Category Archives: chinese

Perapera Chinese 9.0 Finished!

You asked for it and now it’s here. After being out for most of the past 6 weeks, finally had some time to sit down and finish the Perapera Chinese 9.0 update. The main update, as expected, is the ability to customize the tone colors. The default ones I put in there were what showed up on my Pleco app, but I know people wanted to use other colors as well, so here it is:

Also in this update:

  • Latest entries from the CC-CEDICT as of 1/7/12
  • Fixed the clipboard copy bug to now copy what you would expect
  • Removed some lingering references to the lookupbar which has long since been removed
It is the Mozilla extension review queue, so should be updating for everyone very soon. Look forward to your feedback!
Update: It’s now approved and available here.

Perapera Chinese 8.0 now live!

The updated version of the Perapera Chinese pop-up dictionary and study tool is finally out and available for Firefox! Download it here.

Basic Features

With Perapera Chinese, you use your mouse over any Chinese words on a webpage and it gives you the pronunciation and definition. English, German, & French dictionaries; Pinyin and Zhuyin supported; Simplified or Traditional characters. You can also save and export words for studying later!

Dictionaries

The plugin comes with Chinese-English already installed, but you can install additional dictionaries with the following links:

How to use

Will be uploading a video later explaining how to use the plugin.

Other Details
  • If you have more than one dictionary, you can cycle through with the SHIFT key
  • Supports Simplified and Traditional characters (display either or both)
  • Pinyin with tone numbers or tone marks or Zhuyin (Bopomofo) for pronunciation
  • Shows the Hanzi using tonal colors (one color for each tone) to aid memorizing
  • Save words to a manageable Wordlist and export them later to Anki etc. for studying

We plan to expand this site significantly in the coming weeks and months. Like our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter to keep up with the latest updates!

Our 10 best books for learning Chinese

Continuing the book collecting obsession into my Chinese studies, I have amassed around 20 books and courses in Chinese over the past 3 years. Of the ones I’ve purchased, borrowed, or been recommended by friends studying in China and Taiwan, here are what I can say are quality and useful to others.

Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide

If you buy only one book for Chinese, get this one. Easily the best book I have found for everything. It is split into two parts, Part A for the structure of Chinese and explaining all the grammatical features, and Part B for situational Chinese like how to describe things etc. Explanations are solid, provides tons of example sentences and everything is in Simplified and Traditional characters.

Pimsleur Chinese

Strictly speaking, it’s an audio program, but Pimsleur is a great method for learning Chinese conversation. It’s also one of the best tools out there for getting an authentic sounding accent. You can try out Pimsleur for free by signing up for a 30 day Audible trial. Download the Chinese taster course here.

Practical Audio-visual Chinese (Traditional)

My friend in Taiwan swears by this series and he used this at his language school when he studied in Taiwan. He was on book 3 and was at a very impressive level of Chinese. Comes with CDs and has workbooks if you want them. Only Traditional characters and starts with teaching you Zhuyin, but also has all the sentences in Pinyin as well. I am on book 3 now also and have to say it is my favorite course book.

Colloquial Chinese: The Complete Course for Beginners

This was actually the first book I used for Chinese that a friend recommended when I was starting out. A solid beginner course that is lesson based and comes with CDs. Spent a good bit of time with the pronunciation using this one. Another good option if you are looking for a starter course. Also has an intermediate book as well in the series.

New Practical Chinese Reader: Textbook 1

If you want more of a course-type book this series is a good introduction. I did the first book in their series using Simplified Characters. Concise and nicely organized. Would recommend it as your first introduction to Chinese and Chinese characters. Especially good if you like the dialog lesson format. Comes with CDs.

Conversational Chinese 301

Bought this one when I was in China. It goes at a faster pace than the above course, but would still say it is good for beginners. Either one of these are a good introduction course. No CD though, so take that into consideration.

The Michel Thomas Method: Speak Mandarin Chinese For Beginners

For working on speaking this is probably the best starter course. Harold Goodman does a good job of introducing the tones with concept of colors as an aid for remembering them. I love the Michel Thomas method and have used this series for other languages as well (French, Russian and German!).

Remembering Simplified Hanzi: Book 1, How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Chinese Characters

I don’t actually own this book but I’m a big fan of the method and used it to learn all the Kanji in Japanese with the original “Remembering the Kanji” book by the same author (see my Japanese book reviews). Comes in Simplified or Traditional versions.

Tuttle Learning Chinese Characters

Since I did Japanese before Chinese, I had already done my time learning 2000 characters, so I don’t actually own this one either. My friends at a language school love it though, and the method sounds very similar to the “Remembering the Hanzi” mnemonic system. So I would just pick either one and stick with it.

Chinese Demystified: A Self-Teaching Guide

A good overview of the Chinese language. I personally would buy the Modern Chinese Grammar over this one if I could only choose one, but that one can be intimidating since it is rather thick and does read a bit like a textbook with alot of explanations using grammatical terms. If that puts you off and you want a gentler overview of Chinse, but still with solid content, I would recommend this one.

Perapera Chinese 8.0 Submitted!

If Firefox can do it than so can we, announcing Perapera Chinese 8.0!

