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Using Ting with Integrated Chinese Levels One and Two


Ting Chinese English Dictionary Study Center

If you go to the Ting Dictionary Search page, you will find drop down boxes at the bottom of the page which will allow you to choose individual chapter sections of the first two levels of the Integrated Chinese series to create vocabulary lists, take quizzes, and use flash cards. Simply choose the book and chapter sections you wish to use in the first box and then choose the individual section in the second box. When you do this, you will be taken to a page with the vocabulary for that section listed. You can print it at this point if you like. If you want to use all of the features of Ting, simply click select all and press the wide button on the right: add marked items to my account.

Review Planner

If you already have an account and are signed in, you will be taken to the Review Planner and the vocabulary will have been added to your account. If you aren't logged on, you will be presented with the login screen and then you will go to the Review Planner. The first step to using the Review Planner is to choose your Focus Set. If you just added cards, you should choose Today's Entries and a number greater than the number of your entries and click the submit button. Why? The Focus Set is the selection of words that will be available for the review lists and Flash Cards. You create either a Review List and/or a Foldable List and print out just today's vocabulary. At midnight, Eastern Standard or Eastern Daylight time, today becomes tomorrow and your new entries get dumped into your account. Note that it will be around noon in Australia and New Zealand! That means that if you want to have lists of just your new words, now is the time to save or print them! The Focus Set is a random sample from your account limited by either the Last Month or Today's Entries.

Review and Foldable Lists

The Review List is designed to be your study list. It has all of the information in plain view. You should spend some time with each of the words, forming associations, practicing the strokes of the characters, and saying each word out loud. It is a good idea to print a couple of these. On one you should try to draw pictures that will help you remember the words, add synonyms to the definitions, and try writing simple sentences using the words. The other stays clean for later review.

The Foldable List is designed as a type of flash card. In the Review Planner, choose how you want the words ordered, then choose English + Character + Pinyin. You can study from pinyin to character, English to pinyin, Character to pinyin, or any other combination. With a normal index card you always have two pieces of information on one side or you have to make multiple sets of index cards. With the Foldable List, you simple fold it in thirds and stick in your backpack. Pull it out when you are waiting for classes, standing in line at the caf, or waiting for your laundry to dry. Vocabulary is best studied in short bursts and frequently. When you start to study, you should spend about equal time on each of the folds, using English, Chinese, or pinyin as the cue. Later, as you know pinyin better, you will spend most time using character or English as cues.

You should print two versions, one in English order and one in pinyin order so you don't get dependent on the order. You can also cut the Foldable List to make little flash slips, but those are difficult to pull out during the day, and are easily lost.

You can also print out copies of English + Pinyin to practice writing the characters next to each entry. Writing characters takes practice. You don't remember how long it took you to learn to write the alphabet, but it wasn't immediate. Here are some hints that will make learning the characters faster. 1) Pay attention to the radicals given to you in the introduction of Integrated Chinese. Review them from time to time. Your authors chose some of the most common radicals and radicals form part of each character. If you know the radicals, you know part of new characters before you start. 2) Doodle the characters while you are watching TV, riding in the car, or going to sleep. What? Yea, well when you get in bed, mentally visualize the strokes, or trace them with you finger on the blanket. It will build the muscle memory necessary to write quickly and accurately. Do you think about it when you touch type? You did when you first learned. Now the words go in your eyes and straight out your fingers. You don't have to think. It took practice. The same can happen with the characters, you think wo3 and your hand writes 我. 3) Write the characters in different sizes. Blackboards can save you a lot of paper when writing very large sizes! You can also use a water color brush and write characters with water on the sidewalk or on a blackboard. 4) Take turns writing strokes with a friend - that will make you visualize the character as well as write it. Besides, between the two of you you should catch any habitual errors you are making - that missing little hook that you never even noticed may change the meaning of a character.

