June 25, 2011

Vic Mahfood

Word Tracer-Learn Chinese

Developer Quote: "Word Tracer - Learn Chinese is an iPad app that is designed for people who wish to learn to write Chinese characters properly through tracing and feedback provided through the device."
- COST: $4.99    - APP STORE STARS: N/A
- Categories: Education, iPad, Languages, Native, Travel, Tools

We should never be content with only knowing one language. This happens to be the case very often in the United States, whereas in Europe or other countries you will find people being multi-lingual. Learning Chinese has now become a very big item, and is even featured on TV during the day for those who can watch. Additionally, it is featured online as high-school credit. I regret Chinese is one language I have not yet tackled, so was quite excited to see the app Word Tracer-Learn Chinese!

Being able to speak and understand a language is one thing. However, writing the symbols and phrases is totally another! When you learn certain languages, you must learn the writing also to be efficient. Word Tracer-Learn Chinese provides an easy and enjoyable way to learn Chinese characters by letting you trace 1,500 Chinese characters. Not only that, but you are also given the opportunity to write common phrases so you can actually make sense of those characters. This is much like how it was learning to write as a Kindergartner. I remember using big, tracing pads where I would move my pencil in the order designated on the lines to form letters. Eventually, after practicing over and over, I was able to write words with those letters!

You can use Word Tracer-Learn Chinese in two modes which are Practice Mode when you trace the letters, and Test Mode when you must test yourself afterwards to trace the letters correctly. Word Tracer-Learn Chinese uses an intelligent game engine which provides an enjoyable, precise and educational experience for all ages. Every character uses pinyin (which is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet), audio recording, English meaning and common usages. Here are some of the comprehensive tools and features of this excellent Chinese writing educational iPad app:

- Practice Mode: Learn new characters or practice old ones

- Test Mode: Test the characters you learned and figure how to write the ones you haven't.

- Character List Screen: Display list of characters based on the category you have selected (frequency rank, stroke counts, pinyin, radical, common usage, lessons)

- Category button allows you to access the characters in many ways:
      • Frequency Rank
      • Stroke counts
      • Pinyin
      • Radical
      • Common Usage
      • Lessons

- Practice History: Records what you have practiced and lets you continue where you left off quickly.

- Smart gesture support: (1) Swipe right on any character in the Characters List screen to play the pronunciation. (2) Swipe up to see the meaning of any word in the word list.

- Show meaning button: Shows you the meaning of the character and its common usages.

- Auto advance on/off: Turn on/off the auto-advancing of the next character when you have traced a character successfully.

- Music on/off: Turn on/off the tracing sound and pinyin pronunciation.

- Show/hide Markers: Turn on/off the tracing markers.

- Play pinyin: Play the voice recording.

Open Word Tracer to find your choice of 2 modes-Practice or Test. If you do not know Chinese, as I didn't, you will want to begin with Practice Mode. Tap on a symbol box, and the fun begins! The symbol will be beautifully displayed in sharp color on your large iPad screen where you can easily trace it with your finger following the order of the numbers. The word meaning is listed also underneath.

If you tap the arrow next to the definition, a box will pop up with Detailed Info of phrases using that character. Tap the large character in this box, and you will hear the spoken sound. At the bottom of the screen are orange buttons which do the following: hide or display options, erase your lines so you can practice the symbol again, remove the numbers so you can write by memory, auto advance the pages of practice symbols, toggle the sound off and on, and hear the word/symbol spoken.

At any time, return to the 2 Modes screen, or to the list of all symbols by tapping the boxes on the top of the screen. Use handy swipe gestures on the list of Characters screen to hear the sound or get Detailed Info. I was impressed by all the helpful details and language tools incorporated into this app which worked smoothly and well. Let me say that you are being entertained and given a sense of pride as you work your way through the Chinese characters. I definitely recommend this app for all students and lovers of the Chinese language for its simplicity of use and thorough approach to learning.
COOL CONCLUSION: "Word Tracer-Learn Chinese is an excellent and highly enjoyable way to both learn to write Chinese and hear the spoken word."
--Date/Version: Released 1/14/11 - Version 1.0
--iOS/Age Rating:  This app requires iOS 3.2 or later. Rated 4+.
--Special Note: Simplified Chinese (used in mainland China) is supported.
--Awards: Featured on iTunes App Store Staff Favorites!
--Device: iPad
--Developer Link: Nanaimo Studio
--Twitter: @Nanaimostudio

Visit the iTunes App Store for more details, and to download:

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