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Mandarin Chinese

The Chinese Character Coach-Learner’s Dictionary Mini Review: Memorize Chinese Characters with Ease

The Chinese Character Coach-Learner’s Dictionary




The Chinese Character Coach’s Learner’s Dictionary is a free online dictionary to help you learn, memorize and remember Chinese characters.

The tool is designed to make it easier for you to look up Chinese characters and immediately have a way to remember them. The platform contains carefully curated images and stories that are fun, engaging and connected to pop culture or history to help you with memorization. The Chinese Character Coach’s Learner’s Dictionary is thorough, giving you explanations, mnemonics and providing relevant images. All you have to do is input any Chinese character into the learner’s dictionary and get the component breakdown accompanied by an image or memorable story to help you learn and remember it. This makes learning more fun and engaging. With over 2400 entries—and growing—there are lots of characters to memorize regardless of your proficiency level. If you’re an English speaker learning Chinese, this is a really handy resource for you to use for reference.

Moreover, the component names are chosen according to their usefulness in memorization. Characters that share a component can be reviewed as a group in the meta-stories, reducing memory load and providing more connections between characters. 

What makes this resource different from similar resources such as Pleco, Zizzle, and Outlier is that it is more comprehensive, affordable and emphasizes memorization of Chinese characters. 

The Chinese Character Coach’s Learner’s Dictionary is simple, and the stories are limited, but it’s definitely worth a try. Learning and memorizing characters is one of the most challenging aspects when learning Chinese, but with this resource, you can make a lot of progress.

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Promova Mini Review: Personalized Content to Meet Your Language Learning Needs



$39.99-3 Months, $83.99-12 Months, $299.99-Lifetime


Are you on the hunt for a language learning resource that’s engaging and personalized to fit your learning style? Promova may be a great place to start.

Promova is an app and web based platform that offers language instruction for multiple languages and multiple proficiency levels. The language courses at Promova include English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, German, Ukrainian, Arabic, Korean, and Chinese. It uses machine learning and AI technologies in order to personalize your learning experience based on your goals and learning progress. All you have to do is take a quick test, set your learning preferences and Promova will craft a personalized learning plan that aligns with your needs, skills, and interests. With this learning plan, you’ll get personalized recommendations, progress tracking, and an optimized learning experience. 

Promova offers Bite-sized daily lessons. Each session integrates vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and real-world conversations to help you progress in as little as 10 minutes. With Promova’s meticulously curated word lists, phrases and its use of SRS, you’ll get to practice and expand your vocabulary immensely. You’ll also engage in speaking and listening exercises, and receive instant feedback on your pronunciation to help you refine your conversational skills and accent.

The platform focuses on practical examples and engaging exercises, quizzes and flashcards to help you decipher and grasp intricate, tricky and challenging grammatical concepts. Promova has live online classes with certified tutors to help enhance your learning with interactive practice. These classes are flexible and available in both 1-on-1 sessions that are tailored to your needs and group classes where you can engage with fellow language learners. 

Additionally, Promova will expose you to an engaging language community where you can participate in lively discussions, connect with language exchange partners, and elevate your communication skills through meaningful interactions with fellow learners around the world. You’ll not only be advancing your proficiency, but also forming lasting connections and friendships across cultures.

Whichever language you choose to learn, Promova provides language-specific explanations. You could choose to receive instruction in the language you’re learning for a more immersive experience, or you could choose to learn in a language that caters to your individual preferences.
If you’re learning English and are looking for a Specialized English course, such as Business English or Travel English, Promova offers specialized courses to meet those specific needs and help you navigate these environments.

Although Promova is currently only limited to 10 languages, and the homepage may be difficult to navigate to see all the services listed, we think it’s an effective platform to help you reach language fluency.

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LanguagePod101 — All Languages, Pod101 and Class101

Updated November 20, 2023

If you want a language learning podcast that consistently adds new content to keep you motivated, you will find the “Pod101” and “Class101” series quite useful.

One great thing about LanguagePod101 programs is that they do publish new content ALL THE TIME. And their pricing structure allows language learners of any mastery and commitment levels to find contents that are useful. The pricing starts at a mere few dollars per month, and the top subscription called Premium PLUS gives learners personal feedback and a personalized program to follow.

Visit Language Learning Programs in the LanguagePod101 Series

Click the icon to visit the site for the language you want. Purchase or just check it out. Happy Learning!

You can also read ALR independent reviews for each language’s program in the following section.

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mylingua Mini Review: Content That Matches Your Skill Level



Freemium; $15/month, $120/year


Are you an intermediate or advanced learner of Mandarin Chinese looking for content that perfectly matches your skill level and caters to your interests? We’ve got an awesome resource for you. 

Mylingua is a web app that takes personalization to the next level. It identifies your proficiency level, your interests and favorite topics and introduces you to content that best fits your proficiency level. As you read and engage with the interface, you’re able to identify what you already know and what you would like to learn.
So how does this work? Well, mylingua aggregates over 5000 articles daily from China and Taiwan and compares your skill level to the articles. Their AI then calculates the mylingua score, which helps you assess the readability of articles. Content pieces with higher scores are compared to your interest and ranked accordingly, presenting a perfectly personalized feed. Every user input feeds mylingua’s AI to help refine further suggestions. So as you advance, so does your feed and the content presented to you.
What makes mylingua different from other language learning platforms such as Duolingo or Babbel is that, it takes advantage of the existing authentic content on the web, meaning that you can still benefit from the app even as you advance. The level of personalization exceeds that of LingQ, Dot Languages, FluentU etc. Mylingua believes that personalization is a key driver of the motivation of language learners.