You will notice that not all of the definitions in the dictionary match your textbook. Often your text has only given the definition of the word as it is used in the chapter. In other cases, synonyms are given. When you are learning a new language, the concept of the word is more important than the individual words. The more flexible you are, the easier it will be to express yourself in a new language. For instance, the simple character yě means also. But that can be translated as in addition to, additionally, too, as well as... depending on the structure of the English sentence. Another example: kè means guest, but on the Internet it is used to refer to what we call visitors and users. When reading Chinese or any other language, you need to read the words in context. In both languages the concept is a person who comes for awhile and then leaves. In English, the words guest, visitor, and user have different ideas associated with them. Those ideas come from the context in which they are used. For instance, when you say: "No, way!" you mean a whole set of things that are defined by the context. You can't directly translate that into another language. But you can find out what people in another language would say in the same circumstance. In this case, 没门儿! (Méi mènr!), fits the bill. Literally it means doesn't have a door, or no door, but it means "No, way!" by use.

You will also notice when looking at your lists that the pinyin is numbered pinyin. There are reasons for that. Numbered pinyin is much clearer than many of the pinyin tone fonts used on the Internet or on the computer. Numbered pinyin decreases errors. When you enter pinyin in search boxes on the Internet, you use numbered pinyin. Most good Chinese systems that you use to type on your computer or phone allow you to enter the number of the tone following the syllable to narrow your choice of characters. Finally, you aren't meant to read pinyin, just to use it as a tool.

Flash Cards

If you are going to be sitting at your computer or carrying your laptop, you can use the Flash Cards to study whatever is in your Focus Set. Flash Cards also work well on Android devices under Firefox. If you choose Full Card, you will see all of the information necessary for a first study session. This will show you measure words, parts of speech, comments on use, and paraphrases in English, in addition to the normal pieces of information. Don't try to memorize the part of speech - it isn't necessary for language learning. When you feel confident that you are familiar with the vocabulary, return to the Review Planner and change your options on the flash cards.

It is a good idea when you are using the flash cards to change your Focus Set. At the beginning, I had you choose 50 items for your Focus Set so you could print all of your vocabulary. When studying it is better to choose a smaller number of words, 15 is enough when you are first learning. You can change your Focus Set multiple times and it will take a random sample of Today's Items to show you in the flash cards. Remember that the next day, it will be sampling from your account so that you can review the new words with the old.

Next, you can choose English, Character, or Sound as your cues. Even though you will only see one "side", you can instantly get an answer if you get stuck by moving your mouse over the words on the right side. To see the Full Card, you have to click it. To return to your cue card just hit the big gold up arrow on the Full Card.

The best part of the Flash Cards is the sound button. Use a good pair of headphones for listening. It won't disturb your roommate, and the sounds seem to go deeper into your awareness. Listen to the sounds from multiple readers and then practice saying the word or words after each reader. Ok, that's going to disturb your roommate, but you can buy ice cream later. Listening is very important in building an association between the character and its meaning. Picture the object or concept in your head as you listen. Think of what the sound reminds you of. Check yourself. Can you hear that it is fourth tone? Check the pinyin to make sure.

Once you know that you know a word, can write it with ease, can see the object in your mind when you see the character, and say it with no hesitation - you can hit Drop and it will be dropped from the Flash Cards. It will stay in your account. At the end of the flash cards, when you click the "next" button the program will start at the beginning, but it will shuffle the cards automatically.

After you have studied individually, it is a great idea to get together with a few people and practice recall together. Call out a word in either English or Chinese - throw a ball to the person who has to answer. Make up stupid games to keep things going fast. Share ideas on how to remember how to write characters. Use words in sentences and see who can translate it. Keep a laptop open so you can play the sounds from time to time to check your pronunciation. When you only listen to other students say the words, well, you sound more like them than like a native speaker. Take turns being teacher and student. It is amazing, but in the teacher role you sometimes learn more than in the student role. Perhaps it is because you are focusing on the correct answer and willing your partner to get it right!


If there isn't a group of Chinese learners handy, you can take quizzes. The quiz will draw on all the words in your account. The incorrect answers may be words you don't know since the computer searches for words of similar length. The quizzes will become more challenging and useful as you add items to your account. They are a good way to keep your vocabulary fresh and integrated with words you are just learning.

