Xiezi: Chinese Character Trainer for iPhone and Android
Learning to write Chinese characters is probably the hardest part of learning the language, but it is essential in achieving even basic literacy in Chinese. While there is no avoiding the extensive practice that is required, the Xiezi app can make your practice sessions much more efficient and enjoyable.
Combining stroke-by-stroke animations that show you how to write each character with a variety of drawing options that let you practice what you've learned, this new app will help you master the most commonly used characters in the language. Several versions of the app are currently available, each featuring a different character set.
The Xiezi Chinese Character Trainer app features three learning modes to take you from your first encounter with a new character through systematic practice to thorough mastery of its structure and stroke order.
In Training Mode, you can view a stroke-by-stroke animation of each character and then practice drawing it yourself using the character outline provided. The app checks every stroke you draw, helping you recognize and correct mistakes as you go along. Once you've memorized the form of each character, you can practice drawing it without the outline.
As you continue to progress, you can drill yourself on the characters you've learned using the app's Flashcards Mode, which returns character cards back to the deck if you get them wrong. And you can measure your progress over time using Test Mode, which gives you just one chance to write each character correctly and displays your score at the end.
- User can select any character from a set to practice at any time, or else work through a series of characters in one of three learning modes.
- In Train Mode, control buttons allow you to view the next stroke of the character, all remaining strokes, or a hint for the next stroke just to get you started. Once you've learned the order of the strokes, you can try drawing the character yourself. If you get a stroke wrong, the app will erase it and invite you to try again. When you've completed the character, you can wipe your slate clean and start over.
- In Drill Mode, you are prompted to draw each character in turn from memory. If you get a stroke wrong, the app shows you the correct version, and then returns the character to the flashcard stack so you can try it again later.
- In Test Mode, you get one chance to draw each character correctly. Your score is reported at the end of the test, so you can measure your progress over time.
- In all modes, the app evaluates each stroke as you draw it, giving you immediate feedback so you can correct mistakes and learn to draw each of the characters accurately.
- Pinyin romanizations and concise English glosses are provided for each character.
- Settings page lets you set the drawing speed and choose whether or not to display placement lines, character outlines, and character definitions.
- Works with all iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad devices running iOS 4.0 and above
- Works with all Android smartphones and tablets running Android 2.2 and above
- No additional Chinese language software required
Detailed instructions for using the app can be found on the Xiezi User Documentation page.
Versions of the app are available with several different character sets:
- CS Xiezi - Chinese Character Trainer. The original version of the app is based on the popular Stepping Stones e-Textbook, which features a series of simple readings for beginning learners accompanied by audio recordings, vocabulary notes, and exercises. The current version of the app includes all 202 characters introduced in the first seven lessons of the series.
- CS Xiezi - YCT Level 1. The Youth Chinese Test (YCT) is the most widely used standardized language test for younger students of Chinese. This edition of Xiezi includes the 99 characters introduced in Level 1, divided into five lessons of 19-20 characters each. Free study materials for Level 1 can be found on the Hanban website.
- CS Xiezi - HSK Level 1. This version of the app, suitable for beginners, gets you started with the complete set of 178 characters required for the HSK Level 1 Chinese language test, the leading standardized assessment exam for students of Chinese. The characters are divided into 7 lessons of 25-26 characters, arranged by usage frequency.
- CS Xiezi - HSK Levels 1-2. This version, suitable for advanced beginners, includes all 349 characters required for Levels 1 and 2 of the HSK Chinese language test. The characters are divided into 14 lessons of 24-26 characters, arranged by usage frequency.
- CS Xiezi - HSK Levels 1-3. This version, intended for intermediate learners, includes the complete set of 623 characters required for levels 1, 2, and 3 of the HSK Chinese language test. The characters are divided into 24 lessons of 24-27 characters, arranged by HSK level and usage frequency.
- CS Radicals. The Chinese Radicals app introduces the 24 most commonly used Chinese radicals, along with 8 representative characters based on each one. The 24 radicals included here are found in over 2100 characters and in roughly two thirds of the characters you'll encounter in a typical modern Chinese text. Mastering these radicals, then, is well worth your while!
- CS Virtues. This special edition of the popular Xiezi Chinese Character Trainer App from Clavis Sinica teaches you to write the Chinese characters for 24 primary virtues that provide the moral foundations of traditional Chinese culture. Courage, strength, benevolence, filial piety, friendship, respect, loyalty: you've heard about their importance in Confucian moral education--now learn how to write the characters that express these concepts in Chinese.
In addition, customized versions of the app have been prepared for the use of Chinese language courses at the following institutions: American University, Benedictine College, Colgate University, Holy Cross College, Kalamazoo College, Rollins College, Smith College, and the University of Michigan.
To download the app, just click the appropriate link above (for iPhone / iPad) or on our Ordering page (for Android).