Thoughts on teaching, technology, learning and life in an era of change.
Multiplayer browser based Mandarin language game
July 28th, 2008

My wife Shao Ping is presently enrolled in a degree at the University of New England in NSW, Australia. She is studying Mandarin so that she can gain formal qualifications to teach the language. Shao Ping is a native speaker of Mandarin. Anyway, to day she shared this multiplayer game with me where one can practise the language. It is called Zon. I signed up a moment ago and we had a quick exchange. This was our first meeting in cyberspace. We shared a few laughs as we communicated online despite the fact we were sat next to each other, on the couch, with the cat, Sootie. My own mastery of Mandarin is not that strong.

As the welcome page for the tool indicates, “Zon is an unique interactive massively multiplayer online role playing game for learning Mandarin Chinese”. It is browser based and does not require the installation of any software. I would recommend the use of Firefox. You could probably achieve similar outcomes in Second Life but Zon is packed with numerous games and other activities that allow you to learn more about Chinese culture and the language.

The tool was developed by Dr. Yong Zhao, a Michigan State University Distinguished Professor. I am sure students of Mandarin around the world, both young and old will quite enjoy using this excellent language aid. There is a blog associated with the tool as well.

3 Responses to “Multiplayer browser based Mandarin language game”

  1. Pat Says:

    Thank you so much for the link to this site. Growing up in the 60s and 70s as the only Chinese girl in school was tough and I resented being the “outsider.” Now I’m sorry I didn’t learn more about my father’s native language which was Cantonese. I went to China for the first time in 2000 and I’ve wanted to learn Mandarin ever since. I’ve listened to CDs and podcasts but still had trouble. I hope this might help me more and can’t wait to give it a try!

  2. John Larkin Says:

    You are welcome Pat. I hope this method helps you in your quest. Perhaps a stint teaching in China might be a possibility. Best wishes, John.

  3. Christine Mendoza Says:

    This is very helpful. I have always wanted to learn Mandarin not in a boring way so this is definitely a great idea. Thanks for posting this!