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If you want to look up words:

MDBG Chinese-English dictionary

In order to assist you and your students we provide some example wordlists. You can open them via the Open List button on the Settings page. The wordlists will be installed in the wordlists directory.
For students using Windows, please read the section below about handling .sgc and .zip files.

When reading wordlists with included audio, users on OSX (Mac) and Linux should select the standard wordlists with the .sgc extension for SpeakGoodChinese. These are just standard ZIP files, but the .sgc extension makes them easier to handle in SpeakGoodChinese. Wordlists with the .zip extensions will not be loaded when selected.

If you have 7-Zip or Winzip installed on MS Windows, the automatic installation of .sgc files might work on Windows too.

Windows users who cannot load the standard wordlists should download the ZIP version and unpack the wordlist ZIP, i.e., extract the map inside. Often this can be done by a double click on the downloaded file and then dragging the map inside it to the place where you want to store it.

If the map extracted from the ZIP file contains scripts with the name(s) Windows_install.bat, Mac_install.app and Linux_install.sh, these will do the installation for you. Just double click on the appropriate install script. The wordlists and if available, the SpeakGoodChinese binary will be installed.

If the install scripts are not present, click on the Open List button on the Settings page and locate the maps that store the wordlists (and audio). Open one (and only one) of the files in each wordlist map. The wordlist maps can be located inside a separate wordlists map. Each separate wordlist map will have to be loaded by opening a file inside it. It does not really matter which file is chosen (e.g., <name>.wav or wordlist.txt or wordlist.Table). If all goes well, the wordlist will be loaded. This will work on OSX (Mac) and Linux too. You can delete the files you downloaded after opening the wordlist.

Plain text wordlists (e.g., <name>.txt) or full tables (e.g., <name>.Table or <name>.tsv) can also directly be opened using the Open List button on the Settings page.

Practicing using audio examples, pinyin, characters, and translations

The text that is displayed for each word or phrase during practicing can be selected on the Settings page. Under the heading View and Sound, provided they are available in the wordlist, you can select any combination of:

When practicing, the "hidden" text can be displayed by clicking on the text area. The whole string of Pinyin, Character, and Translation (when available) will be written in red. This will disappear again when the window is redrawn (use the Refresh button or press the space bar).

The use of audio under the Example button (Main page) is controlled with the two next buttons under the View and Sound heading. To use any real audio examples available, press Real example. To use the synthetic voice if no real example is available or selected, press Synthesis. When both Synthesis and Real example are deselected, only a humming sound is used for the tones.

The word lists are shuffled before each presentation, unless the Shuffle button is deselected. Shuffling is done before each round, and after selecting lessons or words using the Select words option. When the Shuffle button is deselected, words will be presented in the last order used.

How to create word lists

To load, or read, a new word list go to the Settings page and click on the Open List button. You can then select the file that contains the word list. It will automatically open and be stored in your local word list directory.

Very simple word lists

The easiest and simplest way to create a word list is to create a pure text file (.txt, or DOS file). The file should have the name of the word list and the extention should be .txt. Each line should countain a single pinyin word.

Example: SGC2example1.txt
chi1
ta1
jin1tian1
can1ting1
huan1ying2
zhong1guo2
duo1shao3
zhi3you3

Simple word lists with characters and translations

Characters and translations can be added to the simple, text based word list descibed above. Again, create a pure text (.txt, or DOS file) file with the .txt extention. Each line should start with a pinyin word. Next, follow the pinyin by a tab or ';' character and the characters that correspond to the pinyin, again a tab or ';' character and the translation in free text. Translations can be in any language. For instance, can be entered as to eat, कालो, 食べる, ჭამა or any other transcription in UTF8.

Example: SGC2example2.txt
chi1;吃;to eat
ta1;他;he, she, it
jin1tian1;今天;today
can1ting1;餐厅;restaurant
huan1ying2;欢迎;to welcome
zhong1guo2;中国;China
duo1shao3;多少;how many
zhi3you3;只有;only

Audio files can be added in the same manner. Just add an item with the extention of an audio file to the line (between tabs or ';' characters). For instance, chi1.mp3 will be interpreted as an audio example.

