Spotifying Your Language Learning

Apple Music. Google Music. Spotify. Who really knows what’s going on in the tech-music industry these days, but for me, Spotify just launched a new feature that is a huge plus for language learners out there. It’s called “Musical Map: Cities of the World” and let’s take a look at how it works!

One nice thing about Spotify is that it has been in Taiwan since 2013, and has since then amassed a pretty decent collection of music, which is great news if you’re interested in listening to Chinese music.

There’s a few “Sound of [City Name]” playlists available for Taiwan, including Taipei, Hsinchu and Kaohsiung:

There’s a few differences in the collections but overall there is a pretty decent selection available, as you can see from that picture above. A lot of it depends on what the listeners int hat particular city/area like to listen to, so you can get some interesting regional varieties from the playlists.

I’ve never paid for a subscription, but this kind of thing would definitely make me consider it.

Of course there’s a ton of other countries that you can listen to, so go out and explore the world!

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!

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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.

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!

Quick Vocab: App Updates

Just a quick little post about some app related Chinese!

photo

修正iOS 5相容性問題:

Corrected iOS5 compatibility issues.

修正(xiū​zhèng​): to revise / to amend / fix

相容 (xiāng​róng​xìng): compatibility

Made up of:
相容 (xiāng​róng): compatible
性 (xìng): -ity

問題 (wèn​tí​): problem / issue

修正部分已知bug:

Fixed some known bugs.

修正(xiū​zhèng​): to revise / to amend / fix

部分 (bù​fen​): part
已知 (yǐ​zhī​): known

部分已知bug is a pretty set phrase when talking about fixing known bugs, you can find a lot of results with a quick Google search.