Chinese iOS flashcard apps


Chinese-specific flashcard apps take some of the work out of flashcard creation since you can simply add things to a cardset as you look them up. There may not be a good way to export and re-use your sets in other apps or websites, though. I find these are better for students reading things outside of a textbook, where you’ll be consulting a dictionary anyway. Students in the early stages and using a textbook often do not need a word’s full range of meanings, so this kind of app can provide too much information. I’ll comment on each app’s flashcard features here. Please see the Dictionaries page for comments on those features. Links are all to the iTunes App Store.

  • BuMang — Multiple choice testing. Comes with a few word lists called “lessons” (radicals, numbers, basics, and the first 8 lessons of Practical Chinese). Create your own “lessons” by adding words from the built-in dictionary. Prompts with hanzi and you choose correct pinyin or vice versa. It doesn’t test you on the English translation, but it shows you the English after you answer correctly. $.99 (May 2011).
  • CS Zika — Multiple choice testing. Fixed word lists of most common 300 characters, 500 characters, radicals, and some 25-card theme-based sets. Prompts with hanzi and you choose correct pinyin and correct translation. $1.99 (May 2011).
  • Flashonary — A dictionary (English or German) with basic “flip and say you got it right or wrong” flashcard functionality. Adjustable font sizes. Seems to start with random side, but you can configure which things you want to appear on each side. Free, but $9.99 for audio (for both dictionary and flashcards) and $4.99 to color-code by tone (Feb. 2011).
  • HanCard — Basic “flip and say you got it right or wrong” flashcard functionality. Choose to be prompted with simplified, traditional, pinyin, or English. Includes sets of most frequent characters and HongKong grade levels. Others available through in-app purchase (see this post). Includes a dictionary, but no apparent way to add words from the dictionary to a card set. Free; ad-supported (Sept. 2011).
  • HanYu Chinese Dictionary — A dictionary with basic flashcard functionality (start on any one side; keeps stats; but no way to export the lists) free for 5 words, then as a paid add-on. Free (March 2011).
  • Look-App — A dictionary (English or German) with saved word lists (“Categories”) and basic “flip and say you got it right or wrong” flashcard functionality. Starts from hanzi. Retests missed words at end of set. Free (Mar. 2011).
  • Memorii — 3-sided cards (word=hanzi, reading=pinyin, meaning=English). Start with any side and tap to reveal 2nd and 3rd sides. Can mark favorites. Can optionally skip words that you checkmark. Create your own lists only by manually typing in all the info. Also does Japanese. Free, with paid add-on packs. (May 2011).
  • Pleco Chinese Dictionary — A dictionary with flashcard functionality. Several testing modes, including writing hanzi (although getting the character picker makes it easier) or just specifying the correct tone. Probably the most full-featured Chinese flashcard app. Free dictionary, but $14.99 ($11.99 education price) for flashcard functionality (Mar. 2011).
  • trainchinese: Dictionary & Flash cards — Several testing modes. I love the writing testing mode which compares your stroke order to the dictionary, but the subscription-based model is a turn-off. Free dictionary, but very limited free flashcard use; monthly subscription charge for full functionality (Mar. 2011).

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