There seem to be quite a few Perl people learning Chinese so maybe this will be relevant here.

I created IIJO which is a Perl powered website that does 3 sided flashcards (Chinese, English, and Pinyin).

The main advantage IIJO has over Anki and other flashcard sites is that you can pick your flashcards from a dictionary so you don’t have to type all that stuff in yourself. It allows you to share word lists with others and the built in dictionary means that you don’t need to worry about the accuracy and completeness of other people who share wordlists.

The site does spaced repetition like Anki. But it has a different simpler user interface because Anki’s 4 buttons after each flashcard stresses me out.

If you want, you can just play with the Chinese/English dictionary.
The goal here is to be able to look up a word then add it easily to one of your existing word lists.

If you think there is something missing, check out the project on GitHub and send me a pull request. I’m using Perl, Catalyst, and SQLite.

Here are some of the things on my todo list:

  • More analytics/stats/data for measuring progress using D3
  • Speech/pronunciation samples
  • Export to Anki
  • Some way to learn phrases instead of just characters

Vampires and zombies

Btw, here’s an interesting thing I learned about the Chinese language: the word for vampire is the same word thats used for zombie.


This is because the Chinese merged the two concepts into a single vampire zombie monster. So Chinese zombies are stiff and walk around with their hands straight out. But they also bite their victim’s necks and suck their blood passing on the zombie infection.

They are also fast and angry and they often do kung fu. You can’t kill them of course, however you can put them to sleep if you write a spell on a yellow piece of paper and put it on their forehead. But if it falls off, they wake up and get angry again. Strangest of all is that they do little hops like bunnies instead of walking.

I highly recommend Liao Yiwo’s book, Corpse Walker, which tells the fascinating history and origin of Chinese zombies. You can read more about jiangshi on Wikipedia. And of course there are YouTube videos: