Laoshi : open source Chinese learning software

Hello all,

I have been learning mandarin Chinese for a few years, and I searched for an open source learning software to help me with that. Since I couldn’t find anything that I like enough, I finally wrote my own software and I would like to share it with interested people here, and maybe hear feedback from them.

You can see screen shots and download the program on the website :

There are versions for both windows and ubuntu (sorry no mac version.)

The software takes it data from several other very good free projects :

So feel free to give a try, everything is free, you can copy, modify and distribute it if you feel like it.

Can you just briefly summarize what functions this software has that would help a learner of Chinese? (Especially for those of us who run Macs… :smiley: I mean the summary, not the software…)

Lesson one: Your Chinese is good! :noway:

No no :slight_smile: Lesson 1 is : ni hao. Well, I am not a Chinese teacher, and of course I didn’t want to copy lessons from commercial Chinese book methods. If somebody wants to contribute, I would love to get new material (A lesson should have Chinese, pinyin, English translation, list of voca, and a picture.)

So the list of features :

  • A lesson viewers, with a few lessons, but it is very basic. You can see the text in Chinese, pinyin, English, or Chinese with Pinyin together.

  • A dictionary (~10,000 entries), where you can type English, Chinese or pinyin. It shows not only the matching entries but also the entries that are near. For example if you type “ni3” you will get reslts for “nihao -> hello” as well as “ni -> you”. Some entries have audio samples that you can play.

  • A characters viewer. You can see some characters and draw them stroke by stroke.

  • A tones listening game : Hear a Chinese word, and try to guess the tones.

  • A flash card game : When you go in the dictionary, or in the lesson viewer, you can add words into your list of words you want to practice. Then the flash card game will give you a Chinese character, and you have to guess the pinyin. The software keeps record of your previous results, and try to optimize the period before asking the same question twice, as used by other flash cards applications.

Seems cool, thanks for sharing, keep working at it. Are you familiar with Dimsum Mandarin Tools? It reminds me of that, a bit, but Dimsum also has the Chinese Annotator, which you should check out and try incorporate and improve upon. Dimsum is abandoned now. If you work on this a little bit, add some more features, lessons, etc., you might be able to set up a website and even make money in donations. It’s a good idea, and for things like iphone these programs are a dime a dozen now, but a shitty array of choices still exists for PCs. Keep fighting the good fight.

Thanks for the comment XinBIDE, I did not know Dimsum.

Actually laoshi (my software) also has an annotator : when we see the Chinese lessons, we can put the mouse cursor over the chinese characters to see the pinyin and translation.

I will still work on the software and try to release a new version at some point. The things missing the most are Chinese lessons, but it takes a lot of time to write them, specially since my Chinese is not the best !