There are two levels of quizzing. The Practice Quiz provides two pieces of information and is quite easy. It can be used as a form of studying. The Quiz provides one piece of information and should provide a better measure of your expertise. You will receive a score when you finish. Sometimes your answer is counted as incorrect when you have it right because the computer isn't bright enough to recognize variations on answers that are just as good as the entry. But it will show you both your entry and the "correct" entry so you can get feedback. You can immediately take another quiz and all of the questions will be different. The quizzes have a lot of fill in the blank questions because those are the most difficult. At least they were until modern software made character choices for you! Just remember that when you take your quiz in class, you are going to have to write the character by hand. :->

Home Flash Cards

Ok. We are now at the bottom of the Review Planner. We have yet another option for you. You can download vocabulary lists from your Focus Set to your computer. If you want all of the vocabulary from today, just hit the button "Today's Cards." A save dialogue will open and you will see something like this: TINGVOCAB06222012. That is Ting vocabulary plus the date. You may change the name before you save it - perhaps the number or name of the chapter.

Once it is on your machine, you can open it in IE by double-clicking. You will see:


- <card>
  <a2>电 脑</a2>
  <a5 />
  <a7 />
  <a8 />
  <a9>(common term for computer -- electronic brain -- also see ji4suan4ji1 for an equally common term)</a9>
  <a10 />

Very messy looking. It is an XML file and is designed to be used with Ting Flash Card Reader, the Home Version. You can download and install that for free by clicking on the link. There are full instruction on that page, so I won't bore you any more.

About Your Account

Remember,if you want to have lists focused on "Today's Entries" , now is the time to do it. At midnight, Eastern Standard or Eastern Daylight time, today becomes tomorrow and your new entries get dumped into your account. Note that it will be around noon in Australia and New Zealand!

Your entries are still in your account, but now when you create a Focus Set, they will be mixed in with your old entries. If you choose The Last Month, you will get several chapters of vocabulary to review. Each time you sit down to study, you should spend time using the Flash Cards and quizzes with Focus Sets that include either the Last Month or All of your entries. Mixing the new with the old words helps you form new associations among them. You can print out study lists including samples from your entire account, too. If you only study by chapter, the words tend to stay in that chapter in your mind and it is harder to recall them freely, or to apply them to new situations.

To increase your flexibility and ability to use words in different contexts, make up different sentences with the words. If you spend too much time learning them based on the dialogs in the book, you will be able to use them in those sentences, but not in new sentences. Look up some alternative sentences in Ting - Chinese English dictionary. It doesn't matter if you can read all of the Chinese, you want to have the ability to see a range of uses for a word. Just seeing the English sentence will help. Later, you will add additional sentences to your account to help you remember vocabulary. At first, it isn't a good idea to add too many items to your account. It can quickly become overwhelming.

On the next pages, you will find lists of chapters for the Integrated Chinese books. I have placed links to games and topics that relate to the material. They should help you give some variety to your studies. The purpose of the topics pages is to collect related words from which to choose. You don't want to try to know them all! One at a time! But words you choose to learn, things that are relevant to your life, or phrases you like to say, are easier to learn than anything else.

All of the speakers who made the sound files are volunteers, most of them are students about your age. You can tell that some of them are shy. There are fast and slow speakers, male and female, people from Beijing, Hebei, Sichuan, Shaanxi, Anhui, Jiangsu, Guangzhou, etc. Some have slight accents, the type of accents you would encounter in the normal population. They all speak Putonghua, standard Chinese. If you only hear one standard accent, you will not have the ability to understand a wide variety of people.

When listening to phrases and sentences, start at the beginning of the list of speakers, those are the slower speakers. Listen until you can understand each word and say it yourself while understanding what you say. Then listen to the faster speakers to train your ear for speed. Don't try to speak quickly at first. Take your time. Your muscles need time to learn a new form of gymnastics. Your poor tongue is at a loss! Give it a chance to catch up. Pause between phrases, take a breath, then continue.

It's time for you to begin studying. Hopefully the features of Ting can help.

Integrated Chinese Level 1 Book One Part 1 - materials for the Introduction and Chapters 1 - 10

Integrated Chinese Level 1 Book Two Part 2 - materials for Chapters 10 - 20

Integrated Chinese Level 2 - materials for Chapters 1 - 20

University of Maine at Farmington
Last update: June, 2012
© Marilyn Shea 2012