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  1. Comment on I'm working on an app for learning Chinese, anyone interested in helping me test it? in ~tech

    Hello
    Link Parent
    I think I've fixed this now, but if you see it again let me know. Thanks again!

    I think I've fixed this now, but if you see it again let me know. Thanks again!

    1 vote
  2. Comment on I'm working on an app for learning Chinese, anyone interested in helping me test it? in ~tech

    Hello
    Link Parent
    Hey, thanks for the suggestions! Good point. I'll consider adding a raw APK link to the home page at some point, but in the meantime you can try this:...

    Hey, thanks for the suggestions!

    Though, I do have an Android device, I do not have access to the Google play store. It would be nice if there was just an APK download.

    Good point. I'll consider adding a raw APK link to the home page at some point, but in the meantime you can try this:

    http://data.dong-chinese.com/apk/dong-chinese.apk

    I just uploaded it now, so I haven't actually verified yet whether or not it will function correctly. I think everything should work normally, except that I'm pretty sure that the log-in with Google function will not work since this APK file isn't signed with the Google play key.

    That way the second 是 can't be copied from the revealed 是 if the first one is skipped.

    If the user writes the first 是 incorrectly, it will be already be marked as incorrect for that sentence and they won't get any credit for writing the second one correctly. Given that, I don't see any harm in letting them copy from the revealed character.

    As I find I learn better when I have to type it, and it's more fulfilling.

    That's something I'll consider, the only thing I'm worried about is people who don't have a Chinese keyboard installed and don't know how to input characters in a text field. By default I'll probably leave it as it is now, but maybe I'll add an option in the settings to enable something like that.

    Are there any plans for a listening section?

    I have thought about it a number of times, but there are a few details that make me unsure of how to design it properly.

    • How to make a listening exercise where you can't "cheat" by reading. If I have a fill-in-the-blank exercise with visible characters, the user can just read them without having to listen. The only thing I've thought of is multiple-choice where you have to listen to each option, but I suspect that it would be rather tedious for the user.
    • How will listening progress interact with reading/writing progress. Right now, if you only write characters, it will also increase your reading scores because you can probably read a character if you can write it. The reverse is not true - doing reading exercises will not increase writing scores. I'm not sure whether or not listening should be treated as a completely separate skill.

    Thanks again for the feedback, I really appreciate it!

    1 vote
  3. Comment on I'm working on an app for learning Chinese, anyone interested in helping me test it? in ~tech

    Hello
    Link Parent
    Hi, thanks for the comments. Just a few things I'm having trouble reproducing or confused about: I just tried taking a test and canceled it midway. When I started it again it started afresh from...

    Hi, thanks for the comments. Just a few things I'm having trouble reproducing or confused about:

    Cancelling the test midway and the restarting doesn't seem possible.

    I just tried taking a test and canceled it midway. When I started it again it started afresh from the beginning.
    Were you expecting it to start in the middle from where you canceled it before?

    Would prefer entering a full sentence instead of one word at a time, which I find really slow

    I'm not sure I envision what this would look like. You would write the characters small enough to write the whole sentence in the box?

    Might be nice to be able to skip a single word and not the entire writing question.

    Are you talking about the test? If you tap skip during the writing test it only skips one character (and marks it as wrong).

    Suggestion - maybe add ability for someone to write a quick explanation or fix sentence when sending feedback if they choose

    In the feedback form there's an "other reason" text field where you can write anything. Did you have something else in mind?

    2 votes
  4. Comment on I'm working on an app for learning Chinese, anyone interested in helping me test it? in ~tech

    Hello
    Link Parent
    Oh, yes that's an issue. I know why it's happening, it should be a fairly simple fix

    Oh, yes that's an issue. I know why it's happening, it should be a fairly simple fix

    2 votes
  5. Comment on I'm working on an app for learning Chinese, anyone interested in helping me test it? in ~tech

    Hello
    Link Parent
    Good to know, thanks!

    Good to know, thanks!

    2 votes
  6. Comment on I'm working on an app for learning Chinese, anyone interested in helping me test it? in ~tech

    Hello
    Link Parent
    There are a number of differences that I think set apart my app from other apps for learning Chinese: Full sentences: A lot of apps are basically flashcards that drill memorization of individual...

