pinyin too easy?

I am tempted to say I would like to get marked TOTALLY wrong if I get the tone wrong. It seems way too easy for someone building a decent character vocabulary to guess the pinyin of the word but get the tone wrong. I wanna be forced to get the tone right. I worry there are words I'm getting the tone wrong about the same frequency I guess the right one, and it's not really improving. Thoughts?

Posted by ThatHorse 4/23/12, last update 5/4/12 (1 year ago)
  • I can see where you're coming from. I got a word totally wrong today - answered "bang1" for "wang4". Got the word completely mixed up with another - yet I was marked "almost" correct.

    I don't think I should have got away with that :P

    Posted by extantpanda 4/24/12 (1 year ago)
  • That's another thing, a LOT of words, maybe too many, have the pinyin as english answers and vice versa. There are a lot of ways to coast through, think you're getting by, and I don't have the ability to check and see if things are actually slipping through the cracks.

    In theory those words I never get quite right (but always get partially right) are going to pop up for me to water at a scientifically determined frequency. Someone should kind of critically examine this at times though and see if it's really happenning. Maybe they are.

    I think there's a lot of words I'm just 50/50 guessing the tone every time, not sure if I'm even improving at it! I think that's my main point.

    Likewise, there should be someone checking to see if some alternate answers are being inputted massively more than any others, basically some way to monitor for potential red flags and review it. We don't want a lot of mis-learning or false learning to go on.

    Setting up some ways to systemically raise these flags and review them may be necessary because the amt. of data being added/edited is just massive.

    Honestly sometimes I get full points on a word and what I should do is stop, hit edit, figure out what happened because I really have no confidence with the word. But this happens so often and I'm so eager to learn that I don't always take the time. Some clever change to the interface could let me tag these quickly and review 'em later. Quick tags, to tag and group things for later tasks, while learning.

    Posted by ThatHorse 4/25/12 (1 year ago)
  • There should be at least two mistakes for it to be wrong. :P

    Posted by WayOfTheWott 4/26/12 (1 year ago)
  • I reckon that "almost correct" should be removed entirely from pinyin tests. Considering how close different sounds are to one another in Chinese, "almost correct" usually means "completely wrong".

    In particular, tones have become a weakness for me. I've had quite a few Chinese people say something to me like "zuo4 ju3? What's zuo4 ju3? Oh, you mean zuo4 ju2!" I also occasionally confuse zh and ch, q and j, which are also marked as "almost".

    I feel like the learning algorithm should be made harsher for pinyin - reflecting how difficult it is to remember, comparatively - until I get it consistently perfect over a few weeks. Because of the nature of Chinese, anything less than perfect recall obfuscates the meaning of my utterances.

    Finally, the pinyin multiple choice tests could do to be a lot trickier. It's not exactly hard to guess the correct pinyin when only one or two of the answers have the same number of syllables as the question.

    Posted by TL-TheUltimate 5/4/12 (1 year ago)

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