Using Ninchanese

Get to know the basics and a few helpful tips along the way!
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you don’t find the answer to your question.

Learning new Chinese words on Ninchanese

When you’re learning new Chinese words in the vocabulary stages of Ninchanese, you are asked to enter:

  • either the word’s meaning in English
  • or a Chinese character or word’s pronunciation in pinyin.

Writing in pinyin

When you’re asked to enter the pinyin of a Chinese character, say 你好, you may wonder how to type it, and if you need a special keyboard to do so. The good news is that there isn’t!

You don’t need a special keyboard at all to type pinyin. Pinyin tells us how to pronounce Chinese characters and uses your regular Qwerty (or local) keyboards to do so, so the keyboard you use everyday on your computer on your Android phone will work just fine!

But perhaps, you’re still wondering: what about the tones? Those squiggly parts above the letters? These are part of pinyin too, right? When I’m asked to give a Chinese character’s pronunciation in pinyin, how do I type those?

You’re absolutely right, tones matter and it’s a good move to wonder how to type them. Well, let’s see.


Choosing whether you want to enter tones or not

Is it required to enter tones? Can you choose not to?

When playing a vocabulary stage, the first thing to know is that you are under no obligation to enter tones if you don’t want to.

Tones are an essential part of learning Chinese, but learning them by heart isn’t necessarily the best way to go. The listening and speaking stages are much better places for that. As such, in Ninchanese’s vocabulary stages, you are not required to enter tones.

That’s not to say you cannot. You are free to choose what you want to do. If you’d like to enter tones with each pinyin, you can absolutely do so.  Entering tones is allowed, both when learning new words and when reviewing words you’ve learned.

If you enter tones at the same time as the pinyin, our system will check your full answer, and tell you whether your tones are correct or not.

If you want to enter tones, how do you do?

Enter tones using tone numbers

Tones are usually represented by tone marks above the pinyin, like so:

ā á ǎ à

Related: Read more about tones.

Since there is no easy way to type tones on a computer keyboard (even Chinese ones), on Ninchanese, tone numbers are accepted instead.

If you want to enter tones, you can simply type the tone numbers at the end of the syllable.

You can type the tone number next to the pinyin, using your regular keyboard.

  • the first tone (ā) is typed 1;
  • The second one (á) is typed 2;
  • The third tone (ǎ) is typed 3 and,
  • The fourth tone (à) is typed 4.
  • The fifth tone, being neutral can be entered with a 5. This tone being neutral, you can also choose to not enter it.

Here’s an example of tone marks:

你好 can be typed ni3hao3

To enter tones, you can simply type the tone numbers. If you enter tones, make sure you enter one tone per syllable in the words you’re learning. If you choose to enter ni3 hao for 你好, your answer will be counted as wrong.

Ready to try? Let’s go!

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learning Chinese on Ninchanese.

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NinchaneseEntering tones: How do I enter tones when I answer in pinyin?