Lan­guage app for phones un­veiled

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By NIU YUE in New York

Learn­ing Chi­nese just got more hands-on.

The Con­fu­cius In­sti­tute at Pace Uni­ver­sity (Pace CI) an­nounced the launch of a new Chi­nese lan­guage­learn­ing cell­phone ap­pli­ca­tion — Phoenix Chi­nese — along with its part­ner Phoenix Pub­lish­ing and Me­dia Group (PPMG) on Tues­day in New York.

“We are very glad to see the launch of the Phoenix Chi­nese App in Amer­ica for Chi­nese learn­ing and we are es­pe­cially glad to see this be­ing done at Pace Uni­ver­sity,” said Chen Xu, con­sul of the Con­sulate Gen­eral of China in New York dur­ing the app launch cer­e­mony. “This is an ef­fort in ac­cor­dance with an old Chi­nese proverb that peo­ple should keep pace with times.”

The Phoenix Chi­nese App is de­signed to be used in con­junc­tion with a pro­gres­sive text­book of the same name that the Pace CI de­vel­oped and PPMG pub­lished.

Nira Her­re­mann, dean of the Dyson Col­lege of Arts and Sciences at Pace Uni­ver­sity, said the pro­gram is dif­fer­ent from other Chi­nese lan­guage learn­ing apps.

“Our goal in cre­at­ing the app was to fill a par­tic­u­lar need for stu­dents who want to learn Chi­nese that are col­lege level and are in­ter­ested in the HSK tests,” Her­re­mann said.

The HSK Chi­nese pro­fi­ciency test is an in­ter­na­tional stan­dard­ized exam that tests and rates Chi­nese lan­guage pro­fi­ciency at six dif­fer­ent lev­els. The Pace CI is the first HSK on­line ex­am­i­na­tion cen­ter in New York.

“This is a unique ap­proach that makes sure stu­dents learn the HSK vo­cab­u­lary in the right or­der so they can begin pass­ing the tests that en­able them to go and study in China and to get schol­ar­ships in China,” said Her­re­mann.

Phoenix Chi­nese now of­fers learn­ing mod­ules to HSK level 3 by us­ing a sci­en­tific and sys­tem­atic ap­proach, with prac­ti­cal pre­sen­ta­tions and an in­ter­ac­tive in­ter­face.

“With the rapid de­vel­op­ing co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and the US, mu­tual lan­guage learn­ing is be­com­ing more im­por­tant and nec­es­sary than ever be­fore,” Chen said.

In ad­di­tion to lan­guage learn­ing, the app can be used for Sino-US cul­tural contrasts, as users role-play char­ac­ters in sit­u­a­tions and roles familiar to Amer­i­cans, ac­cord­ing to the app’s brochures.

Uday Sukhame, provost of Pace Uni­ver­sity, said, “Times have changed, stu­dents have changed, teach­ing and learn­ing has changed. Un­like the old days, to­day’s ba­bies are born with a com­puter in their hand, so we have to ad­just our ways of teach­ing so as to meet their re­quire­ments.”

“We hope that the other CIs in English-speak­ing coun­tries will also adopt this ap­proach and will find the app very use­ful,” Her­re­mann said. “We can use this as a ba­sis for ex­pand­ing the vo­cab­u­lary of our stu­dents and also for ex­pand­ing the au­di­ences by us­ing this app as a ba­sis for new and more gen­eral apps as well.” Hong Xiao in New York con­trib­uted to this story

Nira Her­re­mann(

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