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ICboard

An Input Method for Foreign Chinese Learners--ICboard

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ICboard

@Ninchanese Thank you for your interest. In our developing plan, the next platform ICboard supports is IOS. Of course PC version will also come soon.  

@hbuchtelThank you for the encouraging comments. Acutally, for a Chinese beginner, a typical Chinese input process in a message app is typing English in Pleco and then copying the Characters to message app window for text. However, in ICboard, user can type Chinese character more easily and accurtely without switching between apps, which is a big burden with such a small screen of mobile device.   

      In a word, IClab can help a user to type characters without having to know them in advance. What's more, ICboard provide a type-and-learn pattern with which you'll have fun in Chinese study!

      Welcome to download ICboard in Google Play store and have a try. We also provide online lessons to help you start the journey of typing and learning Chinese characters with ICboard. Our staffs will answer your questions promtly. 

 

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Tomsima

How do I write 摩托車 on this keyboard?

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陳德聰

I am also curious. If I want to type “keep” doing sth. and I know it is “jixu,” do I type “jixu” and then choose from a set like [繼續co, 急需ur, 積蓄sa, 幾許ho, 記敘na] ?

 

I actually feel like this is more geared towards helping people pick characters and never actually have to commit them to memory. I’d like to see the characters provided with tones indicated somehow, cause if I know how the word sounds already, then I don’t even necessarily need the “auxiliary code,” just to know what tones the characters carry.

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Wendy_Ting

@Tomsima

 

Hi! You can just type the pinyin:motuoche. It has no other responding characters except for 摩托车. No need to type every single character separately.  Then long press the word on the list you will see the details.

 

Or you mean you want to type the traditional characters 摩托車?:P
 

 

 

1.png

2.png

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ICboard

@Tomsima You can type "motuoc" to get ther following list and choose the first word from the list.

1704848114__20180702112945.thumb.jpg.f1b399115fb17884aa5e4feb4a3c65f1.jpg

If you want to make sure, you can long-press on it and you can get the following screen.

 

1648602171__20180702112940.thumb.jpg.74439a60d67edbb52a324d52a222a8b7.jpg

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ICboard

@陳德聰 If you tyep "jixu",  you'll get something like:

2025281556__20180702112909.thumb.jpg.16ba3f402b6a7eaa8bd9ca1183fb48bd.jpg 

Your imaged set [繼續co, 急需ur, 積蓄sa, 幾許ho, 記敘na] is very close to ours [继续co,急需ur,记叙na,积蓄sa,几许se].:clap:clap:clap

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ICboard

@陳德聰  Your advice“ I’d like to see the characters provided with tones indicated somehow” is constructive. We've already put the tones into the long-press windows. We'll consider put the tones to the condidte panel if possible.

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Wendy_Ting

Hi! Yes you get it :p  Thanks for your post!

 

We try to select the frequently-used meaning as the “auxiliary code” of a word. If it's not the one same as your thoughts you can long press to learn more and check.  We do hope it can help you narrow the scope at least.   

 

jixu1.thumb.png.c76836d8c912e75f27b9a8f56d18a271.png   jixu2.thumb.png.31d0f3144e29088589726e5985a6cca8.png

 

You are right the tones are very necessary! Now we add the tone for every single character. We'll add the tones for other words which have 2, 3 or 4 characters furtherly. :p But Chinese sometimes are "crazy", for example,“jī ròu” can refers to both 鸡肉 and 肌肉; “gōng jī” can refers to both 公鸡 and 攻击,so we may need the translations more or less :)

 

gongji.thumb.png.5e8c6ea8d8a0417730ea5c21a9256dd7.png

 

The “auxiliary code” is not all for ICboard.  It has other functions such as translate, Ch-En mixed input, gesture input, voice input etc.  We just want to help foreign Chinese learners type Chinese easier and learn more about Chinese to some degree. And we will work on improving ICboard continually.

 

Thanks for your attention :p


 

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Wendy_Ting

@Hofmann

 

Hi!People can download ICboard at Google Play now. :p  It's a beta version and has a long way to improve for sure.  Thanks for attention!

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roddy

I remain sceptical about the extra English codes, but integrating dictionary functions into a mobile keyboard could be useful. Not sure if that's already been done though. 

