Good iphone/ipad apps for chinese (esp character) practice?
July 21, 2015 6:13 PM   Subscribe

So I decided to take the plunge and begin studying the chinese characters (before now I was still studying chinese, but only focusing on pinyin and speaking). My chinese teacher is elated! And I'm deflated. What are some good tools for study?

One thing that would be great would be an app with stroke orders.. I've found websites, but not an app.

Another thing I'd appreciate would be a good app for entering the characters, ideally that recognizes them (to tell me if I'm wrong). This would be really good for practicing on the go, when pen and paper aren't practical.

Besides that, I'm totally open to any suggestions you have. Some people have mentioned Heisig's book, so I'm wondering if there are any good anki decks for that (or just for studying characters at all). I welcome your advice!
posted by wooh to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you add Chinese as a language to your iOS device, you can write characters using your finger. It's a good way to practice characters that you've already learned.
posted by wintersweet at 6:36 PM on July 21, 2015

Skritter requires a subscription, and it's a little bit pricey, but it's fantastic for vocabulary/character review. And it tests your ability to write the characters including the correct stroke order.

Pleco is a dictionary app with handwriting recognition. It's free, but I've bought a couple of the add-ons -- the OCR is a killer app.
posted by Jeanne at 6:51 PM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Pleco is awesome. Skritter is great too. Both are well worth the full price - Pleco has a student price for the add-ons.

I had the anki app, but the Pleco flashcard app has spaced repetition and was much easier to use immediately.

Get a stylus if you can, and my chinese teacher said he doesn't recommend beginners write characters any longer because practising on a keyboard entry is more immediately useful. He says he barely writes by hand now and just types everything.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:00 PM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Seconding both Skritter and Pleco. Personally I don't spend much time on writing, mostly reading. I have a shorter list of characters that I practice writing from time to time -- characters I find especially interesting, beautiful, or want to ingrain more deeply into my brain.
posted by isthmus at 8:15 PM on July 21, 2015

If you have iOS, I also recommend the iLearnChinese app. It gives you more context and history about the characters. I find it very helpful to know what a character originally depicted, and to see how it evolved. iLearnChinese is great for that. It has its own study order, example usages, and pretty good quizzes. I think it's a good tool to use in parallel with a more serious flashcard system.
posted by isthmus at 8:18 PM on July 21, 2015

I like the Kanji LS app for Japanese characters - it lets you draw the character, then replays the strokes you drew side by side with the ones you should have drawn, and leaves it up to you to say whether or not you got it right. And there's a Chinese version, Chinese LS Touch, for both Android and iOS. You can see a fairly thorough video walkthrough (of the Android version, but I doubt there's much difference) here.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 3:15 AM on July 25, 2015

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