These simple word lists do not contain information about the order and nature of the items. There can be errors in distinguishing characters, translations, and audio examples.

Word list tables

Simple word lists based on text files can lead to errors in the values of the items. Large lists with both characters and translations should be constructed as tab-separated-values (tsv) tables. These can be exported (Save as) from a spreadsheet or database program. The file extention of such a file should be .Table or .tsv.

A SpeakGoodChinese wordlist table is a tab-separated-values table that starts with a header line which contains the column headers Pinyin, Character, Sound, Translation. Then the column values are written on a line with tabs separating them.

Example: SGC2example3.tsv
PinyinCharacterSoundTranslation
chi1-to eat
ta1-he, she, it
jin1tian1今天-today
can1ting1餐厅-restaurant
huan1ying2欢迎-to welcome
zhong1guo2中国-China
duo1shao3多少-how many
zhi3you3只有-only

Word lists with associated audio files

These word list distributions are simple flat ZIP files with the name <list name>.sgc. They contain a list of all the words in pinyin with the name wordlist.txt or wordlist.Table as is discussed above. Except that the name of the word list file should be either wordlist.txt or wordlist.Table. Other names are not allowed. The sound files should be named <pinyin word>.ext, where <pinyin word> is the pinyin transcription, eg, sheng1zi4, and ext the sound extension type (eg, wav). Note that SpeakGoodChinese uses Praat to process the sound files. So only those sound files recognized by Praat can be used (see Praat: Read from file...). SpeakGoodChinese will use WAV (.wav), Flac (.flac), MP3 (.mp3), and Speex (.spx) files as examples if they are present . Don't forget to include a LICENSE.txt file with the copyright and licensing information. If you use one of the Creative Commons licenses or the GNU GPL, we might be willing to put your list on our web-site.

It is possible to use SpeakGoodChinese to record example audio files for wordlists and student evaluation. On the Settings page, press the Save Audio button and select a folder to store the recordings. A blue dot will be displayed in the lower right corner of the Main page as long as recordigns are stored. The recorded files have file-names constructed of the pinyin spelling of the word and the extention .wav. Every recording will overwrite existing recordings of the same pinyin word. The storage of recordings can be terminated by pressing the Save Audio button again. Select those recordings you consider good enough as examples and copy them to the target wordlist directory for inclusion in the distribution. When available, SpeakGoodChinese will display the stored recordings for evaluation until a new one is recorded.

Word selection and Lessons

Students can select the words to practise on the Settings page. The wordlist table can contain a collumn with the label Lesson and a lesson number for each line. The words are sorted and displayed with lesson numbers in the word selection window. The student can select the lessons to study when starting.

Example: SGC2example4.tsv
PinyinCharacterSoundTranslationLesson
chi1-to eat1
ta1-he, she, it1
jin1tian1今天-today1
can1ting1餐厅-restaurant1
huan1ying2欢迎-to welcome1
zhong1guo2中国-China2
duo1shao3多少-how many2
zhi3you3只有-only2

The entries in the Lesson column do not have to be numbers. Any string is allowed, Lesson 2, पाठ 2, レッスン2 and 第二课 are all valid lesson labels.

Packaging and distributing SpeakGoodChinese and Wordlists

Having students installing SpeakGoodChinese and lessons (wordlists) one by one for a course can be impractical. For this, a one-stop solution was created. It can also be used to just distribute wordlists with audio examples.

Create a map (directory) with two subdirectories:

Copy the following files into the top directory:

Copy the SpeakGoodChinese2 binaries from here into the SGC2 map.
Copy the maps with the wordlists (see above) into the wordlists map. See this example.

See here for the complete example.

The map can be distributed using USB thumbdrives, or compressed as a ZIP file downloaded from the internet and the original map extracted. When the appropriate script file is executed, i.e., double clicking the file icon, the correct binary is copied to the Desktop and the wordlist maps are installed in the SpeakGoodChinese2 preferences directory. Thus, on a Windows computer, double click on the Windows_install.bat icon.

Global installation of word lists

The wordlists a user installs are placed in her local settings directory:

To install wordlists for all users, place them in: