Learning Chinese, what we use on iPad & iPhone Pleco


Nǐ hǎo 你好 Adafruit is learning Mandarin Chinese. We have an iPad and iPhone here at the shop and as part of language learning (Chinese/Mandarin) we tried out a few apps to help us. After some experimentation we’re going with Pleco for now. Here’s an overview of the things we like about it:

Pleco is the ultimate Chinese learning companion – an integrated Chinese dictionary / document reader / flashcard system with fullscreen handwriting input and live camera-based character recognition.

Dictionaries: the built-in one has over 20,000 example sentences with Pinyin, the popular CC-CEDICT is available as a free add-on, and 7 other wonderful dictionaries are available as paid upgrades.

Fullscreen handwriting: use the entire width of your iPhone’s screen to draw characters.

Live Optical Character Recognizer: look up words simply by pointing your device’s camera at them, or by tapping on them in a still image.

Flashcard System: create a card from any dictionary entry with a single button tap, import premade word lists, use advanced memorization techniques like SRS (spaced repetition), and study in a variety of modes including fill-in-the-blanks handwriting and tone drills.

Powerful search: look up words by Chinese characters, Pinyin (spaces and tones optional), or a combination, with support for wildcards and full-text search.

Cross-referencing: tap on any Chinese character / word in any dictionary entry to bring up its definition.

Audio Pronunciation: instantly hear a native-speaker audio recording of each Chinese headword; recordings are available for over 34,000 words.

Stroke Order Diagrams: animations showing you how to draw each character; over 20,000 characters are covered.

Software is sold only through in-app purchases, those purchases can be transferred to other devices that sync to your iTunes account just as with any other iOS software; simply load up the free version on each device, open up the “Add-ons” screen, and tap on the “Restore Purchases” button to activate your purchase on each device.


We got the $100 pack and so far we’re really enjoying it, the flash cards are really good and can be shared across devices.

You can see our previous posts about learning Chinese (Mandarin) below:
Adafruit is learning Chinese
Learning Chinese – “The Moon Represents My Heart”
Learning Chinese: Your tips and comments…

As always, share your suggestions for tips, learning guides, books and more in the comments! 谢谢。Xièxiè

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