    There are a number of differences that I think set apart my app from other apps for learning Chinese:

    • Full sentences: A lot of apps are basically flashcards that drill memorization of individual words, but don't show how words are used in full context. Dong Chinese searches for full sentences containing the vocabulary that has been introduced to you and quizzes you on them. Similarly, most apps that have handwriting practice only drill individual characters, but when you do writing on Dong Chinese, you have to write complete sentences.
    • Based on frequency statistics: many apps introduce vocabulary either thematically or according to HSK word lists. Dong Chinese introduces words based on frequency, so that you learn the most common words first.
    • Data-based progress reports: Dong Chinese is the only app I know of that will estimate the percentage of characters in books and movie subtitles that you understand, and show graphs of your progress over time.
    • Media recommendation: Dong Chinese recommends things to watch that are comprehensible to you based on what words you know.
    • Explanations of character origins: When a new character is introduced to you, it explains how the character is formed and what its component parts are.
    4 votes
  7. Comment on I'm working on an app for learning Chinese, anyone interested in helping me test it? in ~tech

    Hello
    Link Parent
    As Fierre said, the simple answer is that it means "understand" in Chinese, but actually I wrote a blog post about this topic.

    As Fierre said, the simple answer is that it means "understand" in Chinese, but actually I wrote a blog post about this topic.

    4 votes
  8. Comment on I'm working on an app for learning Chinese, anyone interested in helping me test it? in ~tech

    Hello
    Link Parent
    I tried to implement some spaced repetition concepts. It does remember the history of when you last saw a character, and whether or not you got it right or wrong, and makes decisions based on...

    I tried to implement some spaced repetition concepts. It does remember the history of when you last saw a character, and whether or not you got it right or wrong, and makes decisions based on that. One challenge that makes it more complicated than Anki flashcards is that I show full sentences instead of individual words, and the user will have a different "readiness" for each of the words in the sentence. Also, when I introduce a new word, I want the user to see it in more than one sentence so they can see how it's used in different contexts, but at the same time I don't want it to be too repetitive. Anyways I'll see if I can tweak my sentence selection algorithm some to add more variety.

    When you tap on a character twice it will show a gloss (short definition), which might or might not match the context of the sentence. If you tap it again it will show the dictionary entry with more details and all the different meanings.

    I'm writing down a note about the "Don't cancel"/"Cancel" - that's an easy change I can make quickly. Did you notice anything else like that?

    For example one test it gave me was just asking how to write different numbers, which is probably HSK 1 - HSK 2 level content, if that.

    Had you done a writing proficiency test? Writing and reading are treated as separate skills (for example you can be a beginner in writing and advanced in reading). If you are a beginner, numbers are the first thing it will introduce to you, so it sounds like it started you from the beginning in writing.

    If you only do writing it will actually increase your reading score, since it assumes that you are able to read a character if you can write it, but it doesn't work the other way around - being able to read a character doesn't mean you can write it.

    And thanks for all the feedback! I really appreciate it - it's very useful to me.

    3 votes
  9. Comment on I'm working on an app for learning Chinese, anyone interested in helping me test it? in ~tech

    Hello
    Link Parent
    Wow, thanks so much for all you feedback! It would be interesting to see the difference between the strokes you make and the font strokes. For the writing part I'm using a nifty open source...

    Wow, thanks so much for all you feedback!

    It would be interesting to see the difference between the strokes you make and the font strokes. For the writing part I'm using a nifty open source library for matching the user's strokes to the characters. I've suggested a few improvements there in the past that they've made. I'll think about suggesting an option to see the user's strokes.

    It is true that some of the sentences are off, sometimes the translation doesn't quite match or the Chinese or English isn't completely grammatical. The sentences come from a variety of sources varying in quality. For example, the sentences that come from UN documents are usually accurate, but not very interesting, whereas sentences that come from movie subtitles are more interesting but often not very accurate. I've used some tools to try to filter out the worst matches, but in such a large corpus it's hard to capture everything. I hope to gradually improve it through feedback though - you can flag bad sentences, and I will periodically review them and edit or delete them.

    Yes, the spaced repetition is a good point, I'll mention more details about that in response to the other comment.

