Textivate with character-based languages

A quick look at some of the things to consider when using textivate with a character-based language such as Chinese or Japanese...

It's all about the word

All of the activities on the text side -- sequencing, multi-choice reconstruction, tiles, gap-fills etc -- require textivate to be able to count the number of words in the text.

Tiles and sequencing activities split the text into chunks of words in order to create the activities. Gap-fill activities make gaps based on words. 

So words are really important in textivate.

How textivate counts words

The way that textivate counts words is by looking for line breaks (i.e. a new line) or spaces (the regular space made by the space bar when you type).

This can be a problem for Chinese or Japanese, for example, where spaces are not normally inserted between any of the characters.

What to do

Make sure you insert regular spaces. Maybe you can put spaces after groups of characters that represent a particular concept. Make your own "words", if you like.

I know it may seem artificial to put spaces into Chinese text. 

But these spaces are important in textivate.

And you'll find that you get a LOT more activity options if you do include spaces.

But what about text-entry activities?

OK. Having said all of the above, I have to admit that textivate will not work with any of the text entry activities -- those activities where the student is required to type in the correct answer.

The activities that you can't use at all with character-based languages are...

These 5 Fill in the Letters activities:

Sorry :(

What about on the Match side?

Well, if you are matching, say, Chinese characters with English, you can use ALL of the activities as long as you put the CHINESE ON THE LEFT (and the English on the right).

If you put the matching items the other way round (English >> Chinese) you won't have access to any of the same 5 Fill in the Letters activities (those mentioned above) or to Hangman.

The good news?

The good news is that this situation is improving all the time. We've now (UPDATED 9th Nov 2015) made it possible to use non roman-script characters with Anagrams, Invaders and Snake on the Text side, and the same 3 plus Maze on the Match side. See this blog post for more information.

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