Dec 012011
Sinosplice tooltip plugin for Wordpress

You may have noticed a nifty new feature in the last post: a tooltip-style pop-up that lets you see pinyin when you hover your cursor over hanzi (dashed underlining indicates that a tooltip is available). This is made possible by a WordPress plugin called “Sinosplice Tooltips” originally developed for Sinosplice, an excellent Chinese language and culture blog. The admin experience The plugin was super-easy to install and configure. I appreciated the ability to pick one of four color schemes to match reasonably well with this blog. Once installed and configured, adding the tooltips is also extremely simple using the quicktag that gets added to the WordPress html editor by default (but can be disabled) during installation. You just enter the pinyin you want, using tone numbers, and it gets automatically converted to proper tone marks. Here’s how the interface looks: Note that the Tooltips will not appear in the WordPress … [read more]

Nov 202011
Song lyrics with pinyin

There are any number of sources of Chinese pop music to integrate into your studies (for example, see the post on Chinese radio iOS apps), but unless you are quite advanced, it will probably be difficult to make out most of the lyrics 歌词. Here are some sites with a selection of lyrics in pinyin and hanzi. Each takes a different approach to the display of the lyrics and how English is incorporated, if at all. The website has a selection of songs with lyrics displayed in simplified characters with interlinear pinyin. This arrangement is like ruby annotation and let’s you easily follow both hanzi and pinyin while listening. It utilizes tool-tip type pop-ups to let you see English translations of individual words (although some words seem not to be linked). Audio files (mp3 and/or wav) are available for download (legally, I hope); YouTube videos are embedded at the … [read more]

Oct 182011
Phonetic guide in iOS app Keynote

The same phonetic guide feature available in Pages (see yesterday’s post) works in Keynote for iOS! Also, I forgot to mention in the Pages post that you can add phonetic guide text (aka ruby text) in zhuyin (bopomofo) as well as pinyin! So you can use either pinyin or zhuyin in both Pages and Keynote. You can see zhuyin in the screenshot from Keynote on an iPhone, below. A couple of notes on formatting: the guide text will take on the color of the main text. It seems as if you must set your main font text size before adding the phonetic guide; after the guide text is added, the text wouldn’t resize properly in my testing. Also in my quick test, centering seemed thrown off by the guide text and had to be adjusted by eye. It’s still disappointing that you lose the phonetic guide text if you open the … [read more]

Oct 172011
Phonetic guide in iOS app Pages

The update to Pages for iOS that came out last week (version 1.5) brought the ability to add phonetic guides (aka “ruby text”) to Chinese characters! Pinyin (UPDATE: or Zhuyin) transliterations can be added above hanzi (there are variations for Japanese and Korean, too). The transliteration is done automatically for the selected word(s); you do not have to enter it manually. A good feature of this implementation is the ease with which you can edit the supplied transliteration (I found trying to edit phonetic guide text in OpenOffice very frustrating). The image to the left above shows the pinyin supplied by default for the selected words; the image to the right shows the same after manual editing (since these are proper names). Pros: Transliterations supplied automatically. Ability to edit transliterations when first adding them or at a later time. Cons, major: Phonetic guides are not supported in Pages for Mac, … [read more]

Sep 082011
iOS app: Pinyin Typist

The input methods (“keyboards”) provided within iOS include one that lets you produce hanzi by typing the pinyin for the character, but what if you actually want to type the pinyin transliteration itself, with proper tone marks? You can almost do this with the English input of iOS. ā, á, and à are all easy to get by holding down the a key and picking from the palette (same with e , i, o, and u). But how do you get an ǎ when using an iOS device, like the iPad I’m typing on right now? Until a couple of days ago, I would have drafted this in the WordPress iOS app and then gone to a computer to stick in anything with a third tone before I could post. But a couple of days ago, I was given a promotional copy of Pinyin Typist by its developer, Wayne Wong. … [read more]