. Plus, the comments from the teacher as well as the visual representation of how my tones are being said, has been particularly good reinforcing how and where I need to improve.


So I am admittedly very impressed about how this app has made me be much more aware of the tones and how I’m actually saying them–compared to how I think I’m saying them. Especially because, after using this app, I noticed there is definitely a big discrepancy between what it actually sounds like versus what I think it sounds like.

Some Video Goodness

Below is a short demo video showing how the system works:

There is also another great demo video which you can find on Vimeo here.


Ultimately it’s the fact that this app is not limited to pre-configured flashcards, but rather any vocabulary word or phrase you want to learn that can be recorded is available to you.

But really it’s better if you try it out for yourself: So sign up today to beta test WaiChinese–it’s completely free! It’s available both for Android and iOS.


A little mouse in an email address

In my previous post on punctuation, I left out perhaps one of the most interesting, creative, and perhaps most relevant to the internet, symbols: the @ symbol!

When you ask people for their email address, they’ll often answer you with:


At first this completely threw me off–until I thought it out and realized how adorable it is. Yes, indeed, the @ symbol is referred to as 小老鼠 (xiǎolǎoshǔ), or little mouse, in Chinese.

And, really, when you think about it, doesn’t it kind of look like one?


The Art of Punctuation in Chinese

There is a certain art to Chinese punctuation, and as a graduate student, writing papers with proper pronunciation is exceedingly important.

「知漢字者智。知標點者明。」-Me, breaking traditional poetic structure.

A Little History of Chinese Punctuation

Chinese traditionally had no paragraphs, no spaces and, especially, no punctuation. It wasn’t until the late nineteenth and early twentieth century did punctuation start to appear in Chinese, eventually being standardized into what it is today. Because Chinese punctuation was influenced by Western languages, there is some carry over in punctuation. So you’ll see the ! ? : ; ( ) [ ] that you’re likely familiar with. Still, there are some fun ones specific to Chinese so let’s take a look below!

Chinese Punctuation

Period ( 。 )

The period in Chinese is called 句號/句号 (jùhào) and is in the middle of a line: 我很好。


Quotation Marks  ( 「…」 ,『…』, “…”)

Quotation marks in Chinese are called 引號/引号(yǐnhào) and are different in Simplified and Traditional Chinese. Here’s how they break down:

Traditional Chinese

In Traditional Chinese,  single quotation marks are rendered as「…」while double quotation marks are『…』. Often, the double quotation makrs are used when embedded within single quotation marks, such as :「…『…』…」.

Simplified Chinese

Simplified Chinese uses the quotation marks we’re familiar with: “…” and ‘…’. In contrast to Traditional Chinese, single quotation marks are used when embedded within double quotation marks: “…‘…’…”.


The “List Comma” ( 、 )

The “list comma” is often used in long lists, for example: 水果有很多種類:蘋果、香蕉、句子、芭樂、蓮霧、榴蓮、. It’s called 頓號/顿号 (dùnhào) in Chinese. It can be used in a list like 蘋果、三星及HTC” or  蘋果、三星、HTC (Apple, Samsung and HTC).


Middle Dot (‧)

The fancy name for this is “interpunct” but in Chinese it’s 間隔號/间隔号 (jiàngéhào), or quite simply “gap marker”.

The middle dot you’ll often seen between Western names, separating first and last name. For example Napoleon Bonaparte is rendered 拿破崙·波拿巴/拿破仑・波拿巴 (Nápòlún · Bōnábā) in Chinese, with the middle dot separating his first and last name.


Title Marks ( 《》and ﹏﹏﹏)

You’ll see the two types of title marks above.  Generally, for book and film titles you’ll see《…》, while〈…〉is used more for articles and can also be embedded within the title brackets above, such as: 《…〈…〉…》. Finally, the fun little wavy underline thing (﹏﹏﹏) can also be used in lieu of the brackets to denote titles and important names.

In Chinese, these are still referred to as “quotation marks”, 引號/引号(yǐnhào). However, if you want to get fancy,《…》are called 雙尖引號/双尖引号 (shuāngjiānyǐnhào), or double pointed quotation marks. While〈…〉are called 單尖引號/单尖引号 (dānjiānyǐnhào), or single pointed quotation marks.


The Elusive Ellipsis ( …… )

The ellipsis in Chinese has six dots instead of three, and the usage is the same as in English. In Chinese it’s called 省略號/省略号 (shěnglüèhào).


Tilde (wavy dash) ( ~ )

This has to be my favorite one to say in Chinese because it’s the “wave mark” or 波浪號/波浪号 (bōlànghào).

The wavy dash has a few different usages in Chinese. It can show a range such as 5~8小時, especially when some numbers are estimates. It can also used to soften the ending of a sentence, or to elongate a vowel sound.

Anyway there it is!

It’s pretty straightforward, and similar enough to punctuation in English that it should be easy to get a hang of. Still, the best way to get used to the usage is to see it in the wild. Some of the best places to look are blogs, novels, and even news.