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reallych1932

Iphone/iPad Apps for Learning Chinese

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reallych1932

What do you think are the best /worst iphone apps for learning chinese?

Also looking for the best iphone equivilent of supermemo/mnemosyne..(compatibility a plus)

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crow610

I just downloaded the free version of DianHua which utilizes CEDICT however I only see this as an intermediate solution until Pleco releases and iPhone app.

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taijidan

There is a nice comic called Tai Shan Ba Ba 泰山爸爸. It's a bit like Chinese version of the Flintstones. First comic strip is free.

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SunDaYu

They have one really good dictionary that has made learning Chinese 10x easier for me. Although it's not as good as anything by Pleco, it's still really good.

It's called 中文 Chinesedict. It costs about 5 dollars, but it's completely worth it. I use only this dictionary throughout any normal day. It has a number of chengyu, phrases, famous person's names, etc. I highly recommend it.

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oriada2003

I use the iCED Lite dictionary, which costs arond $2. It's based on the CC-CEDICT, same as 99% of the other iphone dictionary apps out there, but is quicker and more functional than the several others I tried.

There's also a Pro version built on the ABC Dictionary (i.e. from Wenlin, Pleco, etc) but it costs like $25 so I haven't tried it.

For Flashcards, I use Mentalcase which has both iphone and desktop (Mac only) programs. It offers SRS, although not as customizable as, say, Supermemo. But the big BIG attraction is that syncing cards, progress etc. between the iphone app and the desktop program is a breeze. It's a one click process if your computer and iphone are on the same wifi network.

If you're adding cards and syncing regularly between the two platforms, then this is a godsend. The Anki app, by contrast, is much more geared towards learning Chinese/Japanese but I've found that getting cards on and off there is just too much hassle.

Another really useful tool for the iphone, albeit a very obvious one: Chinese language podcasts. There are plenty of good recommendations on the other threads on this forum, but nothing beats having regularly updated listening material on your phone that you can easily access when you're out and about.

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Gleaves

Just recently got an ipod touch, so I have a few thougths on apps.

I'm liking the dianhua dictionary mentioned above. You can bookmark your searches and then sync them to an online site. From there you export to csv. This is pretty handy should I want to make flashcards. I'll probably try some of the other dictionaries mentioned here, as well.

Stanza seems to make for a decent e-reader. You can upload pretty much upload any type of text document through their desktop software to the iphone/touch. I haven't used it much, but I plan to load up on short stories. maybe poems. It seems to handle Chinese text fine.

Comic Reader Mobi is expensive at $15, but I think it will be a very solid way to enjoy comics on the go. The idea behind this little app is that when you touch text bubbles, the app zooms in on just the text bubble. pretty cool. Try out the demo on their website. Finding hard copies of translated manga for purchase is pretty easy (yeasia.com amongst others). I plan to use this app to read fan translated western comics, like these. I've seen very little Chinese Marvel/DC/etc available for purchase (from the U.S.). If folks know of a source, please share.

CCTV has an app. Streams some clips and shows.

I'm also looking forward to a pleco app.

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Prodigal Son

Qingwen is the best chinese dictionary I've used (I tried them all, as of a few months ago). I use it every day to look up and save words into word lists. The only feature I'm really waiting for is the ability to flip through words in a word list in flash card fashion.

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HSC

Hi everyone. I was "talking" to Roddy some time back and he said I should mention iCED here. I see that oriada2003 has already referenced it (thanks!), but I though I'd just give some more details.

While some of you might be looking for an inexpensive option, in the range of free to $4.99, I know that there are some very serious students of Chinese that visit these forums. I am the developer of iCED and chose the ABC Comprehensive Dictionary for the Pro edition because it was one I had used for years and found it to be very good. It is currently selling for $29.99 which might seem expensive to some of you but is still well under the retail cost of the dictionary. The list price of the dictionary is US $67 and amazon.com currently has it for $47.

For some comparison, Wenlin bundles the ABC Comprehensive with their character dictionary and audio for US $199. PlecoDict sells the same dictionary for US $60.

