Hello Chinese App Update ~1/3 Complete

I came back to using ‘Hello Chinese’, had mentioned it before on this website.

There were some bugs, some of which have been fixed. The main one that I have noticed is that the speaking exercises work (for the most part).

Here is my current status,

hello_chinese_july_26_2016

Basically, I have usually been doing one exercise each day which is “20 points”. When I first started, since I had already been learning Chinese for two years, the early exercises were not too hard, so I would do two sets of exercises each day.

Today, I also did two sets, including a speaking exercise set.

Unlike Chinese Skill, not every exercise is ‘graded’ so to say. You can make mistakes and keep going, it just takes a bit longer if you make mistakes.

The speaking exercises do give you a score though.

hello_chinese_july_26_2016_speaking

You get that score based on the individual exercises in the sets, for example

hello_chinese_speaking_mistakes

I missed two tones in that one, which is somewhat typical for me to miss a few.

Sometimes I get all the tones right (and this is according to the app, which seems to be somewhat accurate but probably is not perfect).

hello_chinese_perfect_speaking

The final exercise set in a group of exercise sets is entirely speaking. You can choose to do them or skip them. It says something a little funny, “10 Minutes a Day, Fluency in 3 Months!”. Which is not especially accurate, but you can learn quite a bit in three months.

hello_chinese_july_26_2016_speaking_exercise

Hello Chinese places a bit of emphasis on writing. However, the characters you learn do not really seem to flow in an order that is easy to pick up. Some characters are fairly simple and others are quite complicated.

I like how they teach each individual character though. The direction for each stroke is shown and you can trace them first.

hello_chinese_writing_trace

After you trace though, you need to write it from memory with the correct stroke directions.

hello_chinese_writing_blank

At this point, if the character is simple, sometimes I get it right away. Other times, I get a few strokes right and then guess what might be next. If you do the wrong stroke a few times in a row though, the app shows you an outline of where it should be. So sometimes I just use brute force to get through the characters.

You can focus on any individual character and review it multiple times. That seems like the better way to actually learn them.

To do that, click on the left circle on the bottom for characters. You can also review words and grammar by clicking on those circles. (This is on the “Me” screen.

hello_chinese_july_26_2016

Overall, I like the app quite a bit and I think I will continue working through the rest of it. I have completed about a third of it now. Compared to Chinese Skill, it places more emphasis on speaking compared to writing with characters.

It’s not a bad place to start with learning Chinese I think. But what I used was the Pimsleur CDs with a lot of repetition. The repetition with the audio helped me a lot, but I imagine you could also simply repeat the exercises using this app. And seeing things visually can be useful.

I also did an exercise set in Chinese Skill just now and actually did manage to get a writing exercise correct. Those exercises were pretty difficult for me for a while, especially with longer sentences since you have to write entirely in characters and one mistake will get it marked wrong. Basically, I write using pinyin as I hear it and that is turned into characters. I recognize some characters, but definitely not all. So I’m partly relying on the the cpu to recognize what I’m trying to say, which it often does.

chinese_skill_writing_piano

Let me know if you have any thoughts on either of these two apps!

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