    I also thought about adding grammar explanations, and introducing them to the user as they encountered new patterns. I was starting to work on a tool to analyze sentences and try to automatically identify what grammar concepts it uses, and keep track of what the user has seen before, but it was a rather ambitious project that I set aside so I could focus on the media section more. Hopefully I can get back to it sometime in the future. My favorite resource for Chinese grammar is the Chinese Grammar Wiki on AllSet Learning - they might have explanations for some of the words you saw.

    I also lived in China for a while and am familiar with the VPN issues. I wanted to find a different way to embed videos without having to host them all on my server and create my own video player, but unfortunately I couldn't find any good options other than YouTube. I am curious though, other than the videos, does the rest of the app function correctly without turning on the VPN? I made the decision to not use Google products in a few instances precisely for this reason, for example I the Microsoft text-to-speech API instead of Google's, and I doesn't use any scripts hosted by Google (except for YouTube :( )

    I would love to also release it on iOS, but Apple app store is a bit trickier and costly, and I'll need an Apple computer and an Apple developer license in order to publish there. In the meantime, hopefully the web version is usable enough.

    Thanks again for all your feedback! I really appreciate it.

    3 votes
  10. Comment on I'm working on an app for learning Chinese, anyone interested in helping me test it? in ~tech

    Hello
    Link
    I'm building an app called 懂中文 Dong Chinese. If you have an Android phone you can join the beta on Google play, otherwise you can use the web version in your browser at...

    I'm building an app called 懂中文 Dong Chinese. If you have an Android phone you can join the beta on Google play, otherwise you can use the web version in your browser at https://www.dong-chinese.com

    The app keeps track of your vocabulary and how well you understand each character, and will automatically search for practice sentences and songs that use vocabulary that you can understand. If you already know some Chinese, you can take a test to adjust it to your level of proficiency. You can use it to practice handwriting characters, and it has explanations of the etymologies of about 800 of the most common characters.

    Currently it's free and has no ads. At some point in the future I'll probably try to monetize it, but I plan to let the people who help me test it out use it for free forever.

    I'll be grateful for any feedback anyone has!

    4 votes
  11. Comment on Mathematicians discover a more efficient way to multiply large numbers in ~science

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    Link Parent
    I'm not sure I understand what's new? Implementations of the Schönhage–Strassen algorithm have existed since the 1970s.

    I'm not sure I understand what's new? Implementations of the Schönhage–Strassen algorithm have existed since the 1970s.

    6 votes
  12. Comment on Is computer code a foreign language? in ~humanities

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    Link Parent
    I would disagree with the "unique features" point. I'd argue that human languages have lots of significant differences that make them unique: Syntax: is it primarily governed by word order or...

    I would disagree with the "unique features" point. I'd argue that human languages have lots of significant differences that make them unique:

    • Syntax: is it primarily governed by word order or agreement markings? Are words modified by affixes, and if so, how much information does each affix encode? (Isolating vs. agglutinative vs. inflected languages)
    • Semantic categorization: different languages divide the world up in different ways. Which segments on the color spectrum have the same names? In English "here" is close and "there" is farther away, but some languages might merge these categories or have more intermediate categories. In different languages the word for "hand" can cover varying areas (up to the wrist? up to the elbow? the whole arm?) Are "fingers" and "toes" separate words? What about stairs and ladder? In English "hard" (as opposed to soft) and "hard" (as opposed to easy) are the same word, while in Russian they use the same word for "heavy" and "hard (not easy)", but "hard (not soft)" is a different word.
    • Required information: In English whenever you use a verb you typically have to specify a tense and a subject, and if you want to be vague about who did the action or when it happened, you have to use roundabout constructions. Some languages don't require tense or subject to be specified, and some languages require other information to be specified, such as gender, politeness level, or evidentiality (did I see this happen myself or is this secondhand information?).
    6 votes
  13. Comment on I created my first Android app of a puzzle game in ~games

    Hello
    Link
    Just for fun I invented a simple puzzle game and wrote this android app for it. (It's free, no ads) I don't expect it to become hugely popular or anything, but I'd love to hear some feedback from...

    Just for fun I invented a simple puzzle game and wrote this android app for it. (It's free, no ads) I don't expect it to become hugely popular or anything, but I'd love to hear some feedback from people outside my own group of friends and family.

    3 votes