Welcome to this week’s beta update! There were quite a lot of things in store in this week’s beta update to keep improving your Chinese learning experience. A new voice for the app’s sounds, way better stroke order animations, improved word pages, and more await you in the app!
New sounds and a new Chinese voice
Ninchanese has a new voice! What’s going on? We’ve replaced our previous sounds by new sounds! This new text-to-speech voice is female but has a softer tone than the previous one. It also sounds less robotic and, well, more Chinese. Also, these new sounds give us more flexibility and options, so expect a few surprises and added options down the line…
We’re all holding our breath until we know what what you think of this new voice! So, go check the new sounds out and tell us what you think of them, purrty please? Are you happier with these? We personally especially dig how she now says Lupishu!
A much better word page
Are you familiar with the word pages on Ninchanese? They are our Chinese words’ homes and where you can go visit them when you went to know more about them: Each word’s page includes example sentences, an animation of the stroke order, character decomposition, related words. It’s a good way to learn more about a word in Mandarin and see how it is used in context.
New Chinese character stroke animations
If you’ve been on a Chinese word’s page before, then perhaps you’re familiar with the first character stroke order animations we had. They were a little spotty, jumpy, giphy, to say the least. They weren’t perfect but they were a start to show you the order a character is drawn in and something to improve. Well, we now have some good news for you: you can now enjoy new, improved, character stroke order animations!
These new stroke order animations are entirely home-made and are a wonderful fresh departure from what we had before. The animations now smoothly retrace the order of each character so you can easily see how a character is drawn and in what order. They are also entirely at your command: want to see the stroke order again? Click and see it start up again. No more waiting for the gif to return to its initial state. Nice, no? Perfect if you want to practice handwriting the words you’re learning with us!
Get lost exploring how characters are made
That’s not the only improvement we’ve made to the word page: you can now have fun exploring how Chinese characters are made in the character decomposition section!
In this section, each character is broken down into the different components that make it up. You can now hover over the character components that are in our database to hear how they sound and click them to learn more about those components.
Our database doesn’t have all the character components stored yet, so we’ll be progressively adding them and improving this section. As it is, it’s already a great way to explore different character components and see how a given character is linked to others. I spent 15 minutes just clicking away and seeing how this bit became part of this character and how that bit ended up here… A first of many sessions as I find this fascinating and I think you will too!
See when a character has multiple pronunciations
Did you know that over 10% of Chinese characters are two or more pronunciations? We’ve started reworking how we handled Chinese characters to better reflect that in Ninchanese. The first step we’ve taken is show you in the word page the other pronunciations a Chinese word can have, and hence, its additional meanings. This is very much still a work in progress, but we thought you’d like to know :).
User experience ajdustements
No beta update wouldn’t be complete without a few adjustments made to your Chinese learning experience, as our goal is to make as smooth and pleasant as possible.
A try again button
Not feeling satisfied with your performance in the speaking stages? You can now hit the “try again” button and get a redo to improve your score. It feels good, you should try!
More balanced scores
Had you noticed the changes in the scoring system? Previously, you could score big in a dialogue exercise even if you were being lazy — and could game your way to the top of the leaderboard by repeatedly doing dialogues. And sadly, no matter how hard or well you performed in the sentence-building stages, you just couldn’t get a good score. A few changes were made to how the scores work for these two types of stages so the points you get in each are more balanced out. More adjustements will be made in the future, but it’s a step in the right direction!
We also dedicated time to removing, as always, bugs and issues you report, such as:
- When you finish a vocab exercise, you no longer see “Awesome you finished all your reviews”!
- As many of you pointed out, a review session alway ended with the wrong sound. This has now been fixed and you can end your review session on the right note! Yay, right?
- And more typos were removed, corrections and improvements were brought to definitions, thanks to your wonderful suggestions and remarks.
We hope you enjoy these new changes! Let us know what you think of them and what else you want to see added or improved on Ninchanese to create the best Chinese learning experience we can bring you.