Note that by giving this offline app away free (without requiring any permissions and without advertisements) we hope to establish our name as a reliable source of Mandarin Chinese learning apps.
Though we have been learning Mandarin Chinese for 4 years, we still struggle to read the characters. To pass the HSK level 3 exam, you need to be able to read about 600 different Chinese characters. This was never going to be easy, but we have found a way to make it easier.
Chinese characters have a structure. Just as English words are constructed from individual letters, Chinese characters are constructed from official ‘Radicals’ and other part characters. Sometimes one part of the character will tell you what the character sounds like whilst another part indicates the root meaning.
It is easier if you learn the characters in the 'right' order. We think it helps to learn all the parts of a character before learning the character itself (like learning the 26-letters before learning simple words).
When you do make a mistake and confuse two characters of similar appearance, such as 了 & 子, we think it helps to have a diagnosis. Similarly if you confuse the sound Shao with Xiao, a diagnosis helps. Lastly if you confuse words like 'autumn' for 'winter', it helps to know they are both seasons.
“Shănkă” is a multiple choice Flashcard app for HSK levels 1, 2 and 3. It teaches all the parts of a character before teaching the character itself. Shănkă also confirms the pronunciation of the word (recorded by a native Mandarin speaker 孙 卉卉/Hui Hui Sun).
In contrast to other flashcard apps that we have used, Shănkă always offers a random set of plausible alternatives to the correct answer with similar sounds, similar appearance, similar meaning or with the same concept (number, season, pronoun, etc).
When you make a mistake, Shănkă explains what the difference is between the answer you chose and the correct answer.
When you get a Chinese word incorrect, Shănkă schedules a retest almost immediately. When you get an answer correct, Shănkă schedules a retest for the future. The more times you get it correct consecutively, the further into the future the next reminder is scheduled.
Shănkă shows the breakdown of a character so you can see the structure of the character and spot any sound-alikes.
Shănkă never gets tired. It knows where you got to and picks up where you left off.
This first version is available free of charge. We intend to add a variety of other features in the future. We invite your feedback.
Enquiries to [email protected]ănkă.co.uk Please report any bugs with version and phone type to [email protected]ănkă.co.uk
This app makes use of freely available Kanxi radical characters definitions and the free CE Dict Chinese-English dictionary (http://www.mdbg.net/chindict/chindict.php?page=cedict ) to provide English definitions.
The app uses HanaMinA font for the display of part Chinese characters.
Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) is a Chinese government system of teaching mandarin Chinese for foreigners. This app supports HSK level 1 (150 words), level 2 (150 words) and level 3 (300) words.
Easy to use
The first major positive I noticed was that the installation does NOT ask for intrusive permissions like so many so-called free apps (it is never clear to me exactly why these need access to our contacts etc..). I tried the first level of characters, the app gives some encouraging feedback when the answer is wrong but close, true to the educational intent. Otherwise the first screen is a little slow to load on my Samsung 10 inch tablet.
A good start and I like the focused vocabulary idea, although I'm not interested in the characters, only the pinyin.