It has been my goal since getting home from China almost two years ago to develop language learning games. It has now gotten to the point that I have learned enough computer languages that I feel more comfortable in creating games for consumption by the public.

I have actually made two games, within the span of two weeks, in late January. After starting this blog, I was feeling guilty saying that I want to develop language learning games, but have not actually produced anything. The first game is a ‘one of these things is not like the other’ game – you have to find the one 汉字 that is not like the others in the grid. The other game is a matching game, which takes advantage of html5 drag and drop elements.

I am also taking an Iphone App development course right now!

My goal is to form an LLC, publish a website with some games, and publish some apps by the end of this summer. I am hoping that by starting with simple games, the business can build a good reputation.

Right now, it’s frustrating because the strategy and implementation is mostly still in my head. I will also not be able to make much progress until I finish this semester. I am taking the supposedly hardest class of my program, Distributed Information Systems, at the moment.

 

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::sigh::

I’m behind the times on this one. I just tried to go onto Translationzilla for the purpose of writing this blog entry, they had a pretty fun game for learning Chinese and Japanese. However, when I went to go to their website just now, I saw the message that they’ve decided to close.

http://translationzilla.com/

I’ve known about it for a year, and I was just on it last month.

This blog describes in detail Translationzilla in its glory days.

http://slapstart.com/2010/01/translationzilla-learning-languages-shouldnt-be-this-fun/

One one hand, I was always a bit skeptical of people paying for their service since the game was fully functional for free. On the other hand, I was hoping this would inspire others to  make other games that were also fun. I believe there needs to be MORE games for language learners. It shouldn’t just be flashcards and pod casts.

I think that one of the most important aspects of language learning is simply organizing yourself, and keeping track of the words that have been learned.

I like physical flashcards, but I’m always afraid that I’m going to lose a word! It is also impractical after learning a few hundred words of a foreign language.

I have tried some free online flashcards, but the ones that I like the best are from BKYI.com. BYKI stands for Before You Know It. The flashcard system that they use tests users on several different levels (review, recognize, know, produce, own) it give you the ones that you got wrong more often then the ones you get right. I also find it very motivational that when you clear a level it plays victory music!

The company offers BYKI lite, which is fully functional with 90+ lists, the only feature disabled is the ability to add your own stack of flashcards until you’ve purchased it. I like the premade stacks, because they are organized by topic! It’s a great free product for beginners, and definitely worth it to buy it once you are at an intermediate to advanced level.

I would like to ask how other language learners are keeping track of their words. Do you use an electronic flashcard system? excel spreadsheet? a diary?

Here is another word that is practically the same in Chinese and Japanese:

Simplified Chinese: 可爱 Kě’ài (keh-eye)

Tradistional Chinese: 可愛 Kě’ài (keh-eye)

Japanese: 可愛い kawaii (kah-why-E)

可 is a very common hanzi used in Chinese, it means ‘able to/can’ so cute is ‘can love’

好可爱! Hǎo kě’ài! (How-keh-eye)  = very cute in Chinese

很可爱!Hěn kě’ài (hen-keh-eye) = very cute in Chinese

可愛いすぎる! kawaiisugiru (kah-why-E-sue-gi (like the taekwando uniform) – ruh) = too cute! – In Japanese.

 

I came across this tool called Praat about 6 years ago when I was taking a linguistics course in college. 

I find it to be a very useful, and totally free, language learning tool. Especially for learning Chinese tones.

Once it is downloaded and install, all you have to do are the following steps:

1) Go to the “Praat Objects” window, it one of the default windows that opens, and it’s the one that isn’t pink.

2. Press ctr+r

3. Near the bottom of the screen there is a button that says ‘record’, prepare what you want to say and when you press record it will start to record right away.

4. press stop, if you aren’t happy with the recording, just press record again. If you are happy, give it a name and click the button that says ‘save to list and close’

5. Your recording will show up on the left hand side. click on it, and then click on ‘view & edit’

6. This opens up a chart. See the bottom one that has a blue line? That blue line is your pitch (tone.) Your tone should look something like the tone charts that are available online.

Here’s a link to a much better written overview of Praat, one with pictures!

http://www.sinosplice.com/life/archives/2008/01/21/seeing-the-tones-of-mandarin-chinese-with-praat

I just feel that this language learning tool just can’t get enough attention!

It may be more manual than paying a $100+ for a piece of software to analyze it for me, but it is free, and does exactly what I need it to do, and it is great for self-study!

This is where you can get Praat from:

http://praat.en.softonic.com/download

There are certain words and phrases that exist in both Chinese and Japanese that are exactly the same. However, for the most part, the characters retain the same English meaning, but are used in widely different situations.

This is the first post on this topic so I would like to propose a cheers!

English Meaning: proposing a toast.

Chinese Simplified: 干杯

Chinese Traditional: 乾杯

Japanese: 乾杯

Pronunciation: Chinese- Gānbēi , Japanese – Kanpai

There are sites out there that will tell you more in detail this ‘cheers’ tradition. However, it is important to note that if you actually say Gānbēi or Kanpai you need to drain your glass dry and then show the other person your empty cup.

Hi, thank you very much for taking the time to visit this blog. 

My name is Amy, and I am very interested in Asian culture. I have studied both Japanese and Chinese, lived in both China and Japan, and I am now in school to be a computer programmer. I hope to be able to produce something soon to contribute to the Asian language learning community. I have always appreciated reading other people’s blogs on this subject in the past, and I hope that my future posts are helpful.