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imron
1 hour ago, roddy said:

I remain sceptical about the extra English codes

For me, looking at the examples posted so far in this thread, it introduces too much interference, requiring me to switch between languages while reading each word.  It's doubly worse when the first two letters of the English are also valid pinyin syllables.

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Wendy_Ting

@imron

 

Hi! Could you share more details about the interference you mentioned if possible?That would be very helpful for us to improve.

 

We think this app brings more benefits to the beginners. They can type a word or a phrase but not the long sentences at first. So the “auxiliary code” (or we just say the translation) helps the learners choose the one they want without switching out of the texting to search on another dictionary-enabled apps. Which way do you think is more inefficient for them?

 

The "code‘’ is not the only feature of ICboard. You may find other functions useful. For example, one of my students took a try with the app and made a more objective evaluation. He just found the translation function helps him when he typed a long sentence but blocked by a word (supplementary 补充的) he didn't know before. Equally, he needs not switch to another app to look up.

 

m.thumb.png.c4dcad8ece721e7473b09f058ce339ce.png

 

We will be appreciated for your suggestions. :p

 

 

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roddy

It's very easy to imagine someone who uses your system a lot talking with friends and calling a table a zhuota or a pan a guopa. It is not impossible for tricks designed to make learning 'easier' initially to cause problems later on. 

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imron
3 hours ago, Wendy_Ting said:

Could you share more details about the interference you mentioned if possible

 

This sort of thing

 

28 minutes ago, roddy said:

calling a table a zhuota or a pan a guopa

 

It's switching language halfway through a word - I have to think of the same word in both languages and it causes cognitive interference that slows things down.

 

Made worse when the first two letters of English are also valid pinyin e.g. the above two examples, in addition to be the first two letters of table and pan respectively, ta and pa are also completely valid pinyin. Also as an example from earlier in the thread - 表 biaosu.  'su' could easily be pinyin for some character but 'su' in pinyin is pronounced completely differently from the 'su' in 'surface' (likewise pinyin 'ta' and 'pa' are completely different sounds from the English table and pan).  So my brain is in pinyin mode reading 'biao' and then it sees 'su' and instead of the natural reaction of reading it as pinyin (because my brain is in pinyin mode), I need to switch half way back to English and then try to figure out what word it's from and how it's pronounced in English.

 

For all of the examples I have seen in screenshots from this thread, it took me several seconds stopping and thinking to figure out the English and what the pronunciation was supposed to be, which is a massive cognitive load over instead reading if it was just all in pinyin.

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Tomsima

Reading about the idea behind this keyboard has made me realise how useful it would be for Chinese learners to use a pinyin keyboard with tone marks for narrowing down choices like bopomofo ones do. In fact I just redownloaded the google bopomofo keyboard (sorry…I guess)

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imron
14 hours ago, imron said:

which is a massive cognitive load over instead reading if it was just all in pinyin.

Thinking about this a bit more, if you really insist on having the English codes, don't show it right next to the pinyin.  Show the full english word in a smaller font, *underneath* the pinyin, colouring the first two letters if necessary.

 

e.g. taking an example from one of the screenshots above, instead of

 

  公鸡

gōng'jīco

 

You would have

  公鸡

gōng'jī

  cock

 

This way there is no interference between the pinyin and the English and it's also clear which word the first two English letters come from.

 

Also 2 things.

 

1. You are using apostrophes incorrectly in your pinyin.  In correct pinyin there should be no apostrophe between gōng and jī (likewise for most of your other examples).  See here for more information.

2. Consider using rooster instead of cock as the English translation of 公鸡.

 

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Wendy_Ting
1 hour ago, imron said:

Thinking about this a bit more, if you really insist on having the English codes, don't show it right next to the pinyin.

 

Thanks a lot for your suggestion! Just concerned that the lengths of the English translations are different that may influence the layout and the display of the alternative column. But we will take it into consideration!

 

As for the "apostrophe", I think it just works as a space, not the same function with the one in "Tian'anmen".  Sogou, a very popular Chinese input method widely used in mainland of China also adds the apostrophe after the syllable.

 

apo.thumb.jpg.edaa913d967f353b0b374bbbf5c7b0b8.jpg

 

 We will definitely improve it if the majority thinks the apostrophes make people confused.

 

Thanks again! 