As iCED has been a work in progress, I decided to keep the cost down for the moment. However, version 2.0 will be release in the near future. As the software is maturing and I feel that customers are getting a better and better product, the cost of the dictionaries will be increased closer to the market value. So, if you have been thinking of purchasing, I advise you to do so before version 2.0, as the upgrade for existing customers will be free.

Here is a glimpse of what's to come. Not all features may make it to version 2.0, but iCED is a constant work in progress. The idea is to get features out incrementally to customers so that they have a tool to help with their studies for the "now" and have a product that will server for years to come, one that keeps getting better.

INTERFACE

The entire search interface is being redesigned. There are currently 3 tabs for searching, Chinese, English and Radicals. These will be combined into one Search tab. The search interface will start off with the entries at the beginning of the dictionary. This will simulate having the entire list of entries in front of you. As you type a search term, the list will scroll to the word you have typed or the nearest word, in case you've made a typo. You can then scroll the list to see words that come before or after. This allows you to browse the list when you don't have the right spelling or if you are just curious to see similar or adjacent entries.

You will be able to change the "index" used to search. Index here will include hanzi, pinyin and English. Zhuyin support may be added later. As you change the index, the scrollable list will change to suit and the search will be performed again with the current search term. You can also flip between traditional and simplified.

Pinyin is always sorted using the ABC method. This makes it easier to find words when browsing. Consider a partial listing:

Bà 灞

¹bābā 叭叭

²bābā 粑粑

³bābā 吧吧

⁴bābā 巴巴

bǎba 㞎㞎

bàba* 爸爸

Bābāduōsī 巴巴多斯

bābǎi* 八百

Right away you can tell that there are six "baba" entries. This would not be so easy to discern with a regular sort method as it would look more like this:

¹bābā 叭叭

²bābā 粑粑

³bābā 吧吧

⁴bābā 巴巴

Bābāduōsī 巴巴多斯

bābǎi* 八百

bǎba 㞎㞎

Bà 灞

bàba* 爸爸

COMPONENT BREAKDOWN

Besides being able to identify the radical of a character, you'll be able to able to break the character down into all its parts. You'll then be able to search for other characters that have a particular part, or get more into on it if it's a character in its own right or a radical.

MULTIPLE DICTIONARIES

While the ABC dictionary is very good, the CC-CEDICT dictionary has its place as well. For example, it has many names of actors, actresses, presidents and places that most other dictionaries do not have. For this reason, version 2 will support multiple dictionaries. Another feature, one that not make it until 2.1 or 2.2, will be the ability to download StarDict dictionaries. This will allow a vast array of additional dictionaries. This will be available for the Lite edition as well. It may not be available for the Free edition.

The Unihan dictionary will also be included which will provide details on individual characters, such as radical and stroke information, zhuyin, as well as alternative pronunciations such as Cantonese.

Other commercial dictionaries will also be available as an optional in-app purchase. This list will most likely start with dictionaries from the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press such as A New Century Chinese-English Dictionary(新世纪汉英大词典)or The Contemporary Chinese Dictionary (Chinese-English Edition) (現代漢語詞典)... It all depends on the licensing deals that I can get.

FLASH CARDS

Yes, yes. Everybody wants flash cards and this will be debuting soon. It will be able to use your personalized word lists as well as pull entries at random from any of the installed dictionaries. So, in the mean time, you can start putting together your word lists in preparation for the flash cards :clap

AUDIO

I've spoken to Roddy about including audio files that he had from a previous project. :mrgreen: While this does not include multi-character words, it could still be very helpful for beginners. It will also be provided at no additional cost. Additional licensed audio will be provided as an in-app purchase.

While the intention is to bring even more features, this is what's currently being baked up. For more information please visit the website or iTunes:

Website: http://www.murage.ca/products/iced

iTunes App Store link

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in_lab

That's a cheap price for the ABC dictionary. If you don't mind me asking, where does the component breakdown data come from?

This is the first time I have been interested in getting an ipod touch. I'm tired of the palm pda, where when the power runs out you have to reload your programs.

