Language app for phones unveiled
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