Decode Chinese: We are building the future of language education (Kickstarter coming soon)

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For some reason, I expected yet another app that records your pronunciation and analyze how correct it is. And then give tips in terms of lips, tongue placement, etc.

It appears from the screenshot above that it has a Taiwan Mandarin dictionary, distinct from a China Mandarin dictionary, so if that is the case it is already streets ahead of Pleco in that regard.


Hello! We have updated the post to include our video that helps to explain what we are doing differently. Hope it helps clarify and please let us know if there is something we should improve or explain better.

Pleco denotes whether something is Taiwanese mandarin


We are different than Pleco in multiple ways, I will try to explain some of them and later on I will try to make a video to help clarify this in the future.

We have both Taiwanese Mandarin and Mainland Mandarin as different languages on our platform (dictionary, grammar, sentences, and articles)
Mandarin Chinese is a diverse language with hundreds of regional dialects. We help to understand differences with clear labeling and explanation. Imagine trying to learn English but you just throw in Irish, British, Australian, and US variations without clear labels or explanation. That is the problem with learning Chinese today but multiplied by a factor of 100.
For instance, most Chinese learners in Taiwan have heard that the words for taxi and bicycle are said differently in Taiwan vs the mainland. But when you search on taxi on Pleco, 計程車 is the fourth result, and there’s an unhelpful tag “DIALECT” next to it (see the image below for a simplified example of one out of thousands of examples on our platform)

We do not simply switch between traditional and simplified characters because that can never capture the complexity of the problem and will result in loss of data after each conversion. Instead we have mapped out thousands of cross-strait words and different variations of characters on a deep level manually

Sometimes, simplified to traditional is one-to-many or many-to-one
For instance:

  • simplified 复/覆 vs traditional 覆 (fu4)
  • simplified 烟 (yan1) vs traditional 菸/煙

Sometimes, there are multiple variants of a character with slightly different meanings
For instance:

  • 台/臺/檯 (tai2)

We are data-driven by default which makes it easy to keep track on everything you have learned to customize and merge different types of resources without duplicates.
This means that you can import multiple different course book (word list and labels) or other resources and we can automatically help to filter out the things you already studied. But there are a tons of other things that we can apply, for instance just a simple thing as filter out search results and generating example sentences that are personalized just for you are some of the cool things we can do.

Our platform allows users to dynamically connect flash cards to resources on our platform and then update their cards when new information has been added.
For instance, new translations in different languages or improved sentences for your cards. You can either decide to automatically update with the recommended settings by the community or detailed decide what information to synchronize without losing your progress.


Please see my post above that helps to clarify:

Thank you for your support. We have been working intensively to reduce barriers and time to reach fluency in Mandarin Chinese. Please sign up to our early access on our website to receive more information if you have not already done so :slight_smile:

Not always. In fact quite unreliably in my experience. Sometimes there is a Taiwan Mandarin afterthought sure. But look up, for example the translation for ‘authentic’, it’s the Chinese version you will see first. There is no explicit label for the Taiwan Mandarin version on my dictionary, just something generically labelled ‘variant’’ right at the bottom of the page. However I haven’t updated the dictionary or app in a while, maybe they’ve fixed it.

Also a lot of the translations are littered with short tones, which I don’t believe are used to the same extent here.

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It’s the trend lately. At least for English language learning app.

You mean 道地and 地道?

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Like anymore? because that’s basically the same word

well looking forward to it. Need to find a tool to learn reading quicker than Anki…

Though I think for talking/listening Chinesepod and watching teledrama will still trump (maybe not in efficiency - but in ability to learn without having the feeling of work). Met so many people graduating in Chinese with a Master yet not fluent at all. Can read and know a decent amount of vocabs, but unable to hold a conversation. Kinda like Taiwanese or Chinese and their English…

Are you in Hong Kong?

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I’m very impressed with the level of ambition.


Something that looked very interesting to me was breaking characters down into their radicals (along with definitions of the radicals), and then also showing me what recent characters I’ve seen with those radicals.

I haven’t found the time/motivation to start another serious bought of character learning, but starting from the radicals has been on my mind for a place to start. I can recognize maybe ~300 characters and ~1000 words from rote memorization, but even English spelling has never been my strong suite so tryign to come up with some system to the madness seems like it would map well to how my brain works



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Well, it’s a nice learning app. Probably very helpful after you acquire a certain amount of language. It will be interesting to see where it goes, but I have to say, I hope apps, even cool data-driven ones, aren’t really the “future of language education”.

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