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]
This is the second in my series of posts for those of you just beginning Chinese this academic year (the first covered iOS apps for learning sounds and pinyin). Once again, the focus here is on free, lite, or low-cost apps (check out the iOS tag for more). Please remember that purchasing apps through the links on this site will help support it (for more info, see About Zhongweb). If you don’t have an iOS device, or just want more info on stroke order, please see the page on “Character stroke order websites.” Writing Chinese characters with proper stroke order Chinese Writer by Popup Chinese has a tutorial mode to teach you the basic rules and a practice mode (simplified or traditional characters). Can be a bit fussy registering your strokes. The inventory of characters is fixed. Chinese Characters First Steps by The Open University has a “writing practice” mode that shows … [read more]
This pad is made like a desktop calendar. Each page has one character and little boxes around the outside of the page for you to practice writing it. For each character, you also get the stroke order and a list of common phrases with the character so you can start using it in context. A second volume is also available. . .
After I wrote my initial review of the Chinese Writer game from trainchinese, the developer posted a very detailed response in the comments, which I very much appreciate. A day or two ago they released an update which addresses some of my wish list: There is now a choice of traditional or simplified characters. The game now displays the high score for each character pack in a nice little scrolling ticker. Other changes: The instructions, while clear enough before, seem improved (although my memory of them is not perfect). A “freeze” button has been added onto the more complex character which lets you slow down the speed. A change that wasn’t what I expected: One of the items on my earlier wishlist was to be able to add your own wordlist. I had thought from the update’s description (“build custom packs by searching for characters”) that users could now build a custom … [read more]
From the trainchinese.com people comes a new iOS game where you score by writing characters quickly with correct stroke order. A character will fall from the top of the screen, you tap it to freeze it in the middle of the screen, then you trace over it with correct stroke order as fast as you can. If you make wrong strokes, you get a “wrong” indicator but can keep trying up to the time limit for the word. Fast writing (很快!) will get you double points; really fast (非常快!) will get you triple. Note: this is not to be confused with the app Chinese Writer by the folks at Popup Chinese, which is a nice, free tutorial-style intro to the rules of stroke order. Pros: The app shows the pinyin and an English definition for each character. Due to the speed of the game, you’re not likely to learn totally new characters while … [read more]