Sunday, June 11, 2017

I'm seriously addicted to these language apps!

Clockwise from top left: StickyStudy Chinese (HSK Hanzi SRS Flashcard), AnkiMobile Flashcards, Clavis Sinica Xiezi HSK Levels 1-3, TrainChinese: Dictionary & Flashcards

Since I started getting more serious in learning Mandarin, I am now addicted to these apps! I cannot go by one day without using them. And that is amusing since I have always hated studying Chinese. 

The catalyst to it all is the Anki app. I uploaded 5 pre-built flashcards decks from Chinese Audio Flashcards and these flashcards worked for me because they come in sentences giving context to the words I'm learning. 

HSK Flashcard in Anki

I progressed so well with the decks that I re-downloaded the StickyStudy app to help me view it character by character and word by word as and when I like. I can't do that with Anki, with it being a true Spaced Repetition System (SRS) app, where you will only see the cards when it's time for you to see the card. You can't call it up by choice. 

HSK Vocabulary Cards in StickyStudy

I have also began to use a lot of TrainChinese which I find is the best of all Chinese dictionary apps. The free version allows you to keep two lists of words in flashcard form. I wonder if there is a word limit to the free version. 

Screenshots of TrainChinese

I blogged a few days ago about Chinese writing being at risk. About a week before reading that BBC article, I did start using a notebook to practice my Chinese writing, but I found carrying a physical book with me quite cumbersome. 

So me being me, I naturally went hunting and found the Clavis Sinica Chinese character trainer app. In just 2 days, I have already practiced and put to memory 153 characters, compared to just 22 words I have in my notebook after one week. 

The only thing I'm not happy with it is that the app has not been updated since 2012. I hope they will update it soon with the upcoming iOS 11. 

Screenshots of CS Xiezi Character Trainer

These apps are money well spent, since I am not taking any classes or hiring any teachers anyway. 

They only cost me:
- StickyStudy RM16.90/$4.99
- Anki RM104.90/$25
   HSK Flashcards RM45/$10 with 
   a promo-code
- TrainChinese is free but it comes with
   an annual subscription for premium use
- CS Xiezi HSK 1-3 RM16.90/$4.99
Total = RM183.70/$44.98


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