The Hanzi Quiz Program


Version 0.3.1 released January 2003


I have written a JavaScript program to help me learn hanzi (Chinese Characters) that I'd like to share with you all, so I'm making it available under the GPL.

I have a list of simplified (mainland China) hanzi, traditional (Taiwan) hanzi, pinyin (pronunciation), and English meanings, comprising sort of a "deck of flashcards" (in the file hanzicards.js). The program randomly generates multiple-choice questions, by showing one hanzi and letting you guess the correct pinyin out of 5 randomly selected from the deck (well ... not quite randomly ... one is the correct answer!) Or you can see the English and guess the hanzi. Any combination of categories is possible.

With the v0.3.1 release, the choices are even less random: You won't see the answer to the question you just saw as a choice in the next one. Or the one after that. After all, they'd be too easy to eliminate. Towards the end of the quiz I have to start recycling answers, but you're more likely to have forgotten that you've seen them by then.

The other improvement in v0.3.1 is that it will now work in Mac IE 5+ (although you need to install the appropriate font to get all the pinyin accents). I had no idea that this didn't work until I visited my family this past Christmas. Argh! All these browsers have different quirks. (I hear Hanzi Quiz is hosed on Safari. That won't be fixed for a while.)

Version 0.3 was an extensive re-write of the prior version (0.2a), using DHTML and Unicode.

While the 0.3 series is light-years beyond the 0.2a version, it does require a modern browser. Either Mozilla or its commercial variant Netscape Navigator (version 6 or greater), or Microsoft Internet Explorer version 5 or greater will do. It looks like your current browser will not work.

Sorry about that. While the older version of Hanzi Quiz is still available, you should really consider upgrading your browser. I especially recommend Mozilla.

When you come here with a newer browser, you'll be able to run Hanzi Quiz 0.3 online from this web page.

If, for whatever reason, you want to to stick with the older, non-DHTML version 0.2a, you can find it here. I hope everyone will use the shiny new one, though.

For this tool to be really useful, you should download it and edit the vocabulary (which you will find in the file hanzicards.js). The format of that file should be clear upon inspection, so entries can easily be added or removed.

2012-06-07: Mimi in Shenzen alerted me to a small mistake in the hanzi, which I have corrected. Thanks, Mimi!

Hanzi Quiz 0.3.1 is available for download in two formats: