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Best of Chinese Study Tools, Studying Chinese Online and Off


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This is very timely since I was just discussing with Roddy, the webmaster here, about doing a "short list" of study resources. Most lists currently available on the net are much too long. A shorter list would help a student new to online/electronic resources to get off the ground much more quickly and avoid some of the trial and errors process that many of us have gone through.

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Woot! Fantastic stuff, and as gato mentions something that was being discussed behind the scenes.

Like you say, some lists are just too long - I think it would be better to not claim to be 'comprehensive', but rather be 'selective' - for example, there's no way we need to include every CEDICT mirror.

thatbeijing.com should now be thatsbj.com, btw.

Many thanks


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Few suggestions:

a) As we're looking at 'best of Chinese Study Tools' here, it might be wise to leave the job / living / travel stuff aside for now, or perhaps split it off into it's own post? I'm a big fan of focus.

B) The dictionary interface for adsotrans is worth mentioning - it's not pretty, but it gives you access to the adso database, which is now at over 150,000 entries.

c) Does anyone know of any good and free sites for finding Chinese language exchange partners online? That would be a useful thing to add.

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For the updated list of 25 texts (including author, publisher, isbn) used in years 1-4 used at:


George Washington U


Middlebury Summer 9 week course


Kenyon College

California State University Long Beach

along with a table showing the info arranged by year and school see


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Gato! You are brilliant!*** Thank you for the list!

I like the idea of a selective list and will spend some time weeding this weekend between scenes of 包待制 beating the justice out of someone. As you can tell, and as Roddy made very clear by pointing to my dated that's link, my bookmarks are in serious need of oranization and cleaning.

Putting living/work/travel on a separate list is a good idea. Most people don't need it. I'll still pass it on to my department because there are a lot of students who don't realize that they can go to China without paying someone a lot of money to take them, or asking Jen if she knows anyone who has a job for them.

Kudra~ Thank you for your book list. A lot of students have been pushing for some updated materials, and will definitely appreciate knowing what to look for, and what other people are using.

johnmck, merci beaucoup, and onebir, thanks for your language exchange recommendations. (It never occured to me as I just shamelessly abuse the other grad students, all of whom are Chinese, for this very purpose!) I wonder if anyone is making use of skype for this purpose... We set up my mom's microphone/headset today for when I leave again.

Now, I guess we'll see if anything else comes up in this thread, and if not, I'll start making sure everything is in order (meaning, get rid of most of my dictionary links!) and we'll get a standardized, select list. I'm considering splitting them into general, beginners, and advanced. Am I being too compulsive here?

***Roddy, your brilliance is ineffable, and my words could not beging to do it no justice. You understand, right?

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I think graded lists sounds great, but you could just as easily tag stuff as more / less suitable for certain levels in the list. That might prevent stuff having to be duplicated across the lists (for example, you'll presumably be recommending this site to all levels).

*** Indeed.

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Habe leider keine Ahnung was ein Jong ist, aber ich bin da höchst wahrscheinlich ein halber, die andere Hälfte ist Amerikanerin und das ganze Packet kann leider nicht sehr gut Deutsch...

Danke für die Korre... correction. ;)

Um, now, for official business... As I try to end this semester in one piece... I was wondering. And then I actually had a question: There is not a lot of discussion on classical Chinese, or guwen, on the forums. Is this because people don't take it, or because they don't want to talk about it once they have. (We just did the 白马论, so I would understand). Perhaps there are some sources out there, although I have been using the wikisource and elbow grease, 而已。

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  • 1 month later...

Dictionaries come in three main categories: paper, hardware, and software. I would suggest noting that in the dictionary section, with forward references to wakan, plecodict, mandarintools, zdt, etc.

In the "other" (software?) section, you missed both Dimsum from http://www.mandarintools.com and zdt from http://zdt.sourceforge.net/

They are both completely free, multifunction software tools, but, like wakan, have very good built in dictionary support for Chinese. For example, you can paste in a section of chinese text in Dimsum, and it will generate a complete list of all the vocabulary in the text. You can look up all words which contain a particular character, for example, etc. On the other hand, Wakan has several bugs in the chinese implementation, which I've reported to them well over a year ago, and they haven't come out with a new version in all that time (ver 1.67 I think). Also, they present definitions for chinese hanzi from the japanese dictionary in one situation.

Euroasia has two offerings, the on line website, with dictionary and related word lookups, and the standalone software. Since their website has been down for a very long time (the mandarinteacher site), you can't get the standalone version. I own a license to that software, by the way, and IMO, I think it has too many flaws to be very useful without some serious updating.

I like many of your categories. I'd like to suggest another category: "games", but I don't have any good suggestions for language learning games to put in there. :( But, sometimes putting a category down can suggest things.

Thanks for your list, btw.

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I had DimSum under offline annotation, but I moved it to Study tools because I think it's more than just a dictionary, I hope that works. I like my dictionaries to be dictionaries and not too much more, because I get VERY distracted by new words. Prorams like DimSum are under Annotators. I am going to put Zdt in Study tools too, because of its multifunctionality.

I can't run it on my platform, but we'll let popular vote decide if it stays. As mentioned earlier in the forums, we really want to et this down to a condensed list of really good things. Perhaps you can let us know how you are getting along with Zdt.

Per your suggestion, eurasia is out*. I don't like PC only things anyways.

Added the games category, and some things I found browsing, all of which look bad bad bad.

:cry: indeed

*what does IMO mean, btw?

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Chris- I am using Mac OS X 10.4.3. I don't think there is a version for macs, is there?

And more importantly, is there any help for me?

Onebir- I think that is a great suggestion, since the point was to get the best tools.Radical look-up would be important if I ever decide to use the real characters of my name, not the Bao'yuian existentialist/Roddyian variation of it.:wink:

Gato & Roddy: Should I just put the new list in the place of the original first post?

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think it's worth mentioning which dictionaries have radical lookup - sometimes this is necessary if you're using a book.

Wenlin, Dimsum and Wakan have radical lookup. ZDT does not. Wenlin and Wakan also have stroke count lookup. All have lookup by pinyin or hanzi. I believe they all have toneless lookup also.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Chris,

I have a question about the java requirement, which says 1.5.0, I think. I thought it was downloading here, although even after installation my log still says its 1.4.2. As you have probably figured out, it's not working for me yet. :cry:

Perhaps you could have a look at my log (attached) and see if Java is the problem, and if it is, provide some instructions on how to download it. The current java download link in your read me file is for solaris, linux, and windows.

Thanks for all of your work, Chris. I am very impressed that you got this done so fast!

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