The other day I introduced several apps that I find make life in China easier. Today I’d like to recommend a few more specific to learning Chinese. While I like learning Chinese I’m especially bad a picking up a book and sitting down to study. That’s why I like apps so much. It’s almost like playing a game and you can learn for just a few minutes while your waiting for someone to arrive, or waiting for a bus. These are some of the apps that I like to use to study chinese! (As before, the apps are all free unless I mention otherwise.)
This is a Chinese writing app that I gave a full review of a few months ago when it was first released, but I wanted to bring you up to speed now, almost 6 months later. It wasn’t just a short term thing, I’m still using this one almost daily, putting in between 5 and 10 minutes a day. It might not sound like much, but it adds up. In the past 6 months I’ve done about 35 hours on this app alone. 35 hours. And have I seen results? Oh yeah. The other day in chinese class I forgot to do my homework, a little essay about advising a friend not to quit studying chinese. My teacher told me to write it then, and not even 5 minutes later I had a 100+ character essay that just flowed from my pen. I forgot how to write a few of the words, and my grammar was pretty bad, but most of the characters came out written properly, and in proper stroke order to boot. I credit this app 100% for that.
While the app is free, the service isn’t. I pay $60 a year, but there are shorter-term contracts too, if you just want to try it out.
HSK Test (by Popup Chinese)
The HSK is a government test for foreigners to prove the level of their language and is a requirement for many jobs or entrance to Chinese universities. For instance, if a foreign student wants to attend class with Chinese people, they must pass HSK-4. There are 6 in total. This is an app that just asks you a series of questions from for HSK tests so you can practice. The key to passing most standardized tests is practice, so this app really helps with that.
This is a simple listening app that helps you with tones. Foreigners have a hard time listening to and recognizing the 4 tones in Mandarin and messing them up can have a disastrous affect. For instance water, who and sleep are all pronounced the same “shui” but have different tones. I have a lot of trouble with listening so this app helps. You listen to a word, then you chose from a list. The free version only gives you about 20 words a day, but even that little helps I think.
Like the Skritter app this one helps you practice writing. While it is not as comprehensive or as thorough as the Skritter one, it is fun to do because it is a little game. A Chinese character slowly falls from the top of the screen to the bottom and you only have a short time to write it correctly. They show it to you, so it’s not all about recall, but you have to write it in proper stroke order. If you take too long, the character falls off the screen and you get one point against you. You miss 4 characters and you lose.