- Particles like “么”
My motivation for naming it in this way is indeed to avoid teaching grammar. The meaning “interrogative particle” by itself without any example sentences and in-depth grammatical explanation actually ends up being about as useful as the “muh” we have now, unfortunately, since many people many not be familiar with these grammatical terms. We avoid teaching grammatical terms because they are useful only with ample examples and explanations, which detracts from the core character-learning aspect of the app. I’d love to teach it, but doing so would make learning characters a little bit more work on average, so I have avoided it.
- Measure words like 本
For each character, we have to balance the following when choosing its definitive meaning:
- The most common meaning/pronunciation.
- The relation it has with its “component name” if the character is a single component.
- The meaning that more logically fits into any words that it forms.
We chose “notebook” here because it helps with (2) and also matches (1) to a degree. I think “book” and the one you mention, “root” are both equally common in practice. For (3) the meaning “root” is a bit more common in words like 根本.
For some characters, like this one, we are going to be torn between focusing on one of the common definitions or the others. I think us having a note mentioning the other may help in this case.
In either case, I noticed that character does not have “book” as an alternate meaning. I’ll add it in the next update. I could see it being a better definitive meaning than “notebook”, for sure. Perhaps we will switch it out in the future.
adding 一本书 as a vocab word.
Adding measure words as vocab words/phrases in this way is a great idea and something we have been thinking about doing.
- Words that have alternate meanings/pronunciation like 还
A good portion of characters have multiple pronunciations. We try to only teach the most common meaning/pronunciation that is found in vocabulary words. Unfortunately, in some cases the character has two equally common pronunciations/meaning, as in this case. We choose to teach huan2 here because it better fits with vocabulary word meanings.
Right now we do not teach alternate pronunciations for characters, but we have considered adding a guard that would protect against accidentally typing in hai2 in this scenario. Something like “That is valid, but please type in the other meaning/pronunciation”, perhaps. But we haven’t dug too deep into it as of yet.
Thanks for the feedback, it is really valuable. For our curriculum, I view it as something we will be continuing to fine-tune, expand, and update every week for years to come. So even if we cannot implement some of these suggestions now due to other things taking priority (for me, it is adding more vocabulary words to keep up with user demand, and fixing up existing mnemonics/meanings), I can see us implementing them in the future.