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AI / Alexa / Amazon

Alexa Skill of the Week: Chineasy

Each week, we take a look at new and important Alexa skills you might want to consider enabling for your Alexa device. Amazon continues to improve Alexa with its own updates, but skills are software components that allow Alexa users to extend functionality across all Alexa-enabled devices in use for very specific functions.

Alexa is available for Amazon devices Echo, Dot, Tap, Fire tablets, and Fire TV, but also on iOS, Android, and the web with Reverb.ai.

This week’s skill: Chineasy

Description: Learn Chinese with ease! In Talk Chineasy for Alexa, ShaoLan and a special guest share interesting stories as they teach you a new Chinese sentence each day. Our amazing guests are experts at what they do, and include rock stars, artists, CEOs, professors, adventurists, scientists, and more. You’ll discover the rich culture behind the most widely spoken language, while you learn how to converse in basic Mandarin Chinese. Learn a new sentence in Chinese every day and discover cultural knowledge.

To use Chineasy, say…

“Alexa, ask Chineasy for today’s lesson.”

“Alexa, ask Chineasy what tomorrow’s lesson is about.”

“Alexa, tell Chineasy to play yesterday’s lesson.”

Real world use: This is absolutely one of my most favorite Alexa skills right now. Seriously – this skill excites me more than any other.  I’ve been to China a bunch over the years and have become very familiar with certain words, phrases, and sentences. If you dump me alone in the country I could survive. But, still the Chinese language is one that takes constant learning and to become fluent is difficult. With English as my primary language there’s a lot about language you have to unlearn to learn Chinese.

A couple examples:

  1. In the Chinese language there are no verb tenses.
  2. To pose a question you use a word instead of a voice inflection.
  3. A single word can mean a multitude of things. The meaning changes based on the tone of your voice and sometimes the tone as applied to specific syllables.

 

This skill is amazing. It’s not intended to pepper you with common phrases for tourism that you may or may not ever use, but it invites you into a meaningful daily podcast (around 7 minutes long)  that uses daily cultural situations to subliminally cause you to learn new phrases and words easily. It invites you directly into the conversation and immerses you in the language. This is a highly-recommended skill for anyone wanting to learn Chinese in a way that enables retention and enriches your knowledge of Chinese culture.

This skill requires an account link to the Talk Chineasy web site, but only to sign-up for the site’s newsletter (no other account information is required). Chineasy does have other products you can purchase to further your education including a subscription-based service, but the Alexa skill is free to use. The Chineasy web site also provides a newbie section for those wanting to get a quick overview of various word topics.

Where to get it: You can locate Chineasy in the Amazon Alexa app, or use the following web link: Chineasy

This is an awesome way to learn a new language. I hope someone takes this idea to develop learning skills for other languages.


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A community professional, keynoter, and evangelist who has driven social media and marketing strategies, editorial successes, delivered customer successes and built some of the largest and longest-running online communities. Rod has created, managed and grown small, medium, and mega-sized conferences; run entire editorial teams to deliver record traffic and market leadership; as product manager, directed the success of hundreds of product releases; supported sales and marketing to ensure customer success; developed, run and sold businesses; written thousands of technical articles, white papers, case studies, and technical documentation; hosted and delivered hundreds of attendance shattering webinars and virtual tradeshows; and delivered keynote speeches and sessions at a wide variety of events including conferences, webinars, events, and user groups.

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