I sometimes feel like I must be the only person on the planet who doesn’t view my iPad primarily as a toy, but as a tool. I mostly use it to carry around manuscripts I am working on and a whole load of dictionaries I use in translation work. It’s a research portal for me, more than a space for games, movies, music, and other forms of entertainment.
I started to feel like one of the cool kids recently, though, when I got to combine the tool and toy personae of the iPad into the form of one tidy little app that I downloaded… and promptly began playing. 成语800 is a game that helps you learn idioms. It starts out with a little matching game (like concentration), then moves on to putting the characters in order to form a pair of idioms. The matching part is easy, and I am sure putting the idioms together is equally simple for someone who has a good background in formal settings for Chinese learning, whether that be a native Chinese speaker or someone who took proper college classes in Chinese, or perhaps someone who has studied in language schools to an advanced level.
For me, though, I’m one of those who learned Chinese without the benefit of much classroom time. I some idioms, and can often pick up the meaning of something I hear, but there are so many idioms I don’t know. For me, the little game is helpful (and challenging), and that makes it kind of fun. (Nothing earth-shattering, though, so don’t get your hopes up.)
If you’re learning Chinese or wanting to improve your use of idioms, you might enjoy the game. It’s free at the app store, so I thought I’d pass the word along.