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Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Or, in this case. Don’t judge an app based on the cat in the logo.
I seriously underestimated Ninchanese. I had reviewed around 25 Chinese learning resources before finally getting around to trying it out. I’m honestly not sure what took me so long. I had the app downloaded on my phone for months. I even opened it up and played around for five or ten minutes before getting bored and moving on. I gave up on it far too soon.
It’s much better than I expected. I thought it was a silly game but really it’s so much more than that. I’d include in in a list of the best five resources for learning Chinese – along with ChinesePod, Du Chinese, italki and Pleco.
Ninchanese is fun. Many apps try to use points and gamification techniques but for the most part, it doesn’t help much with motivation. Ninchanese actually feels like a game. It’s fun and somewhat addicting. I found myself studying more than I otherwise would have in an attempt to climb the leaderboards.
Don’t let the fact that it’s a game lead you to not take Ninchanese seriously. It’s extensive. Seriously, there is an absurd amount of content. Many resources claim they can take you from absolute beginner to fluent. Generally, this is BS. Ninchanese comes as close to following through on that claim as anyone could hope to.
Ninchanese takes a broad and deep approach and they manage to pull it off quite well. The lessons cover vocab, grammar, speaking, listening and typing characters. They don’t just skim over these topics. Everything is very in-depth. That’s not to say Ninchanese is perfect or that it’s the only resource you should use. There’s quite a bit of room for improvement. But, they do a lot of things well and at a very affordable price.