Create a trilingual course (Mandarin - English - German)?

(The following thread is related to pinto's discussion 'first language not English' -- in some essential points it is different.) I'm a German speaker who is learning Mandarin with the courses featured by memrise (HSK, Spoken Chinese etc.). I really love them and was able to learn many characters in quite a short time. I even learned some new English words (e.g. archer's thimble). All this is fine. But I got the following impression (a) if you don't use the English expression frequently, you have serious problems to remember the meaning of the Mandarin character, (b) remembering the Pinyin is extremely difficult even if there are good pronunciation mems (which often use similarities with English words) (c) when reading a Chinese text you sometimes have to go round the corner (δΉ¦ - shu1 - book - Buch). Therefore, I have translated the entire HSK 3 course into German. I would like to upload it in a way that integrates the German translations into the existing database so that the existing English mems can be seen and the English translations remain possible answers but the default setting would be the German translation. If this were possible I'd be happy to contribute mems and especially pronunciation mems for German speakers.

How do you (users, curators, Ben) think about it?

Posted by wangxingzhi 8/6/12, last update 8/6/12 (1 year ago)
  • From what I know - they just make a new wiki - case in point - japanese for germans. If you go to the topics page - click on the source language drop down menu. Then click on the actual topic and you will find the wikis populated with the specified source language and target language. Your idea sounds really cool, but I'm not sure Memrise will go for it based on what they have already done. Maybe in the future - they might do something similar to what you're suggesting.

    Posted by jenniferhunter 8/6/12 (1 year ago)
  • Hi jenniferhunter, thanks for your reply. I know that there are many courses with source languages other than English. My point is more specific: I think you can learn what a character means on the basis of English mems. There are some constraints (e.g. that you may not know the English expression very well or have to look it up etc.) but this basically works somehow. What does not work well (at least for me) is to learn the Pinyin, especially the tones, on the basis of mems in a foreign language. I think different levels of language acquisition are involved in these two steps (definition, pronunciation). Instead of setting up a new course and thus loosing all the wonderful meaning-related mems I would like to set up something like a trilingual area which in some parts overlaps with the 'official' course (i.e. the official course is contained in it), in some parts is only relevant to, for example, German speaking learners. I assume that most German speakers have sufficient English to use the English mems whereas most English speakers will not profit from German pronunciation mems for Chinese words.

    Posted by wangxingzhi 8/6/12 (1 year ago)
  • I think it would be cool to have different language mems - Sorry I must have misunderstood because I thought there would be an option to see the german translation as well(because of the reference to HSK 3 translated to german).
    I don't think anything is stopping you from creating a mem using German to convey the meaning/sound/misc. At least that's what I'm getting from what BenWhately said - "I think that we should allow this, but at the moment you may find that people vote down mems in languages that they don't understand." I'm pretty sure that if you uploaded that course in a german/mandarin wiki - that they could transfer the audio/mems over. The only drawback is - because of how the current system is set up - any newly created meaning mems, etc mems would not automatically transfer over. This would be a one-time deal. If they created a function that automatically populated all the target language wikis when new mems were added, that would keep all the wikis current while keeping the database somewhat streamlined.

    Posted by jenniferhunter 8/6/12 (1 year ago)

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