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Hello Everyone!

In my first post on drunkencoders, I want to write about the DS project Iím currently working on. Itís a language learning tool called ďChinese Touchď. In contrast to the only commercial Chinese learning app and another homebrew one i have seen myself for DS so far, Iím not trying to create a complete course for a specific level of language skill on my own. One reason is, that I am a beginner in Chinese myself. The other reason is that I want to utilize a great advantage DS homebrew has over most commercial DS products Ė that being easy read/write access to mass storage and the possibility to use data provided by the user Ė to create a very generic and extensible learning tool, useful for any skill level and not necessarily for Chinese.
Extensibility, especially if it can be done by the user, is a huge benefit for a learning tool, because there are very different requirements and already loads of good language learning materials available, free and non-free.

Enough of theory. Let me give you an introduction to the features already implemented in Chinese Touch.

The first picture shows the lesson menu. You can create and organise multiple books and each book may contain any number of lessons. Chinese Touch reads available books from a directory structure on your SD/flash memory card.
This is the word trainer. You can browse through lists of new words defined in one or more lessons and hide portions of the dictionary entry visible on the top screen. Try to remember and write down your solution on the touch screen. There are no character recognition capabilities for now, but you can control yourself using the hide/show buttons on the top edge of the touch screen. You also can give a rating to each individual word and generate dynamic word lists for each rating per lesson or per book.
The text browser in Chinese Touch is one of the most important features. As the text format needed by the program is just UTF-8 encoded plain text, you can easily copy any text from the internet and try to read it on your DS. Scrolling of longer texts is done intuitively by grabbing the touch screen. If you do not know the meaning of a word you can tap on it, thus doing a dictionary lookup on it. You can browse multiple hits using the left/right on-screen buttons.
This is the latest, bleeding edge feature in Chinese Touch. If you have downloaded one of the large dictionaries provided on the project site, you can do fulltext search in the translation and pronunciation fields. The screenshot also shows, that you can use Chinese Touch for other languages, Japanese in this case. I plan to implement a localization feature, that allows to chose from a set of interface languages.
If you tap on the small blue button next to the left button, available in most modes when a word is currently displayed on the top screen, you can copy the word definition onto the touch screen, thus empowering you to recursively lookup characters or words found in dictionary entries itself.

You can get the latest copy of Chinese Touch from

Any proposals? Like to join hacking on that piece of code? Which open licensed dictionaries do you like and want me to convert for the use in Chinese Touch? Please share your thoughts and leave me a comment