Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to write in Chinese on your iPad/iPhone

This post will teach you how to input Chinese on you iPad/iPhone.

You have several keyboard choices.  To allow this function on your iPad/iPhone you need to do the following:
Go to you iPad/iPhone's "Settings."

Make sure you are in the "General" tab.

Next, click on "International Keyboards."

Then choose "Add New Keyboard."

Scroll down until you see the keyboard you want to have available on your iPad/iPhone.
You could select/add all of them.
The Chinese keyboards I have found most helpful are discussed below.*

Chinese-Traditional Handwriting- This program allows you to HAND-WRITE CHINESE CHARACTERS on your iPad/iPhone. I immediately fell in love with this program, because it allows my children to practice their knowledge of Chinese characters in a practical way. The program allows the use of a finger to "write" the characters on the screen, thus reinforcing character memorization.

Chinese- Simplified Handwriting- Same as above with the exception that it uses simplified characters instead of traditional. 

Chinese-Traditional Pinyin- This keyboard allows Chinese character input via Mainland China's pinyin system. If you use this keyboard, after installation you should check its settings (General, Keyboard, International Keyboard, Chinese- Traditional Pinyin).  Take note about whether the "fuzzy pinyin" option is on. Fuzzy pinyin typically allows some errors when pulling up possible characters. You may want this option off if you are using this program to teach your child.

Chinese- Simplified Pinyin- Same as above with the exception that it uses simplified characters instead of traditional.  Just as above, check to see if the "fuzzy pinyin" option is on.

Chinese-Traditional Zhuyin- This one allows you to input the Zhuyin Fuhao (AKA Bo, Po, Mo, Fo) and then pulls up possible character matches. This is nice for children learning this system of sounding out the characters.

*Each keyboards option is a wonderful teaching opportunity waiting to be used.  For example, my four-year old can "write" the Chinese character for "water" in the Google search page and see what images are brought up. However, parents should try this out with each character before setting their children to this task in order to be sure that the pictures Google returns are age appropriate! (You can adjust Google's search engine filter by taking the following steps: Go to "Google.com," Click on the gear/setting icon in the upper-right corner (you may need to sign in first), Select "Search Settings," Slide the Lock SafeSearch bar to its highest setting- "Strict.")

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

YouTube Videos about Charactes and Radicals

YouTube Videos- Don't ignore the power of videos to help teach kids the connections between really objects, the ancient forms of characters, and the way in which those same characters are written today.  Below is a small selection of what you can find.

1.Imvolunteer's YouTube Videos- This are an awesome resource, especially if your child is a visual learner.  The videos made by "Imvolunteer" provide an excellent opportunity to really show your child how radicals have been changed and adapted into today's characters.  Below are some of the links to these videos:

2.  Unknown Creators . . . or at least they are unknown to me.  The video(s) below has/have been uploaded by several people so I'm not sure who is the actual author of the video.  It's very well done and is a great way to reinforce characters your child is studying.  This particular video really makes Chinese come alive!

3.  Yu Ji has created some wonderful videos detailing characters.  The author lists his/her email as "asi2004asi@hotmail.com."

  • Keep Looking for More!  And don't forget to share (in the Comment Section below) any other videos you find helpful for studying characters and radicals.
  • Learning 100 Chinese Radicals

    Learning 100 Chinese Radicals- This is a wonderful site to help reinforce the radicals you are teaching.  Not all the radicals are examined in this website, but the 100 that are displayed are gone over in detail.  Each character review contains three parts:  Basic Info, Exercise 1, and Exercise 2.

    In Basic Info, the meaning, ancient script (original character), and pronunciation (audio and pinyin) are provided.  In addition, the stand-alone radical and how it can be seen within other characters is provided.  The stroke order of these characters and their component pieces can be played as an animation.

    Exercises 1 and 2 all vary slightly.  The opportunity is given to look for the radical component pieces inside other characters.  This is done in isolated characters and in photographs.  Some exercises ask you deduce the meanings of novel characters based on the radical components within them.  Other exercises ask you to deduce the pronunciation based on the components of novel characters.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Dr. Suess "The Foot Book"

    Dr. Suess "The Foot Book"- I came across this book just as my children were learning 左 and 右 (left and right).  This was a nice surprise since this book gave them plenty of opportunities to practice recognizing and reading these characters (there is no ㄅㄆㄇ or pinyin).  For those of you in Iowa City, this book can be found in the Children's Section of the Public Library.  For those who would like to purchase their own copy, follow the link above or try a Google search.