I should say I’m very impressive on this native iphone teaching app iChinese, after some playing around. Why? because it has an easy-to-use UI, a very practical and considerable customization setting and finally a really good and robust implementation.
Now i wanna give you a close look step by step.
Add the developer’s site http://ichinese.de/repo to Installer’s source, then find and install iChinese from the Learning category. The most recent version is v1.0.2.
Now that the author has also submitted the app to ModMyiPhone source, you can also install it without adding the source manually. So does Cydia. Only one thing: now it’s v1.0.1, not v1.0.2.
I suggest you add the author’s site to your installer since that will get you the latest version.
Launch iChinese and you will enter the main interface as below (picture from iChinese official site).
Before you start learning by clicking the button Learn with Trainer or Learn On Your Own on the main menu, you need first download the Chinese-English Dictionary(Demo), related Chinese Characters(Demo) and Lesson 1(to 4, if you want. I choose 1 to 2) from the Library interface. Here’s what you should get so far.
Ok, now let’s start. Click Learn With Trainer from the main interface to enter the Trainer, do as the pop-up says(picture left below), and see what your score is(right below). right, you are on your way now.
You may noticed that i’ve add 3 circles on the screenshots ablove. Reason? well, that’s why i say this app has a VERY PRACTICAL and CONSIDERATE customization setting here. ‘Coz all that can be set by yourself in the following Settings interface.
Don’t forget to tap the three balls one by one to check out what each exactly means to your training and scoring.
Well, the values shown in the picture has been changed by me. You decide yours. Basically by adjusting these values, you can decide how your training lessons will go and how hard the testing could be.
Talking about of this customization, I hope the author can put a Reset button here, by which i can restore all values to the default, esp. after all has been massed up before i completely understand the meaning of each. It would help a lot, i believe.
BTW, one more thing should be mentioned here: when you are asked to write Chinese characters, just write exactly stroke by stroke, in the right order. Never try to connect two or more strokes together or you will get a message saying ‘wrong number of strokes in character 1‘.
This is definitely good to the beginners. They need do good in the very beginning. And writing in the right stroke order is very very important in learning Chinese characters.
However, it sometimes may be frustrating, like in the following Lookup function, when I wanna find out what an unknown character really means.
But, perhaps, this kinda of use may beyond what iChinese is supposed to do. Well, fyi here
Here you can find out the meaning of a Chinese character by stroke-writing , PinYin-input and English letter. Very easy to use, no more explanation needed, UI says all.
Last but not least, iChinese is a commercial software. The lessons and demo dictionaries are free, but if you wanna get more lessons and dictionaries, you have to pay for them. Details on the official site.
So, all in all, learning Chinese is not an easy task. But if you really wanna do it, a tool like iChinese would help a lot, esp. in the beginning phase.
For the author, if iChinese wanna meet well the need of those people who already learned a lot and will take iChinese more as an Chinese lookup dictionary than an learning application, you have to improve the hand-writing recognition part.
I’m just imagining an iChinese with a HWPen-similar input 😉