Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Any serious learner of Chinese needs to download Pleco. Sure it's named after a sucker fish, but you're the only sucker if you don't have it already.

I was getting by with another dictionary app (i.e., being a sucker) until a friend tipped me off to this one, and it definitely is the bee’s knees. I've been using Pleco for about a year, and it has yet to disappoint.

Besides having clear but thorough definitions, usually with examples, Pleco’s interface is smooth, minimalistic and easy to use. There are a number of customizable options so that you can decide for yourself how much, and how detailed, information you want to see. It has all kinds of words, too: how about "克苏鲁 (Kèsūlǔ) = Cthulhu, fictional cosmic entity created by writer H. P. Lovecraft"?

Pleco also isn’t idiotic; if you type in a string of characters, the app will split it into different words on its own, rather than telling you that you’ve fed it something garbled it can’t decipher.

Best of all, though, is the handwriting function. You can draw any character with your fingertip and the app will bring up suggestions. This is invaluable for a language with no phonetic alphabet. I got through the entire first volume of Sailor Moon in Mandarin with Pleco by my side.

Oh, and did I mention this is just the free version?

Pleco is available for Android and iOS!


Pleco should pay you for that review of its product!

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