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 Post subject: Domino puzzle for learning Chinese
PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:01 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:54 pm

For those interested in Chinese language, here is a puzzle that could be used for memorizing chinese words or expressions.

For a non-native speaker, learning Chinese may be considered as a challenging task with four tones to master and a very large number of characters to memorize.

Two-character words make the most frequently used chinese words. A method of remembering a list of words can be based on creating an association between characters of that list. For example, if C1C2 and C2C3 are two words, then it is sufficient to remember domino-word C1C2C3. This can easily be extended to a chain of n words. If the first and last characters of a chain are the same, then the domino-word is circular, such as in:

法国外语法 --- |法国|国外|外语|语法| --- |fǎguó|guówài|wàiyǔ|yǔfǎ|

By laying out words on regular polygons, a domino is created by placing polygons in close proximity and rotating them until database link-words are found.

An interesting property of regular polygons of any order n is that only 6 polygons are needed to complete a loop and then create a domino puzzle.

A computer program has been written in javascript to find sets of 6 chinese domino-words each, of length 4 (square) to 12 (dodecagon), from a database of more than 1400 two-character words of high connectivity, with the following features:
- all characters of a set are distinct
- all domino-words are circular
- words are selected to give a maximum number of links between all domino-words of a set, to ease connecting polygons
- characters are selected to show a low number of strokes, to ease recognizing them, at least for beginners

The program can also find solutions for a number of structures, including those with polygons of different order. Polygons may have 4 to 12 sides but all sides are equal to make them fully compatible with each other.

I have built 9 sets of chinese domino puzzles by printing polygons on A4 sticky paper sheets, using an inkjet printer, and sticking those sheets on 2 mm thick plastic sheets. I found that solving 6-polygon chinese domino puzzles would not be that difficult, provided that basic chinese is mastered and a sufficient number of link-words are known.

More information can be found in this document (in French, sorry).

File comment: Hexagon domino
Domino.jpg [ 64.63 KiB | Viewed 512 times ]
File comment: Hexagon puzzle
Puzzle.jpg [ 63.02 KiB | Viewed 512 times ]
File comment: Heptagon puzzle
Heptagons.jpg [ 37.69 KiB | Viewed 512 times ]
File comment: Figurative art (squares + hexagons)
FigurativeArt.jpg [ 50.23 KiB | Viewed 512 times ]
File comment: Polygons (1 square + 2 hexagons + 2 dodecagons)
Polygons.jpg [ 37.11 KiB | Viewed 512 times ]
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