My new favourite language learning tool
In one of my first posts for this blog, I shared some ideas for using chinese dictionary apps and in a way that ensures strong and continued language learning. And while I’m still all about the paper dictionaries, I recently discovered the Pleco Chinese language learning app and I love it.
What is it?
Pleco is a dictionary app that allows you to look up words by radical, Pinyin, zhuyin, or voice input. When you look up a word, you have the option of adding it to your personal flashcards and testing yourself on it later. There are various add-ons to the free basic version, like handwriting input and optical character recognition. I haven’t yet invested in the paid versions, but I find that for my needs the free app is perfect. If I was living in China or needing the app for more advanced studies, I would happily pay for the more comprehensive dictionary.
Who is it for?
All learners of Chinese. The app includes traditional and simplified characters and allows searches using pinyin and zhuyin, which makes it accessible and useful for learners in both Taiwan and Mainland China. All learners at any level can benefit from the app, although at higher levels the free version may not provide enough depth.
Why do I like it?
Pleco is easy to use and intuitive, so there’s no learning curve when you start using it. I like how with each definition you have the option of looking at each individual character, something that’s really important in Chinese since characters often have different meanings when standing alone. But the greatest thing about Pleco is that the characters are colour coded depending on tone. Colour coding for tones! So simple yet so helpful. I don’t know if Pleco is the first to have thought of this strategy, but it pulls is off brilliantly.