Learn Chinese in China
艾墨本

A Short List of Resources for Studying Chinese

107 posts in this topic

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Skritter is quite good but also expensive, it definitely teaches stroke order, so I would include it. Maybe also include Glossika somewhere with a link to our thread on chinese-forums. I also recommend DeFrancis readers for those who study traditional characters.

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Does DeFrancis have any advantages over the Chinese Breeze readers or Mandarin Companion readers beyond being traditional characters?

 

Edit: added a link to the comprehensive list of graded readers on these forums.

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For online dictionaries, I find Archchinese and Written Chinese good, for different reasons. Archchinese because from any given character, you can very quickly see what other characters have the same semantic or phonetic component, or use that character as a component, or are a component of that character. Written Chinese gives you all the words containing that character in order of frequency.

 

Also, don't forget Jukuu.

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For writing practice i would add Hanzi Grids to the list. Very good for actual pen and paper writing practice. More info here https://www.hanzigrids.com/

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The DeFrancis readers start from zero and then build up your vocabulary systematically with a lot of repetition, the main disadvantage is that they are a little dated.

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I swapped out the dictionaries to include arch Chinese and jukuu. Hard to delete zdic but trying to keep the list condense. With that in mind, I didn't add the hanzigrids that shelley recommends since arch Chinese offers those as well.

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ITalki is going to get a significant downgrade soon. Their new website is nearly a disaster.

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This is horrible news. What's an alternative language exchange website or app, then?

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A few resources I think are worth adding to the list:

  • Online dictionaries: MDBG 
  • Listening Material:
    • Chinese Learn Online (CLO). Unlike ChinesePod this is a progressive course. (It's produced in Taiwan, you can note that accordingly if you add it to the list.)
    • Slow Chinese: this is a well-known instructional podcast. Each episode includes a transcript.

Two comments:

  • Perapera is also available for Chrome.
  • What are your concerns in regards to Pleco's flashcard SRS algorithm (you noted that "SRS is mediocre")? Certain features are missing (two that I can think of right away are clozes and native leech handling; as you noted the module is currently being rewritten).

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Both clozes and leeches are coming in that update, though you could already mimic Anki's leech behavior by adding a card filter to exclude cards with 8 total incorrect answers (so all we're really doing is giving it its own separate filter configuration + adding a warning about a card's leechiness).

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@etm001 and @mikelove, I find the features of Pleco's notecards to be far superior to ANKI, largely due to their simplicity and the variety of testing methods that can be easily moved between. But the actual way that Anki feeds me the cards is much better. I like that it does it in 1m/10m/1d/4d increments and that it won't keep shooting the card at me too rapidly after I get it wrong. If I introduce a new card on Pleco, I get it wrong, and it gives it back to me in 3 seconds, and then it disappears for the day. I like the emphasis on review with Anki. Perhaps this can be adjusted in the settings?

 

I have left off MDBG because all the functionality that it provides is covered in the other online dictionaries. Besides the GUI, Yellow Bridge offers more as a free online dictionary. 

 

Skimmed some of the old posts on these forums about Chinese Learn Online:

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/17781-chineselearnonlinecom/

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/11192-chinesepodcom-does-it-really-work/

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/18805-which-of-these-podcasts-do-you-like-best/?mode=show

 

It looks like a pretty amazing tool. I'll add it in place of AiQiYi. People can figure that out on their own.

*Edit* left Aiqiyi because finding good native content is so darn hard. Removed popup Chinese. While it's my personal favorite, it makes more sense to leave the enormous library of Chinese pod and pair that with progressing levels for CLO. Also, Popup Chinese can be found in the HSK section, still.

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Interval for incorrect cards in a session can be adjusted, yes - Commands / Repeat Incorrect, set "time" to "during test" and you can configure "delay before repeat" to whatever interval you like. It'll be shorter than that if you run out of other cards to study, though.

 

Interval previews and more dynamic scheduling (i.e., one card might be delayed by 5 minutes and one by an hour instead of every incorrect card getting the same delay) are coming in that big update; we offered the former as an option for a little while, but it turned out the scheduling algorithm was predicting them inaccurately for reasons that would take a major update to fix, so we pulled them until we can get them working nicely in that update.

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The difference is that with Anki, the 'delay before repeat' part is automated and dependent on the cards history. So, if I get the card wrong I self-grade as "again" it depends on if it's a new card, studied card, or mature card, for how long until it gives it to me again. With Pleco, this might go depending on "don't know" "forgot" or "barely remembered." If I selected "don't know," maybe it would give it again in 30 seconds, and then again in a few minutes (assuming I got it right that time). But if I select "barely remembered" maybe it give it again in a few minutes and then not again that day or more. The default way that Anki has this set is really good, IMO. I just turned on the "show SRS intervals" button. I'll pay closer attention to what it is currently set at, now. However "more dynamic scheduling (i.e., one card might be delayed by 5 minutes and one by an hour instead of every incorrect card getting the same delay)" might just solve this for me. 

 

Note, noticed that the "repeat incorrect" in commands has a subheading as "review incorrect cards at the end of the session" but then another button to set "time" as "at end of test" or "during test." Perhaps drop the heading and leave the "time" section to define it.

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Yeah, we should cover that pretty well - basically intervals will now be able to be arbitrarily short / long and allow for a card to be rescheduled during the same session, and there'll be larger card 'statuses' so that a new versus learned card has a different set of parameters for its interval advances. (user-definable, actually, and with flexible test types / fields for each one; can have half a dozen different levels so that a card progresses e.g. from reading to writing as you learn it better and doesn't get dumped all the way back to 'lapsed' if you fail to write it correctly in a fill-in-the-blanks test but have already demonstrated you can recognize it very well)

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I can't find the exactly same thing on arch chinese as Hanzi Grids does. Hanzi grids is a dedicated, simple to use, value for money way of printing out character practice sheets.

 

Arch chinese does do a lot but you also have to pay a subscription, Hanzi grids is a small one off payment. If you just want to print practice sheets I prefer Hanzi Grids.

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Thank you, Shelley. I didn't realize that Arch Chinese required money for those features. That's a bummer. Then, yeah, even the free features of Hanzi Grids would have been enough for me and many of my classmates back when I used these grids a lot. Once again, imron kills it.

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I prefer HelloChinese to ChineseSkill. I like the style and features of HelloChinese.

 

Two main reasons I prefer HelloChinese:

 

1) the android version of chineseskill has in-app purchase while hellochinese is totally free.

 

2) the ios version of chineseskill lacks two main features that hellochinese has: one is the character handwriting like skritter, another is the voice recognition.

 

Have a look at their website http://www.hellochinese.cc/

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For Windows 10, the best dictionary I've found so far is the Chinese - English dictionary by Hein Htat, powered by CEDict and Google Translate. It's a free app, downloadable through the Windows Store in Win 10. It can search online and offline for simplified or traditional characters as well as pinyin. It gives the sound pronunciation but only online. It's very fast, simple and quite powerful for a free dictionary. 

Added Edit: Forgot to say, it also works as an English - Chinese dictionary,

 

It's also possible to use the Windows Translator App as a dictionary, which also works on- and offline (although more limited off). It takes text, sound or scanned pictures, and can read the Chinese text using Windows 10 excellent TTS if one has the Chinese language pack installed. 

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i would add Pimsluer audio and NPCR to the list

both are very good 

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