I'm happy to share that Incredible Chinese is now available on the App Store and the Play Store!
For those of you who don't know about the concept, let's rewind a bit to March 2019. I was really intrigued by the concept of using dialog to help people learn Chinese.
Eons ago, when I first started learning Chinese, my progress was pretty slow. The classes at university were all vocabulary lists, books and written tests. It was a very passive approach to learning, and if I'm honest, it wasn't very effective.
A few years later, I made an effort to start speaking regularly and having actual conversations. Unsurprisingly, my Chinese started improving leaps and bounds. I made more progress in one hour of speaking than I had made in a full week's worth of written exercises. Having an actual conversation really engages the brain, and you can't go on auto-pilot (unlike rote learning vocabulary, or "fill-in-the-gap" type exercises). You're really forced to interpret what your partner has said, map those words to a real-world concept, and then come up with the right response to communicate actual information.
Of course, the downside was that tutors or conversation partners were expensive and time-consuming. So in early 2019, I wondered - could I replicate that experience with an app? Could I create a cost-effective way for people to learn, at any level, at any time, and even if they only have 5 minutes to spare?
Fast forward to today, and I can now share Incredible Chinese with you. I am trying to ensure that the app helps you learn Chinese the same way a teacher would - by letting you talk, from day one, about real-life topics, and use voice recognition to help understand what you're saying in Chinese. A number of people have helped design and structure this content, and I'm looking forward to working with more people over the coming months to refine that content and introduce new functionality.
Why the name change?
While I was building Incredible Chinese, I also released a free "work-in-progress" version called Fluent Academy to explore a few secondary features. This was just a stop-gap while I was working on the full version, and Incredible Chinese fully replaces that version.
I changed the name for a few reasons. First, it should be clear that the focus is on Chinese. I may introduce other languages later, but right now, this app is squarely aimed at helping learn Mandarin Chinese.
Second, it should be as simple as possible to find if you're looking for apps to learn Chinese.
Finally, not everyone wants or needs to get fluent. Fluency is a long, long journey, and many people - if not most! - don't need or want to get there.
Maybe you just want to have fun and learn how to say a few words and phrases. Maybe you want to get business-conversational. No matter what your goal is, you can get incredible at it.