Chinese Language Learning Tool: nciku


Delighted to discover nciku, an online Chinese-English dictionary and language learning tool. There are lots of helpful features like autocomplete and saving to vocab lists.

What really sets this one apart is the ability to handwrite characters on the screen using any input device. As you are writing, a grid of possible characters appears and you can select the appropriate character from the list. I am using a Wacom Cintiq 21UX 21-Inch Interactive Pen Display at my desk and a Bamboo (Small) Pen Tablet with my laptop, and it’s a great way not only to practice writing the characters, but to get searchable text versions I can then paste here rather than using images.

The character I have handwritten above is 网 wǎng, which I learned in class last week as part of 上网 shàngwǎng “to go online”. I love that 网 wǎng looks like a net and has historically been used as both “net” and “web” in other contexts: 渔网 yúwǎng fishing net, and  蜘蛛网 zhīzhūwǎng spider’s web.

Last time I was studying Chinese, the 互联网 hùliánwǎng Internet was around, but not the 万维网 wànwéiwǎnɡ World Wide Web. Now I am finding such great resources for language study online. One man in my class says he learned everything so far on, which I am starting to explore. I’ve also enjoyed finding and talking with Chinese language partners through, though it’s not limited to Chinese — or English.

Do you know of any other online Chinese language study resources I should check out? I welcome your suggestions in comments.


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