I have a slight problem with how Memrise handles parts of speech in the mandarin courses. Actually, it’s a ‘not-so-slight’ problem. According to the mandarin FAQ, each unique character is assigned all the parts of speech that is associated with the character. ("Many Chinese words can be more than one part of speech. In this case the all, separated by semi colons." ) However, this does not make sense because of Memrise’s implementation. When we are introduced to a character, we are introduced to one specific meaning, for example, 家 (home). According to Memrise, this character is both a noun and measure word. But, is the definition I learned for the noun or for the measure word? What if I wanted to use the character as a measure word? Do I actually know how to use the character as a measure word? For example, is it a measure word for buildings, homes, families, groups of people, lumbar, windows, etc? This is just a simple example. Another example is this character: 短 (duan3) which memrise has classified as an adjective and noun. The user learns the adjective meaning “short”, but is that the meaning of the noun as well? The ABC Dictionary (Defrancis/Yanyin) shows an entry for the verb form (to lack, to owe) and the bound form is “weak point”. I’ve seen other characters with even more “parts of speech” associated with them.
In some Chinese dictionaries I’ve seen, they differentiate the multiple interpretations of the character by part of speech explicitly, ex: (http://www.nciku.com/search/zh/detail/å®¶/1307102). Others just list out all the possible meanings of the character. I would prefer using English/Romance language parts of speech where possible, but that’s just because I don’t want to get into free morphemes vs. bound morphemes, etc. For more information on that, here’s a link.
http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~rsimmon/chingram/ In other languages (ex: Spanish), some words are differentiated by their part of speech and multiple entries exist. One example is the word ‘tarde’. If the part of speech is an adverb, I enter “late”, if it’s a noun, I enter “afternoon”. (I don’t need the definite article (“la”), because the part of speech determines how I should interpret and use this word.) I don’t find the different definitions confusing because my mind associates specific meanings based on the word’s part of speech.
Could memrise, split up a character’s meanings based on its part of speech (verb, adverb, pronoun, noun, adjective, measure word, preposition, radical, chengyu, phrase, etc.) and the specific definition associated with said part of speech? example – entry 1 -家, noun, home; entry 2; 家, mw, mw for companies/families If a character has multiple meanings that have the same part of speech, can we use some hint mechanism (e.g. verb 1) so that the user knows what to input?