Friday, June 13, 2014

A Chinese English-Learning Device, a Cross, and an American Apple

The student with the Baicizhan English-learning app on her smartphone isn't the only person I have met in Hengyang who uses mobile technology to improve their language skills.

Several weeks later, an English teaching assistant visiting Hengyang from Xiangtan, Hunan, approached me while I was walking outside. She said she was excited to talk with a native English speaker.

young woman holding a small electronic dictionary and wear a necklace with a cross

Like the student, she carried a mobile device that helped her improve her English. Unlike the student, her device functioned solely as a Chinese-English dictionary. She said she always carried it around as was recommended in an English class she had taken. Compared with an app like Baicizhan, it raises questions about why one might purchase / use a dedicated device versus an app on a smartphone.

Finally, she wore a cross not for religious reasons but because she felt it was a fashionable accessory to her clothes. In fact, they were presented together in the store where she bought them--a not unusual sight in Chinese cities like Hengyang. And similar to my meeting with the university student, I noticed a bit of American spirit.

the young woman's backpack with a US flag colored Apple logo

More on both the mobile and American spirit themes later.

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