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chinopinyin

Tatoeba real sentences database

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chinopinyin

I have just found

http://tatoeba.org/eng/

This is a large multilingual database of example sentences. Currently, they have over 14 000 chinese example sentences, and over 1 500 of them have audio provided by native speakers. The project is collaborative, so you can add your own sentences.

Has anybody used Tatoeba to learn Chinese?

Do you know alternative databases with real sentences, preferably with audio?

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skylee

IMHO, the website's name, which is japanese, does not really inspire confidence ...

PS - but it could be a great resource. who knows.

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abcdefg
This is a large multilingual database of example sentences.

Was previously unaware of it but after reading your post I had a look. Seems like a useful ancillary tool. I signed up and will try it out. Thanks.

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creamyhorror
IMHO, the website's name, which is japanese, does not really inspire confidence ...

It's in Japanese because the site was no doubt originally aimed at gathering Japanese sentences, but it's quite possible for it to expand to other languages, especially Chinese. A similar example - the SRS software Anki was originally targeted at Japanese learners (the name is Japanese), but now people use it for everything (and it has some excellent Chinese resources now).

Ultimately these are all created by and for English speakers who are learning new languages, so the initial language (usually Japanese) doesn't really matter so much.

Anyway, I clicked for a random Chinese sentence and found:

我对别人都不好,因为你发指示叫我来谈谈话的啊。

This doesn't make sense to me. I guess some people (this guy is part of the site admins) are posting random/non-native sentences to the database?

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PanShiBo

I find it very good, added to my reference collection. Thanks!

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aristotle1990

Looks good, but it's got nothing on the revamped Bing Dictionary (formerly Engkoo) -- still, given that it's collaborative, it may well get better (by which I mean "have more data").

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chinopinyin

@aristotle1990: Does Bing have audio by Chinese native speakers? I had a quick look at the site and the only audio I found was machine generated and only in English

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aristotle1990

It doesn't. I guess Tatoeba might be better for beginners, then (especially since the sentences have pinyin, but it's occasionally wrong -- I don't think that native audio is very important if you have the pinyin, anyway). Engkoo was really made for Chinese people trying to learn English, and this is obviously reflected here.

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chinopinyin

@aristotle1990: Are Bing translations human based or machine generated?

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aristotle1990

Human -- the dictionary just gathers translations from all over the web and pieces them together sentence by sentence, this being why you get so much stuff from the Financial Times (which has a Chinese edition). They use some good (very good -- in months of using it heavily, I've seen only a few mismatched sentences) matching technology to put the individual sentences together with their translations.

Read more about the project here.

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Baudelaire

Hi I'm part of the admin of tatoeba, glad you find it usefull :)

@creamy horror , on tatoeba my username is sysko, so I'm the one who added this sentence, in fact for all the chinese/shanghainese only pair of sentences, it's a Shanghainese scholar who provided them to me, so it's possible that some of them are "shanghainese" style (but I agree with you, they should be corrected to standard mandarin as they're labelled so). As you can see I've tagged the sentence so that Chinese native speaker will review it.

For the name, yep it's only because at first the project was created to learn japanese (but by French people for French people ;-)), and I agree as a French native learning Chinese, the name of the project was not really sexy to me at first too (I'm not the one who created tatoeba.org tough I'm now one of the main developper /admin). But anyway how hard one tries, the name should be in one language^^.

for Engkoo, the main difference is that our data are free, as in Free speach, you can download and reuse our whole database for whatever purpose (creating anki list, creating an iphone/android app, or reuse them in other dictionnary website, download the mp3 etc.), we don't plan to make money on this data, and we think by doing this will lead to new usage of the database we didn't have time / knowledge to do it by ourselves.

I'm using tatoeba to learn Chinese the following ways:

*At work when I have 10 second of free time (waiting a phone call, a file to download etc.) I just click on "show me a random Chinese sentence", and I try to read it. It's maybe nothing, but at the end of the day I've maybe read 10/20 sentences, and anyway this 20*10 seconds were wasted anyway.

*When I have a little more time, I try to either translate sentence from French in to Chinese, and at the end of the day, I will ask my Chinese friends to review them, or the opposite from Chinese to French.

*When I'm reading a book or so in Chinese, and I catch a new word, I try to search if there's other example of how to use this word in tatoeba, in order to catch better how to use it.

*If during all of this I find some interesting sentence I can add them to a personnal list, so I will be able to quickly find them again if I need (I used to be a teacher in China, so I've added a lot of sentences in French and asked my chinese friends to translate them into chinese, and then before class I tried to review the "class sentences" (the lesson of today will be about etc.)

After if you find some "strange" or hard to understand sentence, you can leave a comment on the sentence, so this way people will be able to answer you, so you can also get more precision on a grammar point, the sentence being only there to start the discussion.

I also think tatoeba is really useful if you have a language-learning friend (using QQ or so) so this way you can write sentences somewhere, and when your friend have time (or anyone else of tatoeba community if you have no friends :P) can come correct you, and it will benefit not only to you, but to everyone.

I know that for Chinese the database is maybe still a little "poor", but you know one years ago they were only 52 Chinese sentences and 12 languages ^^ , and 6 month ago only 4 000 Chinese sentence , the project is still really young, but I really think we can turn it into an amazing tool.

(really sorry for my English :()

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Pendragon

This looks like a really cool project, sentences are indeed way more useful than isolated words in learning to use a language.

However I'm also a bit worried about the quality of the sentences. I'm not at the proficiency level yet to be confident that I can spot any mistakes, so I might end up learning them. Hopefully tatoeba will become just as good at self-correction as wikipedia, then it shouldn't be a problem.

Maybe you could add some way to score sentences, e.g. to show if they've been checked or how many users have checked them.

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