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imron
2 hours ago, Wendy_Ting said:

that the lengths of the English translations are different that may influence the layout and the display of the alternative column

Yes it will, hence the need for a smaller font.  You could also abbreviate the word with ellipsis if got too long - as long as most of the word is there it will give people most of the information they need.

 

2 hours ago, Wendy_Ting said:

not the same function with the one in "Tian'anmen". 

Which is why it might cause confusion.

 

2 hours ago, Wendy_Ting said:

Sogou, a very popular Chinese input method widely used in mainland of China also adds the apostrophe after the syllable.

Here's your chance to be better than them then :mrgreen:  For what it's worth, they also leave off the tones and the input method is not aimed at learners of Chinese. 

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Wendy_Ting

@imron

 

Many thanks!:p It does need to be continually improved and polished~

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ICboard

It's known that Chinese has tones. Even if the characters have the same pinyin, different tones refer to diffrent meanings. Just take an example:

 

BE CAREFUL when you say Chinese "wo xiang wen ni" to someone.

 

我想

wǒ xiǎng wèn nǐ

I want to ask you...

 

我想

wǒ xiǎng wěn nǐ

I want to kiss you...

 

Which one are you trying to express?

 

wèn

 

or 

 

wěn

 

If you are saying to someone, please watch your tone.

 

If you are texting messages to someone, please be careful with your typing.

 

wèn

wen.thumb.png.700566c3b283a3e2eda74d15a89b1a58.png

ask ; inquire

 

40438228_.thumb.png.3f5917ed2cbdf0592a2af9aaddbf40fd.png

 

How do we use?

 

那个女孩。

Wèn nà gè nǚ hái.

Ask that girl.

 

妈妈你几点回家?

Māma wèn nǐ jǐ diǎn huí jiā?

Mom asks you what time will you be back home?

 

How do we write?

 

It is written in the outside to inside directional style.

 

640615749_.thumb.gif.50c6be9dda5381ffd195d14e318415dd.gif

 

How do we type?

 

How do you quickly choose the one refers to "ask" if you have no clear mind about the image of the character?  

 

wen.thumb.gif.e56b1be4c8951299abf2d8397445055f.gif

 

Type “wen” on ICboard, we see the added the "auxiliary codes". The one followed by "as" is probably the characer for "ask"! If you want to double check just long press it, and more details about the character (tone,meaning) will pop up!

 

 

More

 

qǐng wèn

excuse me; a polite way to ask

 

请问这个用汉语怎么说?

Qǐng wèn zhè gè yòng hàn yǔ zěn me shuō?

How do you say this in Chinese?

 

wèn tí

question; problem

 

我想一个问题

Wǒ xiǎng wèn yī gè wèn tí.

I want to ask you a question.

 

wěn

1836071825_.thumb.png.4594ffb6bc133104a1c575037be6c293.png

kiss

 

1872940598_.thumb.png.c2d115c617214606e0223a4d09a6fb4e.png

 

 

How do we use?

 

了我。

Tā wěn le wǒ.

He kissed me.

 

一下这个可爱的小宝贝。

Wěn yī xià zhè gè kěài de xiǎo bǎobèi.

Give this cute baby a kiss.

 

Note

Verbs followed by 一下 indicating an act or attempt at once or in a short while.

 

 

How do we write?

 

It is written in the left to right and up to down directional style.

 

b8438fb48728d42e59181fcf32b07d6be.thumb.gif.0138316413cf82258dbc19d5cbc148c7.gif

 

 

How do we type?

 

How do you quickly choose the one refers to "kiss" if you have no clear mind about the image of the character? 

 

1564391275_.thumb.gif.d366ba46c7018eee7a712ab9bbf90b0f.gif

 

Type “wen” on ICboard, we see the added the "auxiliary codes". The one followed by "ki" is probably the characer for "kiss"! If you want to double check just long press it, and more details about the character (tone,meaning) will pop up!

 

More

 

fēi wěn 

throw someone a kiss(“flying kiss”)

 

feiwen.gif.85e79fca5b27c1db2d47a8c33f33c4b6.gif

 

她给了我一个飞吻

Tā gěi le wǒ yī gè fēiwěn.

She blew me a kiss. 

 

wěn bié 

kissgoodbye

 

他和妻子吻别

Tā hé qīzǐ wěnbié.

He kissed his wife goodbye.

 

 

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