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HSC

Hi in_lab. Several years back I had a website with information related to Chinese information, book and tools for learning Chinese, etc. Back then I did a lot of scouring the web and a lot of manual classification of Chinese characters by radicals before I even knew about Unihan. I used two separate radical tables for simplified vs. traditional because many characters in simplified dictionaries were classified under different radicals than the same character in a traditional dictionary.

Anyway, not to get off topic, I had also come across a parts database but I have no idea where that was or if the FTP site even exists anymore. I have yet to get all the data together and use it with the Chinese dictionaries to see how well it will be able to break the characters down into all their components, that is, if its complete enough to do so. If it's not, then the "feature" may only be able to fully break down a subset of characters and I will have to get the data from a licensed source which would be a pay add-on to enhance the results.

I remember my days of using the Palm and having to constantly restore the entire OS, programs, etc from a backup. What I love about Apple design, in particular the MacBooks is that I can run my Mac 'till there's no more power to keep it going, then it'll go to sleep. I can leave it unplugged overnight and then plug it back in the morning and it'll come right back up from sleep (Windows standby). If it gets to the point that it can't stay in sleep mode, it goes into deep sleep (Windows hibernate); it knows to keep enough power to do this. Or, if I yank the battery out, it will also trigger hibernate. When I finally get around to plugging it back it, it'll come out of hibernation and bring me right back to where I left off. It's great! You never lose your work unless the battery is faulty. As for the iPhone or iPod touch, same. You won't ever have to reload your data because you ran out of power. Flash memory, baby... or as they say in Mandarin, baobei! :mrgreen:

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sunkaitexas

Hi Guys,

Roddy said I should post in here re: iPhone apps.

So...

I'm the developer of the Panda flashcards apps for the iPhone. Right now there is a free version available, Panda Chinese Radical Flashcards, which you can download and check out. It contains two wordlists-- Radicals and Measure Words-- but it's helpful for those trying to get past "個“ or looking to increase their character knowledge. It also gives you a feel for how flashcards work in the main app. The paid app, Panda Chinese Flashcards, is much more feature intensive and includes over 8000 words, numerous wordists, the ability to create your own wordlists/hotlists, as well as all four levels of the HSK. Both simplified and traditional characters are supported.

So, if you're interested give it a try and if there's anything your unsatisfied with please let me know. I want this to be the best flashcard app there is so if anyone has any suggestions on improvements I will do my best to make it happen.

Panda Radical Chinese Flashcards can be downloaded for free in the app store

http://tiny.cc/cXl4m

Panda Chinese Flashcards is located here:

http://tiny.cc/OWPYT

Thanks and best of luck with your studies!

孫凱

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flippant

Just bought the iCED PRO dictionary now. I've always preferred the ABC dictionary to Cedict, but I can't carry my laptop around with abandon, either.

However, one thing I would love to have (as an intermediate student of Chinese) is common grammatical patterns included in the search results.

It would obviously need to be separate from direct word hits, but a separate tab or somesuch labeled f.i "grammatical matches", including a typical "X.(v)..Y" setup and perhaps even a few usage examples would make this great for learners. I know a few electronic dictionaries here in China have at least a few entries of this sort that, as does the ABC dictionary. However, they are mostly hidden under truckloads of definitions, etc.

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SunDaYu

I just bought the iCED Pro dictionary and I am very pleased with it. The major downfall of the dictionary I suggested earlier is that it didn't include the grammar or example sentences. I still find myself using the wrong word because I didn't thoroughly learn the grammar of the words I was looking up.

I'm glad that it also has a lot of support and there will eventually be a flashcard function. Sample grammar patterns and more example sentences would be great too.

The 30 dollar price tag was a little steep, but it was completely worth it.

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DVD00

My friend showed my this app:

Xiao tian tian (小填填)

which comes in Traditional and simplified characters versions. Kind of a boggle with Chinese Characters. Tough, but fun to play. Seems that the developers put a lot of thought into it.

a buck ninety nine.

