Chinagram, a wonderful interactive ebook for the iPad:
ToDo have recently launched a most intriguing interactive ebook for those who wish to understand and learn how the Chinese write…. All those thousands of rather beautiful but confusing characters.
I have had a look at it, and as one who has struggled to learn how to read and write in Chinese, I found it both useful, to the point, accurate and fun as well. full of background information about how all the various characters evolved over the roughly 4000 years that the Chinese have been writing, how they should be written (the order and direction of the brush strokes) and so on.
A fascinating and useful ebook for anyone interested in this intriguing language.
In the press release they sent me, they describe what this application actually is rather well, so here is how they describe it:
Chinagram is an iPad application that tells the story of Chinese writing, explaining its logic and showing its beauty, sign after sign.
Chinagram blends the fascinating story and aesthetics of Chinese characters with beautifully crafted graphics and a sleek, intuitive user interface.
Based on the book “Chinese Writing” by Yuan Huaqing, a renowned Chinese language professor and translator, Chinagram is not a dictionary, but an annotated history of Chinese writing that will show you how to see beyond the elegance of the characters to understand their origin and rationale.
Each character is either a beautiful example of calligraphic art and a distillation of China’s history and traditional culture.
Chinagram includes a historical and a linguistic overview, which will help you understand how Chinese writing has changed over the centuries and what are its basic rules today.
With Chinagram you can approach Chinese by discovering the meaning and the evolution of over 120 symbols chosen among the most representative ones. For each symbol you can read an in-depth explanation, including examples of how each word is used today in common idioms and sayings.
You can also listen to its pronunciation and try your hand at tracing your first ideograms right on your iPad’s screen.
When you bear in mind that most educated Chinese may know anything up to 50,000 characters, you begin to understand the complexity of it all – Me, I managed to learn about 100 while living in Beijing, and was pretty pleased with myself for getting that many under my belt, so I am overwhelmed with admiration for all those Chinese kids who learn 50 or so a week.
On the website dedicated to this App, they show you roughly what you will get if you purchase the thing, it is rather beautiful and well worth a visit I think.
Chinagram for iPad from todo.to.it on Vimeo.
Chinagram is now available on the App Store at launch price of EUR
2.99 (USD 3.99, GBP 2.39). Full price will be EUR 3.99 (USD 4.99, GBP 3.49).