Skritter Review – A Fun and Effective App to Learn to Write Chinese

To try the app out for yourself, follow this link, then click 'log in', then 'create an account' to sign up and get a 14 day free trial (instead of the usual 7 days), then download the app on your phone and log in. When I was studying Chinese at university, I was always also quick to catch on to any gadgets or new pieces of software that might be able to help me learn Chinese – especially reading and writing characters. I had various pieces of flashcard software, including Anki, which I Continue Reading

How to get your iPhone/iPad to read out Chinese texts

You might not know this, but all of the recent iPhone/ iPad and iPod Touch models (with iOS 6+) have a Mandarin and Cantonese text-to-speech function built in. Or to put it another way, you can highlight any section of text on the screen and have your device read aloud for you in standard Mandarin or Cantonese. You can get text read from any application, and you can even slow down the speech as you go so you can keep up and read along. For Chinese, there are three voices built in, a Continue Reading

How to use Chinese handwriting recognition on the iPhone/iPad

For iPhone / iPad users learning Chinese, it is possible to enter characters simply by writing them on the screen. You don't even have to write them exactly right, even if you get the stroke order wrong or it doesn't look pretty, the software can usually recognise what you write - and if you use this method to enter characters into a dictionary app like Pleco or a dictionary website like nciku, then it makes looking up characters much much easier than using a regular dictionary. Some apps Continue Reading

How to access the Chinese dictionary on the iPhone/iPad

Another great feature for Chinese learners which is built in to the iPhone is the dictionary. Sure, there are a number of dictionary apps that you can install that have much more advanced capabilities, but for the convenience of looking up words in any application, this is a useful feature! Ever use your phone to read websites or books in a foreign language, but find it impossible because there are too many words you don’t know? Now you can look up words as you go, and do a little reading Continue Reading

How to Learn Chinese Fast – My Best Way to Learn Mandarin

Here is my new resource for everybody: how to learn Chinese fast. In the video I  talk about three things. 1)       What resources do you need to study Chinese? 2)       How should you start to learn? 3)       How can you progress?   What resources do you need? A lot of people want to learn Chinese fast, but they pay too much attention to what books, CDs or software they start with, when the most important thing is always getting started. Still, my advice would be try to Continue Reading

101 Reasons Why Learning Chinese Is Easy

Is learning Chinese hard? An age-old debate among language learners is whether Chinese is exponentially more difficult to learn than other languages. Here are 101 reasons why it is easy to learn to understand, speak, read and write Mandarin Chinese, why there are actually a lot of things in your favour and how there are a lot of tools that can help you. Chinese, like any other language, is just made up of repeated patterns, which can be practised and learnt. Verbs don’t conjugate in Continue Reading

How to Practise Writing Chinese Characters Online

In Parts 1 and 2 of this series on how to write Chinese characters, we talked about the basic strokes that make up each Chinese character and also some basic principles behind the order in which you write the strokes in Chinese characters. These basic components and rules give you a foundation to get started, but they are not enough on their own to tell you how to write any Chinese character. In order to get into writing full characters, you need a lot of practice. First a word on the order Continue Reading

Essential Rules for Stroke Order in Chinese Characters

Basic Principles For Writing Chinese Characters In Part 1, I explained the basic types of strokes that make up every Chinese character. Now, before we move on to practising full characters, let's look at some of the principles behind which order to write the strokes in. Before I explain this, bear in mind two things 1) These are not 'rules', but 'general principles' to keep in mind when you are writing Chinese characters, and 2) Don't worry about how these principles work exactly, because Continue Reading