Forum Rocket Chinese Chinese Vocab My Vocab Chinese giving wrong definition

My Vocab Chinese giving wrong definition


When I save a word it picks up the wrong tone, hence wrong word.
eg. Section 1.1
Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi?

Saving jiào  defines it as foot (jiǎo) instead of 'called'
This is happening too often, becomes annoying and gives wrong "my vocab" list.

David K

Yes, I've noticed the same problem.
When I tried copying Nine (and you) (tone keyboard not available in comment boxes.)

Get's picked up as "nine" in My Vocab. 


However, Ni hao ma, Hen, henhao all entered correctly.

David K

您好! Nínhǎo Divine Child, Good news, I have found a solution to our problem.

After some explorations I have realize that the software designers were expecting users to enter the original Chinese characters not the Pin Yin heuristic characters.  If one copies and pastes the Chinese characters into the My Vocab module it will automatically look up the Pin Yin and the definition.  Elsewhere I noted that it was unfortunate that the software didn't automatically supply the translations into both English and Chinese when entering PinYin. They obviously did not expect that many new students like ourselves would start out practically ignoring the Chinese idiographs and focusing our attention at first almost exclusively on the PinYin.

Because this is so common I still believe the development team should allocate some time in the future adding the capacity for students to enter PinYin in the My Vocab module, however, in the meantime until they find time students should use highlight the Chinese characters of the target word and My Vocab will automatically supply both the correct English and PinYIn translations.

Unfortunately, I have discovered another "error" or "opportunity for improvement in the My Vocab editor function. One can not apparently go back and correct, or make any edits at all to already incorrectly entered or incomplete PinYin, and/or English translations. The edit function only allows one to add additional notes in the note box.

If someone knows how to import and export My Vocab lists, or if the Rocket Development Team would add this customized list capability I would be glad to share my vocabulary lists for the initial lessons as I have added all new words.  Since nearly everyone using this software will do the same it would seem like a helpful service if Rocket Chinese came with some of the vocabulary lists we can anticipate that all new students are going to want.  Like for example, all the new vocabulary lessons in the whole course, as well as the ability to make customized small lists for each lesson and each module.  This same capability should be added to the Flashcards or someone should explain it if it is already possible.

I mean these suggestions in a happy "Continuous Improvement" aspirational Total Quality - Customer Delight kind of way - not as criticisms.

As an ambitious learning community we will forever be able to think of even more continuous improvements towards the impossible goal of perfection.


nóng fū

Mandarin Chinese is a written language based upon the Chinese characters.  The corresponding pinyin should only be taken as a pronunciation guide and not as the definition of the word.  Also, the tone of a word may change with sentence syntax, so the tone is also not a solid defining element.  

Many times Mandarin speakers will be unclear of a word during conversations and will revert to writing out the Chinese character for the other person, in order, to specify the intended word. 

So, pinyin should only be used as a pronunciation assist and the Chinese characters should be used to locate and tag the definitions of the words.

David K

Thank you nóng fū  for this very helpful explanation. Such an explanation would have been very helpful to have in the study materials before many of us struggled hard, like the salmon swimming upstream to the upriver spawning grounds. I hope the Rocket German team will get your permission to had your excellent and clear explanation to the next version of this great product.

Perhaps, you could also help us new students with a similar explanation of the Chinese character entry keyboard provided in the second writing sections, (which are new to me as they are not in the other language courses I've taken from Rocket.)

I also only just learned the lesson of the tones changing in context by reading the sections on the Writing of characters or somewhere where the instructions says when two "3rd tone" words are together the second one shifts to a different tone. So I look forward to learning more about this.

At first I was in the process of writing a feedback comment to suggest this second keyboard entry system was broken, as the when selecting the keyboard on the right of the entry box, an English keyboard comes up, and there are no characters on the "ALT" selections.  I have accidentally chosen this "Write Up" section thinking was in the first Write Up lessons and this was a broken keyboard missing the second page "ALT" accent characters to specify the four tones.

While trying to be as helpful as possible in documenting for the Rocket Development Team what I mistakenly thought was a software bug, I realized that there are different keyboards for the two different "Write Up" exercise section."  Then it took me more than an hour reading up Chinese character keyboard entry systems in Wikipedia before I have come to my current understanding of how I think this second keyboard entry system is supposed to work.

Again, there were many missteps along the way. I then thought the way forward was to select the keyboard option for Cangie characters, and looked on the internet for instructions on how to use this system.  But, as you must already know learning to use even the simplied Cangie enter systems by recognition and decomposition of the component radicals is a highly advanced skill that could be a longer course than even this one.

So only later did I come pack to poke around with what seemed mistakenly called the PinYin keyboard that has no accent characters did I realize that by typing the PinYin characters with only English symbols with no accent marks this new mystery keyboard provides a look up table provides a "look up table of the 7 to 9 different Chinese characters that the ambiguous English symbol Pinyin enter system might imply so then the new student is apparently expected to look back way "uppage" to see the correct character from the original instruction material, come back down and select the correct Chinese character, and then repeat this for each word in the sentence.

So the good news is that this does now seem to work. However, as someone who always aspired to be a "scholar" and good teacher, my concern is that many other new students will have given up long before this time and just assume that the software is "broken," or more likely not even be aware of the potential great learning value this section of the software is capable of assisting.

So I was just in the process of writing notes for a Feedback Comment, or perhaps a "Hints For New Users" so others could have a simple explanation of what to expect, how to use it, and why it is important.  But, you would be a much more knowledgeable person to make such a note.

I've noticed that you have many hundreds of thousands of points and seem to have been working at the highest daily rate in the world for all courses for what appears to be a very long time, perhaps many years.  You may be the most advanced student here, so any advice or tips for new students would be most appreciated. 

I have a short-window of time where I can study many hours, sometimes a whole day. I just finished the Level 1 German course in one month, and am now well into Level 2. I've spend nearly eight hours a day over the last three days, just trying to get a good start in this Chinese course, while also maintaining a similar effort in the German course, which I have a better chance of achieving proficiency in.  (I am 61 so time is sadly limited by mortality. )  I do not know how long this window will last.  As soon as I get another consulting contract, a will only be able to put in a couple hours a day.

Since my son is CEO of a company that has many suppliers in China, and I have been to the ROC many dozens of times, I decided to buy us both this Chinese course for his birthday so we could learn Mandarin together. One of Jason's articles reports that Mandarin may become one of the two most important languages for business in the next decade, if it is not already.

I am finding so many of these hidden challenges my concern is that we may not get far enough into the language before our motivation wanes. So I've bolstered my own energy by trying to write helpful comments for other new students which is something I know how to do.

So thank you very much for your helpful insights.

David K

您好! Nínhǎo nóng fū

I come back only to correct my error in saying you "must have many hundreds of thousands of points."  I now discover that you have 2,125,397 to be the all time number one student of all Rocket courses. 
祝贺  Zhùhè  Congratulations of this achievement.

I also notice you have 901,982 points just for this year alone.  Do I remember correctly reading from another note that you are from Taiwan have studied Mandarin for three years and hope to be fluent in another three years? 

Just for inspiration, may I ask how you have maintained such a remarkable and ambitious study routine for so long? How many hours do you study each day? Do you do it in one block or break it up.  I break my study into many smaller blocks.  First thing in the morning, in German I play through and record every sentence in the whole module I am studying, then come back many time during the day into 20 to 90 minute block for more focused study on the writing, Know-It and other exercises that require more concentration.  When I get tired I listen to the tapes or just do Flashcards as fast as I can, sometimes if I'm really tired skipping the really long sentences that require maximum concentration.  I find that having these very fast alternate sessions can re-energize me.

This is a challenge I am having in this mandarin course, in that I do not understand the basic sound and word sets well enough to do this handy trick I use in the German course.  For example, I just spent over 90 minutes on one of the first Write It lesson in Chinese, and still had to look up over 50% of the words for the correct accent-tone marks. Sometimes this lowers my energy and I feel bogged down. That's when I read and write comments so I can try to stay engaged before getting a "second wind" or another burst of energy.  I am going to load the Audio MP3 as well as make recordings of My Vocab list so I can listen while taking a walk.  I already put my computer beside the pool so I can listen to the audios for the whole course in advance while doing swimming exercises.




Hang in gets better over time. You will soon learn about radicals and how Chinese characters are composed of these things. Rocket Chinese does a good job of presenting these concepts. Keep asking questions and people like me will rise to the challenge to answer them.

David K

Thanks Robert.  I've actually very enthusiastic about how much I've learned and how well this system is working.

I hope I do not sound like I'm complaining.  I'm sort of a "compulsive improver."

I just discovered some new data.  In Section 2.4 there are a numerous of words that will not enter with the Chinese characters but do enter in Pinyin. 

For example, 女士们先生们,
Nǚshìmen xiānshengmen,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I tried both the sliding the cursor technique as well as highlighting different combinations of the Chinese Characters, copying and trying to paste them into the My Vocab dictionary with no reaction. (i.e. no PinYin and English translations come up.)

Just out of curiousity I copied the PinYin words for ladies and gentlemen and tried pasting them into MyVocab and "bingo" both the original Chinese and English translations popped up! 

So fellow students, if one way doesn't work try another. The good news is that there is a lot of hidden functionality in MyVocab.  Perhaps, this is covered in FAQ or the Tour which I never took?

Hey Robert, I've seen your name in many of the long ago forum comments.  How long have you been studying here?

Thanks again for commenting.


I have studied Chinese for four years.
My wife is Chinese.

You really need to learn the Chinese characters (Hanzi) if you want to get far in your learning. It is much easier to get translations entering Hanzi than Pinyin, though smartphone apps like Pleco do a pretty good job at understanding Pinyin.

I also suggest you get a book on Chinese grammar (yes, really). That will answer a lot of questions. Finally, this website is worth looking at:

David K

您好! Nínhǎo

Thanks Robert, I will check out these links.  It did occur to me that it might be less work to just use an external dictionary.

Google translates decodes your Chinese perfectly. :-)

I see you are a Chinese Black Star Hero with a total of 930,303 points making you the second of all time in this Chinese course and the third of all time in all Rocket courses.  Wow that's a lot of points.
Gǎnxiè hé wǒ yīqǐ jiāotán. Wǒ zhīdào měi gèrén dōu zài bàoyuàn gǔgē fānyì, dàn tā shì hěnduō bǐ wǒ néng zuò dào. Wǒ rènwéi zhè shì wěidà de.


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