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Tang Poetry for Students of Chinese

By Clavis Sinica

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Chinese Poetry provides a window like no other into the Chinese language and its people. By working with the interactive learning tools in this mobile app, students gain an intimate and deeply satisfying familiarity with the sounds, characters, and meanings of a selection of literary gems chosen for their brevity and simplicity.

Poetry and painting are inseparable in China, so we begin with a calligrapher’s rendering of the selected poem that conveys its visual dynamism.

From here we turn to the Text Reader module, which introduces the sounds and meanings of each line of the poem. We can touch any character to display its meaning and pronunciation. And we can listen repeatedly to each line of the poem to imprint its sounds on our memory.

The flashcards tool tests our recollection of the new words and characters we’ve just learned. If we stumble on a character, the app displays a list of commonly used words incorporating that character, to help cement it in our memory.

Once we’re able to recognize the characters in the poem, it’s time to learn to write them. The app uses stroke animations to demonstrate the correct formation of each character, and then invites us to practice drawing it ourselves, providing immediate stroke by stroke feedback along the way.

Translating poetry is a notoriously difficult task, so the app offers three different English renderings of each poem to help the student to grasp the range of meanings it suggests.

Now it’s time to put the pieces together and test our recall of the poem as a whole. After reading it through one more time, we can scramble the character tiles, and then attempt to restore them to their correct positions based on our memory of the sounds and characters of each line.

A brief biographical note, finally, provides a glimpse of the personality behind the poem and the historical context in which it was written.

What's New in Version 1.2

* Added new poems for a total of five

* Added reading notes for each poem


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Customer Reviews

Great app for Chinese learners!

This app really fills the gaps that all Chinese poetry apps I've seen have left. It not only gives you the text of the poem, audio, meaning(s) of the characters, but also games to help remember the poem and background about the author. I also really like that the app includes the calligraphy of the poem as I feel that in itself is an art form usually not shown in apps (or books). This gets students of all levels to notice varying character formations common in other aspects of Chinese culture as well. My only critique is that there is no option to change the character set from simplified to traditional. That would be helpful for classrooms that only do traditional characters and also because the calligraphy works are in traditional characters, so it would help to bridge that gap if one was going to show how character firms change from standard print characters to calligraphic style or "cursive" characters.

Great Introduction to Chinese Poetry

This is an app done by education professionals, not app writers, which makes all the difference in the world. They have chosen poems that are accessible to non-native speakers. Several variations of translations are given for every poem, showing the ambiguity unique to Chinese which allows you to see the poems from several different angles. Games in the app allow you to master the characters used.

No Sound

Good idea. I tried it both iPhone5 and iPad3 and couldn't get sound to work. Both have iOS7.1

How about an option for traditional characters? Tang poems look awful in simplified characters.

How about starting with the poem's title in the text reader. The grass style is hard to read and you only have English poem name.

Tang Poetry for Students of Chinese
View In iTunes
This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad
  • Free
  • Category: Education
  • Updated: Oct 11, 2014
  • Version: 1.2
  • Size: 14.7 MB
  • Language: English
  • Seller: Clavis Sinica

Compatibility: Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

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