Printable Expansion Sentences are Here!

January 11, 2011, 08:43 AM posted in General Discussion

New Feature: Printable Expansion Sentences

With the recent launch of ChinesePod Courses, one exciting new feature that has been added to ChinesePod lesson pages is a printable version of the Expansion Sentences. This will be available Wednesday morning, Beijing time.

What are Expansion Sentences?
Expansion Sentences are the little gems found within the “Expansion” tab of every ChinesePod lesson. These carefully constructed sentences take the lesson’s key vocabulary and phrases and use them in alternative, practical contexts.

The feature is a fantastic way to review new vocabulary because the focus is on helping you feel confident to use the language in various situations.

Before now, though, there was no easy way to study offline, much to the chagrin of many poddies!

How do I print the Expansion Sentences?
To view an HTML printout of the expansion exercises, simply click on the “Expansion” tab on your chosen lesson’s web page.  Next to the word “Expansion” you’ll see the PDF icon.

Click that icon to open an HTML version of the page.  From here, you can either save it as a PDF (right click “Save As”), or print out a hard copy.

The feature is available to Premium subscribers and those on one of ChinesePod’s new 3-month Courses.

We hope this will help you in your studies! Please let us know should you have any questions or feedback.

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January 11, 2011, 09:05 AM

Oh, that is so good, thanks very much. Should save me some time.

Can I check though - is it possible to edit out the pinyin and English translation in the pdf, or before it goes to pdf? That is my particular beef - I don't want the pinyin or the English, and at the moment I laboriously copy it into a Word document and delete. Will the new arrangement make my life easier or leave it the same?

I would like this for the dialogues as well. Am I missing something? Is this already available? At the moment it seems quite a laborious process if you don't want these extras. For me they make reading the sentences distracting, and also I just don't want to see the translation or the pronunciation - they inhibit my learning.

I know I can turn it off on the web-site, that is no problem. It is for printing purposes that I would like just the Chinese.

What's the verdict?

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The English translations will still be visible. Basically the option converts whatever you've selected as your preference for viewing expansions (simplified or traditional) into an HTML transcript. This doesn't sound like it'll solve the problem you've described, but I do think it's going to be a helpful tool for many people.

Currently the PDF and HTML lesson transcripts (links are in the left-hand sidebar) show the dialog and vocabulary. We didn't add a print button to the dialog page as we thought it would be redundant.

The option to create a transcript of the dialog/expansions in which translations are hidden is something to consider in the future. Thanks for you feedback!

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Hi Catherine

Actually I thought that this had been raised a number of times in the past (the difficulty of reading with pinyin underneath); maybe it was all in my head. :)

With the dialogue - you do have the link at the bottom of the pdf already that gives you a printable version - isn't that the idea of that link? The problem is that deleting the pin yin and English is still hampered by the frames (is that still the term used?) You can delete what you want but it still leaves a big space that you can't delete. Waste of paper for the most part.

Now I am a long way from Advanced, even UI; people at this level are unlikely to want pinyin and English. Yes I know people of all levels do these lessons, but surely that could be handled with a switch so that you can get rid of it if you don't want it. For printing I mean.

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January 11, 2011, 10:24 PM

why is it so complicated for CPod to create some new custom style PDFs?

Wrote a quick application for this in around 20 minutes:

(is a PDF which uses Acrobat Reader native chinese fonts (you might have to download the font's service pack)

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How many concurrent users is your application able to support?

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Most of the difficulty in developing new custom PDFs (or most anything, for that matter) is supporting lots of concurrent users, across a range of platforms, and across 1500+ lessons (which may or may not have various oddities in data encoding, etc.).

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My app is a proof-of-concept and a toy for me. I'm not your competition or something and I'm not planing to do so.

And actually, from what I have read so far is that the requests are rather simple: Show only the Chinese characters.

To make that flexible, I propose to have a section Chinese, a section Pinyin and a section English. (A request for comments from your side could bring clarification as well)

Add this "new" PDF to the original - one page dialogue, one page extension. Pre-render them (don't tell me that you are doing all the PDF's manually! - my app right now could do that automatically, and WLCP with an update as well) over night and publish them to amazon. Add the link to the lesson section.

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January 11, 2011, 11:45 PM

I'm probably in a minority in that the vast majority of my study time for each lesson is spent on the Expansion tab as opposed to the lesson/dialogue itself. As far as I'm concerned, the Expansion tab is the best bit of the lesson. This new printing functionality will be useful, however I've actually found it more useful to force myself to hand-write out the expansion sentences on a separate pad of paper (probably why I take so long on this part of the lesson!), since it helps cement knowledge of characters, both reading and writing. Just my tuppence.

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January 12, 2011, 01:16 PM

In my view the expansion sentences are what sets ChinesePod apart from the other stuff that's out there. There's no shortage of material around, but this is the only place I know where I can encounter a new word and immediately click a button to hear it in different contexts.

This new feature should be helpful. And I also agree that it would be even better if these things could be done without Pinyin or English.

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January 12, 2011, 01:49 PM

I also find the Expansion section the most useful.  I have difficulty with tones so listening and repeating sentences have been helpful to me. Also my teachers have told me to pause (very) briefly after 4-6 characters when reading aloud.  Hearing the brief pauses in the Expansion sentences have also helped me in this area.  Previously I used to read the whole sentence all the way through and was out of breath at the end, which sounded terrible.

I agree that if there was a way to "hide" at least the Pinyin section, that would be very useful.  My teachers tell me that I rely on the Pinyin too much and don't try to remember the characters as well as I should.  The textbook I use no  longer has Pinyin underneath the characters, which has forced me to memorize the characters.  (The Pinyin is at the end of the chapter, but isn't as convenient to refer to as in the lower-level textbooks.)   Seeing Pinyin with the characters gives me a crutch which I should have thrown away a while ago!

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January 13, 2011, 11:50 AM

I seem to be out of step with a number of commentators, but I really appreciate having the Chinese AND pinyin AND English.  It seems to reinforce my learning and also, I’m learning with my 6-year old daughter for who currently Chinese script is a bit time consuming.  But she can read pinyin and we can chat in Chinese, which considering the reputation we Brits have for being mono-linguistic is encouraging :-)