<rant target=”Firefox”>
It has been a struggle with Firefox over the past year with them releasing a new update every week that breaks this plugin. What was once great browser, I personally find now to be extremely annoying, and this latest penis envy pissing contest that Mozilla has where they have to release a new version every week because Chrome has passed them in a meaningless version number is absolutely absurd. Nobody cares what version you are. That thinking is so old, and you should just stop it because you will feel really dumb when you are blasting adds everywhere for Firefox 27 and nobody cares.
</rant>

OK rant is over. I wanted to say I just submitted the new version of Perapera Chinese (version 8.0) to Mozilla for approval, so everyone should be getting that update automatically very soon. For Japanese the update will come shortly after. Many bugs and broken things are now fixed, and of course some great new features as well. We have been working hard here over the last month to get this out the door, and are pleased to announce this next step in our vision for this plugin. We are also pleased to announce that the team is now more than just 1 person and we have a renewed commitment to this project going forward. We will be releasing updates to all the dictionary files every month with all the new entries and definitions.

Here are a summary of the new features and some teaser screenshots:

The plugin comes with Chinese-English already installed, but you can install additional dictionaries with the following links:

  • Chinese-German HanDeDict Dictionary (optional)
  • Chinese-French CFDICT Dictionary (optional)
  • If you have multiple dictionaries, you can cycle through them with SHIFT key
  • Supports Simplified and Traditional characters (display either or both)
  • Pinyin with tone numbers or tone marks or Zhuyin (Bopomofo) for pronunciation
  • Shows the Hanzi using tonal colors (one color for each tone) to aid memorizing
  • Save words to a manageable Wordlist and export them later to Anki etc. for studying

We will have a YouTube video up in a few days showcasing the features and showing how to use.

Showing Simplified and Tradition characters, using Hanzi Tonal Colors and Pinyin w/ Tone Marks. New “Charcoal” theme.
Showing Simplified and Tradition characters, using Hanzi Tonal Colors and Pinyin w/ Tone Marks. New “Sepia” theme.

Earthquakes, China, and FF 4.0

Hey guys, sorry for such a delay in getting at least a beta out for version 4.0. Live in Japan and everyone I know was ok thru the earthquake, but I did lose my computer. It did a backflip off the desk and was shattered on the floor when I got home.

Shortly after the earthquake I had a long planned business trip to China which I extended to wait out the Fukushima concerns a bit, and just got back last week.

This FF4.0 compatible release is really nothing fancy and I just know the essentials work, so cant guarantee it will work so great but at least its something to use until there I get the time to make it work proper (sometime after I get a new computer).

In other news I will be open sourcing this and making a Github project for it, so if anyone would like to work together to improve this or add other languages etc, let me know.

In FF4.0, here’s where you would find the Perapera-kun icon:

Step1: Right click on the toolbar and click “customize”


Step 2: Drag the Perapera-kun icon over to the toolbar.

Perapera-kun 2.1 Released

Here are the updates for 2.1:

  • Added a checkbox to change to an alternate flag for Chinese in the “Chinese” tab in the add-on’s options dialog
  • Added one click to toggle on/off if only 1 language is installed
  • Added toolbar icons (right click on the toolbar, click ‘customize’ and you can drag them from here to the toolbar)
  • Added a ‘Perapera-kun’ entry to the right-click popup menu, and to the ‘Tools’ menu
  • Fixed issue where all of the Chinese definition wasnt being displayed from the CC-CEDICT
  • Fixed issue where some incorrect meanings were displayed due to some Simplified hanzi having a different meaning in the Traditional character set
  • Tweaked the logo a little bit

I uploaded it to Mozilla today and it usually takes about 2 weeks before it will update everyones automatically so if you don’t want to wait until then, you can get it here:

http://downloads.mozdev.org/peraperakun/Peraperakun2.1.xpi

*Note: Since there were 2 versions existing before I unified Japanese and Chinese in 2.0, if you installed the Chinese version from the addons.mozilla.org site, installing from the above link will cause 2 versions to be installed at once. Simply remove the old one and all will be fine.

Perapera-kun 2.0 Live

Well its finally released. Here is the new version of Perapera-kun for Firefox. Took a bit longer than I was hoping but I am now happy with what is released. I submitted it to Firefox but they always take forever to actually update it on their site so it is available here first for anyone who wants to try it out. You can find it in the download box in the left or find the direct links to the file at the end of this post. Here are the new features:

  • Wordlist Sidebar: Press ‘S’ while displaying an entry to save it to the wordlist. (Also is a “Grab Entries!” button, but more about that in a later post. Stay tuned.) You can add, delete, and export these entries to a file whenever you want.
  • Japanese and Chinese united: Now both Japanese and Chinese are handled in 1 plug-in by adding the dictionaries you want.
  • Korean support coming very soon! Currenty it will display the romanized pronunciation but I dont have a dictionary to use yet. Can anyone help?
  • StatusBar Icon: Now everything is easily controlled via the Perapera-kun status bar icon. Enable multiple languages with one click, options dialog, and more.
  • New Chinese-English Dictionary: I now use the open public CCEDICT to feed the entries for Chinese-English. This should fix alot of the inconsistencies the previous dictionary had.
  • Chinese-German Dictionary: Uses the HanDeDict open public dictionary for Chinese-German. Please only install 1 Chinese dictionary at a time.
  • Supports Japanese to English, French, German, and Russian dictionaries along with the Japanese Names dictionary compiled by polarcloud.com
  • Redeigned options dialog that is cleaner and easier to use.
  • New icon for the add-on

After you download the add-on you will need to install the dictionary add-on for the language you want to use.  For Japanese, visit polarcloud.com to install one of those dictionaries and for Chinese, download the English or German dictionary in my download box or in the links below. Thanks for using and I look forward to your feedback.

**LINKS UPDATED: The following links will now download from Mozilla.

Perapera-kun 2.0
Chinese-English Dictionary
Chinese-German Dictionary
Japanese Dictionaries at Polarcloud.com