Dec 282012
iPad apps: iGo Chinese

IQChinese is a series of apps for children; four progressive levels are currently offered. The core of each app is a story. This is supplemented with songs, quizzes, and writing practice. I looked at iGo Chinese vol. 4 for the purposes of this review. The app settings let you choose between simplified or traditional characters. From the starting screen, there are several options. Lesson/Story These are essentially the same thing. The story is 24 pages total. The lessons are this story divided into six lessons of four pages each. Each page is a still image with audio. The text of the dialogue is printed in boxes on the pages. The text always has characters with pinyin underneath. You can’t hide the text or even hide just the pinyin. But you’ll be glad the pinyin was there when you see what the quizzes are like. You can play the story (or … [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]

May 132011

Recently I got to hear a student sing her own translation of “Friday” by Rebecca Black into ancient Greek. Only slightly less impressive is the Chinese version by dawen (@_dawen_) on YouTube, which I learned about the same day (thanks to a retweet by @MandarinSx of a tweet by @EastAsiaStudent). The video is subtitled in tradtional characters, but the artist has added simplified and pinyin lyrics to the description. Apart from all the days of the week, a good thing for beginning students of Chinese to listen for is all the “location” expressions with 在. There’s 在前面,在后面,在右边,and the question 在哪儿. More advanced students can listen for the places where the lyrics are not a literal translation of the English.

Feb 072011
"Bad Project"

This is a very entertaining parody of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” made by the Hui Zheng lab. They actually sing a few lines of Chinese in the video (at about the 3:50 mark). The lines (which are a translation of the previous few English lines in the song) are: 我要工作。wǒ yào gōngzuò. 我也要自由。wǒ yě yào zìyóu. 我要工作。wǒ yào gōngzuò. 但我没有学位。/ 但我沒有學位。dàn wǒ méiyǒu xuéwèi.  Thanks to a good friend who does medical research for sending me the link to this video. Warning: some mild profanity. You probably saw the test tubes labeled with Chinese characters at about the 2:35 mark. Look more closely at those in the image below. Can you read what they say?