Jul 062012
iOS app: trainchinese Dictionary and Flashcards

Following up on the last post about Skritter, we’ll be looking at another sophisticated flashcard app specifically developed for Chinese, trainchinese: Dictionary & Flash cards. The free app allows use of the dictionary and a free account allows flashcard use for a very small number of new words per week, but this is enough to decide whether you want to upgrade to a paid account. With either a paid or free account, you can also practice your flashcards on the trainchinese website. Study modes The app uses a spaced repetition system to test you less often on words that you know better. There are two basic methods of testing: “honesty” and multiple choice. “Honesty” is the familiar flashcard method where you are responsible for indicating whether or not you knew the correct answer. Multiple choice is self-explanatory. In both modes you can get a hint without penalty. For each method, … [read more]

Jun 102012
iOS app: StickyStudy: Chinese

StickyStudy: Chinese (HSK/TOP/TOCFL Hanzi Study Flashcards) is an iOS flashcard app that uses a Leitner system with five steps to card mastery. One card side is presented and you indicate whether you got the word correct or not. If you do, the card moves to the next step/Leitner box, and so on until the card is considered mastered. For each card you can also move it immediately to the “mastered” box. Studying When studying you can choose to see any combination of hanzi, pinyin, and English on the “question/front” and “answer/back”. So you can configure it to show just hanzi on the front (to test recognition) or to show pinyin and/or English on the front (to test your ability to recall words and write characters). You can also choose to have audio play automatically or when you tap a button  (seems to work only when you have hanzi visible on the card) . … [read more]

Feb 202012
iOS game Chinese Writer updated

The iOS educational game, trainchinese Chinese Writer, was updated last November (compare my original review and follow-up review). The update brought a major new feature: the ability to import characters from wordlists that users already have in other trainchinese products, the trainchinese Dictionary & Flash cards iOS app and/or www.trainchinese.com. I can’t say how well this particular feature works since it requires a paid subscription. If any readers plan to purchase a trainchinese subscription, you could use one of the links to www.trainchinese.com on this page, which will earn me a free month’s subscription. The other way to get get custom character lists is to create them within the trainchinese Chinese Writer game. You can create and save multiple custom character lists. As mentioned in the follow-up review, you add characters to a list by searching the inventory of characters included in the game. You can, however, enter a number of characters in the search box and get all the results … [read more]

Sep 252011
iOS app HanCard updated

The flashcard app, HanCard, has been updated to offer pre-made card sets for popular textbooks, such as Integrated Chinese and New Practical Chinese Reader, as well as for the HSK exam. These sets are available as in-app purchases at various prices. The first chapter of each textbook is available for free. You can also test the functionality of the app with the included free card sets (most frequent characters and Hong Kong grade levels).

Aug 122011
Study tool: www.hskflashcards.com

Although the HSK Exam (汉语水平考试 / 漢語水平考試) changed in 2010, I still recommend the website www.hskflashcards.com. As the name implies, there is a built-in flashcard feature (not Flash-based!). The functionality is pretty basic: you see hanzi (traditional, simplified, or both) and you think whether you know the pinyin and English meaning. Flip to check if you were right and click 对 or 错 as appropriate. The flashcards are not limited to the old HSK. You can also test yourself on vocabulary from New Practical Chinese Reader, Practical Chinese Reader, or Integrated Chinese (2nd or 3rd ed.) The interface is pretty slick but not immediately intuitive, so here are some tips: Use the sliders to chose the range of words included in the test. While testing, buttons for flipping the card, moving forward and backward, marking correct or incorrect, etc. are hidden until you mouse over them. You can also use the keyboard instead … [read more]