Why Google isn’t your friend when it comes to learning Chinese

December 6, 2013 17 notes Reblog Comments

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When was the last time you were on a Chinese website? Not recently I bet. Why is that, you think? Here’s my guess:  You seldom come across Chinese sites in your online everyday browsing experience!  Why aren’t you coming across them? It’s not because they’re not popular. Quite the opposite. They’re extremely popular. In China. And, they are all in Chinese. So Google (or whatever search engine you use) pretty much ignores them. Don’t worry, though, here’s a simple hack to bring more Chinese into your online world!

There’s a whole world out there…

There are tons of Chinese sites you’ve probably never heard about. You’ve never even thought about them. Why? Because you didn’t know they existed. And why should you?  The Internet we live in is almost entirely in English (if you’re an English speaker, of course), and at times, it’s easy to think that’s the only “Internet” there is!  It’s a shame though, because there are a bunch of great Chinese sites out there. Besides, when learning Chinese, it’s a good idea to just dive in sometimes and expose yourself to as much Chinese as you can! 

A super easy way to Chinese-up your Internet!

So how do you bring more Chinese into your life?  Here’s a simple way: Change your preferred language settings for Google search!

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Go to Google.com / Settings / Languages (https://www.google.com/preferences?hl=en&fg=1#languages if English is your main language). In the “Currently showing search results in:” area, click “Edit” and add 中文 (简体) if you want to add search results in Simplified Chinese; or 中文 (繁體) if you want search results in traditional Chinese.

Even if Google is banned in China, searches still bring up a bunch of Chinese sites. It depends on what you’re looking for, obviously. But it’s a great way to discover Chinese sites without trying; as results in Chinese tend to show up when you don’t expect them to! 

Here’s a demo:

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Without Chinese as a search language

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With Chinese as an extra search language:

This method has helped me discover a bunch of cool sites: Dangdang, the Chinese equivalent to Amazon, not unlike the very well known Taobao; music sites, Meishi, an awesome site for Chinese recipes and a lot more sites!

Not sure you can understand everything on the different Chinese sites you explore? Use a handy translator plugin such as Zhongwen Cloze Popup Plugin (Chrome) or Perapera (Firefox and Chrome) to hover over and translate any words you don’t know!

Just so you know: this may kind of screw up the relevancy of results.But as long as you don’t care too much about that, and prefer seeing more sites in Chinese, then you’re good to go! As it’s super easy to install, it’s also super easy to remove, if you get tired of seeing all those Chinese results ^_^ 

Happy browsing in Chinese!

The Nincha Team

Ninchanese is a new platform where you’ll have fun learning Chinese! We’re still working on it for now, so sign up to try the beta for free when we launch! And stay in touch with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle + and Weibo.

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