App re-review—LingoDeer (Chinese)

I was contacted by the LingoDeer team again, this time asking if I could check out their Mandarin course again! They mentioned that they fixed and tweaked some of the things that I was a little cool on in my first review and wondered if I would be interesting in giving the course another look. Sure, no problem!

Just a little disclaimer: I’m not getting anything out of reviewing it; I’m doing it because I like doing app reviews and because they asked nicely :B I’ll be as objective as ever~

Before I get into it, here’s the pros and cons list from my previous post for comparison:

PROS:

  • GREAT audio files
  • Pinyin chart is AWESOME
  • Lots of good notes and information on grammar
  • Spaced repetition practice and flashcards
  • Study reminders
  • Course is paced well
  • Survival Chinese section

CONS:

  • No function to test out of lower levels
  • Strange grammar in notes and in learning levels
  • No speaking practice for normal levels (speaking on Pinyin chart and Survival Chinese is adequate)
  • Traditional character support is limited
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Okay, time for LingoDeer Chinese review round 2!

To start, I’ll talk about what I won’t talk about, which is the good features I talked about last time. If I don’t say anything about them, you can assume that they still exist in the app, of course! I’ll mostly focus on improvements made to things I considered cons, and things that I still think could use some improvement.

One of the first notable changes is that you can now test out of material that you already know. This was actually implemented a while back, I think maybe around when I wrote my review for Japanese LingoDeer? Anyway, it’s a very useful feature that was missing when I first reviewed the app.

I mentioned last time that some of the grammar notes and learning levels had some awkward English translations going on. I looked through a few of the notes and they seem to have improved since last time, though you will still encounter the occasional thing like “They like French” for “They like French people.”

One of my favorite things is that the support for traditional characters is a lot better now! The phrases in the “Survival Chinese” section now display in traditional if you have your LingoDeer set to traditional characters. Also, there is now writing practice with traditional characters! The stroke order diagrams look great and are really useful. Thumbs up! However, the grammar notes still lack traditional characters even if you have your preferred set as traditional, so traditional support is not quite complete.

In terms of the actual questions in the learning levels, you can now type in answers for some of the questions instead of just picking characters that are laid out for you. In that way, you can practice typing in Chinese on your phone. Otherwise, the questions are the same as they were the first time I reviewed.

One thing that wasn’t added in—and the team warned me of this when they asked me to re-review so I didn’t go looking for it—is speaking practice. If only…!

Finally, one thing that I noticed was added is a whole new section—actually, a whole new app—under the “Alphabet” tile for an HSK vocab spaced repetition trainer! Since it is a separate app, I won’t talk too much about it here, but I do plan to check it out and maybe do a separate review on that later. A quick peek makes it seem pretty promising!

 

Now, let’s revisit the pros and cons list:

PROS:

  • GREAT audio files
  • Pinyin chart is AWESOME
  • Lots of good notes and information on grammar
  • Spaced repetition practice and flashcards
  • Study reminders
  • Course is paced well
  • Survival Chinese section
  • **Can now test out of lower levels
  • **Grammar in notes and learning levels has been improved
  • **Outside of grammar notes, traditional character support has been improved!

CONS:

  • No function to test out of lower levels
  • Strange grammar in notes and in learning levels
  • No speaking practice for normal levels (speaking on Pinyin chart and Survival Chinese is adequate) **(I shall keep waiting :< )
  • Traditional character support is limited

 

As always, happy studying!