Mar 072011

Screenshot of the game. "Cackle"?

Language LianLianKan is a matching game. You pick two languages (presumably one you know and one you’re learning). When the game starts, two blocks fall from the top of the screen, each with a word in one of the languages. The idea is to click the corresponding words in each language (‘flower’ and , for example). The odd thing is, the pairs of falling blocks are already matched up. So ‘flower’ and  fall at the same time. And so on. All you have to do is click each pair as they fall. You can do it without knowing what either word means.

The game is harder if you deliberately wait and wait until the blocks pile up some, but that takes a while. Even when I accidentally clicked an intrusive iAd and had to close it to get back to the game, only two pairs had piled up. And if you wait too long, the game just ends

Even assuming you’re supposed to let the blocks pile up before matching them, it’s hardly a great learning learning game. The vocabulary choices are odd. My first game using Chinese & English included some basic words like 开始 ‘start’ and some like ‘condenser’ (I didn’t catch what that was in Chinese, but, like I said, I didn’t need to know to get it right. There are also a lot of proper names. ‘Kramer’ in Chinese, anyone? And there’s no way to select any sort of level.

I feel bad criticizing something that’s free (at this writing), but unless I’m missing something, I see no value, either entertainment or educational, in this game.

This is a slightly modified version of my review on the iTunes App Store.

Mar 042011

The website helps you learn foreign language vocabulary (the Romance languages, CJK [Simplified Chinese only at this point], German, Russian, Hindi, and Arabic, plus English) with a Flash-based typing game. I find it rather addictive (after each game I always think I can do a bit better on the next and so keep playing). There are two variations on the game, RollingZilla and PowerTranslator. In RollingZilla, little Zillas (I assume they are called that; they are round cartoon creatures) with words written on them drop from the top of the game screen and you have to type the translation before the Zilla reaches the bottom of the screen. As the game gets going, multiple Zillas may be onscreen at the same time; you can type in the translations in any order and let ones you don’t know go by (which count as wrong, but don’t take up time). You … [read more]

Feb 252011

In the movie Red, Bruce Willis speaks a line of Chinese, but I couldn’t figure out what it was (the subtitles in the YouTube clip below don’t seem to match with what he’s saying and the DVD I watched didn’t include anything for this line in the subtitles). After listening a bunch of times, I thought he might be saying 几年前我住 / 幾年前我住 … If that’s right the rest should be 在 somewhere, but it doesn’t sound like 在 and the place doesn’t sound like anything obvious like 中国 / 中國 or 香港. The line comes in the context of a surprising reference to the Harvard Yenching Classification System (for cataloging library books). I was sorry that the characters did not actually go to the Harvard Yenching Library, but I do not believe filming is allowed there in any case. Update: 谢谢 to commenter Tima for clarifying that the place where Bruce Willis’ character said he lived was 武汉 / 武漢 … [read more]

Feb 112011
More Chinese on The Simpsons

Those of you who follow @zhongwebchinese on Twitter may have seen our Chinese New Year tweet, which included a link to a YouTube clip of Homer Simpson saying 恭喜发财 / 恭喜發財 gōngxǐ fācái. I just saw another Simpsons episode with a bit of Chinese, this time a visual. While Lenny is singing the song “Thank You for Being a Friend,” the word for “friend” in a number of languages appears on a screen behind him. One of the words is 友 yǒu as in 朋友 péngyou. Read on to view the whole clip (although there’s not really more to see than in the pic), and the 恭喜发财 clip, if you missed the tweet. Pages: 1 2