D

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Prodigal Son

It's great that mandarin language apps developers are starting to really get a foot hold in the app store. The iCED dictionary looks great but I don't see that it adds $25 of value to what I'm currently using. Flashcards and example sentences sound nice, though.

I download Panda Radicals, it's great. I'll use the free version for a few days and considering upgrading but the price is very cheap so I probably will.

:clap

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RuiXue

I have several dictionaries in my iPhone- the Chinese language support of iPhone was one of the main reasons I bought one:roll: But my favourite of all my dictionaries has to be the one with sound aswell. Just tap the word and a voice will say it in Chinese. It's from CHS systems. Other than that I like iCED free and Qingwen.

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SRSAdvocate

Hi,

iSRS is a Mnemosyne 1.x compatible spaced repetition app for the iPhone/iPod touch that just came out last month. Check it out:

iSRS

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=332352818&mt=8

iSRS Lite

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=332350042&mt=8

I'm not the developer, but I'm friends with him and I'm trying to help him get the word out.

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creamyhorror

I've been looking for a good Stardict-format-compatible dictionary reader for the iPhone. So far I've come across:

iStarDict (free, for jailbroken iPhones)

Touch Dict ($2) - popup-lookup, bookmarks

MultiDict ($2) - looks simple

Bamboo Dict ($5) - wildcard search, flexible display options, bookmarks

ZDic ($5)

WeDict Pro ($6) - tap-lookup, bookmarks

Dictionary Universal ($6) - fuzzy search, coloring, tap-lookup

ptsDict/Lite (discontinued due to alleged copyright infringement)

ColorDict Dictionary Universal (free, Android :( ) - nice presentation and result color-coding

After looking through them all, I've decided to go with Touch Dict because of its popup-lookup function. The low price doesn't hurt too. I'll update with my opinion after using it for a while.

Hope this list helps someone.

edit: Transferring dictionaries now, it requires the use of an app called Touch Finder that you download from their site.

edit2: Looks like you need to transfer the uncompressed dict files + indices (.dict and .idx).

Issues:

1) It doesn't seem possible to rearrange the order of dictionaries. [EDIT: correction, you can!]

2) Popup-lookup doesn't work properly for Chinese. It works very nicely for English and probably any other space-delimited languages. I doubt most other apps handle it any better, though.

Well, I'm satisfied for the 2 bucks I paid. It's quite a decent choice.

Edited by creamyhorror

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HSC
Just bought the iCED PRO dictionary now. I've always preferred the ABC dictionary to Cedict, but I can't carry my laptop around with abandon, either.

However, one thing I would love to have (as an intermediate student of Chinese) is common grammatical patterns included in the search results.

It would obviously need to be separate from direct word hits, but a separate tab or somesuch labeled f.i "grammatical matches", including a typical "X.(v)..Y" setup and perhaps even a few usage examples would make this great for learners. I know a few electronic dictionaries here in China have at least a few entries of this sort that, as does the ABC dictionary. However, they are mostly hidden under truckloads of definitions, etc.

flippant,

This is a good idea. I am the developer of iCED and will consider how I can integrate this into a future release. The new interface of version 2.0 (should be released within the next week or so) might be just suitable for this. It uses a separate index for each type of search, so you select an index based on how you want to search:

漢 (hanzi - automatically selected if you start typing Chinese characters)

拼 - pinyin

英 - English

法 - French (when French dictionaries are available, coming soon)

德 - German (when German dictionaries are available, coming soon)

Perhaps selecting 型 as in 句型 could switch to an index with constructs only and each construct will be indexed by its headword:

ānxīn 安心 ān ... xīn - harbor an intention

²bǎi fēn 百分 bǎi fēnzhī NUM - NUM percent

¹bàn* ∼ A bù B - neither A nor B

Is this the kind of feature that you would like?

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liuzhou

Is "app" some kind of word for people who are too tired, or busy or lazy to say application?

I haven't heard anything so ugly since chefs became too busy making television programmes to bother pronouncing 'preparation' and every thing became "prep",

Now that's off my mind I'm off to bed for a sle.

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