So if you’re looking for a resource that provides comprehensible input, keeps you motivated by presenting authentic content that appeals to your interests and pushes you to advance and improve your language skills, then you should check out mylingua.

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Laoshi Mini Review: Great Resource for Learning Chinese Vocabulary



Freemium; $8.99/month, $44.99/year


Are you having a hard time learning, managing and remembering Chinese words and vocabulary? We might have a great resource to help you with that. 

Laoshi is a Chinese learning app (available for iOS, android and web app) that uses science and data to help you learn Chinese. It covers some of the most important aspects of learning Chinese such as: meaning, pronunciation, tone and handwriting, while also tackling an issue faced by lots of other Chinese learning platforms, word managing.
To help you learn Chinese, Laoshi offers; thousands of digitized grammar topics and wordlists that are categorized into topics, books and exams and a great handwriting tool to help you learn Chinese words and characters. Laoshi uses SRS (spaced Repetition System) to make learning and retaining vocabulary easier for you. You’ll also benefit from Laoshi’s in-app community, where you can create and share your own wordlists with fellow learners. Although Laoshi isn’t gamified, you can still learn a lot from it.

There may be some complexity with the app as a result of the number of learning tools available, however, its beautiful and intuitive design, as well as the high recommendations from Chinese language teachers, makes Laoshi a great option for learning Chinese.

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Rosetta Stone Review Mandarin Chinese

Rosetta Stone Mandarin Chinese Review: Check Alternatives Before You Commit To It

Rosetta Stone Mandarin Chinese

Rating 3.2


Rosetta Stone is one of the most well-known resources for learning languages. It takes an immersive approach to teaching and is widely used by corporations and individuals alike. High levels of repetition and an absence of translations or explanations are hallmarks of the course. Rosetta Stone course could be most suitable for learners that don’t mind repetitive exercises and prefer to learn from pictures and context rather than translations and explanations. It’s probably not a good option for anyone wanting to significantly improve their speaking or writing skills, or those looking for an engaging course.

Quality 3.0

The platform is a bit clunky on desktop, but the material is accurate and presented clearly; lesson mechanics are fairly intuitive.

Thoroughness 3.0

Without much opportunity to build your own sentences, I don’t think you’ll reach a conversational level with any notable speed.

Value 3.5

Rosetta Stone’s Lifetime Subscription ($199 on sale) is quite attractive if you like the Rosetta Stone Method. Shorter subscriptions are quite reasonable, too.

I Like
  • The audio quality is very good.
  • Lessons progress naturally and logically.
I Don’t Like
  • It’s repetitive and boring.
  • You don’t get to generate your own sentences.
  • Speech recognition doesn’t work very well.
  • No grammar explanations in core material.

A three-month subscription to one language is $35.97, which works out to be $11.99/month.
A year-long subscription to one course is $95.88, which is $7.99/month. Both of these subscriptions are automatically recurring.
Lifetime access to all Rosetta Stone language courses is available for $199.

ALR Readers Exclusive Holiday Deal!! Get the Lifetime Subscription for 25 languages for $179 (everywhere else it’s $199 right now!). See details on the website.

Rosetta Stone Chinese is a language learning software program that is designed to teach Mandarin Chinese to beginners. It uses an immersive approach to language learning, which means that the program teaches new vocabulary and grammar through pictures, audio, and context, rather than providing translations. Rosetta Stone Chinese focuses heavily on pronunciation, using voice recognition technology to help learners improve their speaking skills. The program is designed to be interactive and engaging, with a variety of exercises and activities to reinforce learning. Rosetta Stone Chinese is available as a subscription service and can be accessed on a variety of devices including computers, smartphones, and tablets.

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Pimsleur Review Chinese

Pimsleur Chinese review: 100% Focus on Speaking So You Can Learn to Speak Mandarin

Pimsleur Chinese

Rating 4.0


Pimsleur Chinese is one of the most popular and longest-standing resources out there for learning the Chinese language. Its courses place a strong emphasis on aural and verbal communication skills, paying less attention to grammar explanations and reading or writing skills. 

Quality 4.5

The platform is extremely well designed and easy to use. The content seems to be of high quality at all levels.

Thoroughness 4.0

Timely repetition and active practice work well, and lessons build on each other nicely, but the “intermediate fluency in 30 days” claim may be a stretch.

Value 3.5

The subscription option provides good value for some, but there may be more efficient ways to learn some languages.

I Like
  • The lessons are structured well and are an appropriate length.
  • There are both male and female native speakers.
  • Lessons build on each other nicely.
  • The platform is easy to navigate and visually appealing.
I Don’t Like
  • There’s very little visual content.
  • Lesson speed isn’t customizable.

Subscriptions of either $14.95/month or $19.95/month are available for courses with at least 60 lessons. Prices otherwise range from around $20 to over $500. All purchases come with a 7-day free trial.

The Pimsleur Chinese course is a language learning program that uses an audio-based approach to teach Mandarin Chinese. The course was developed by Dr. Paul Pimsleur, an expert in the field of language acquisition, and has been used by millions of people around the world to learn Chinese. The Pimsleur Chinese course is designed to help learners develop their listening and speaking skills through a series of interactive audio lessons. Each lesson focuses on a specific topic or situation, such as ordering food in a restaurant or asking for directions and includes a variety of language exercises to reinforce the material covered.

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Story Learning Review Chinese

StoryLearning Chinese Uncovered Review

StoryLearning Chinese Uncovered

Rating 4.0


StoryLeaning Mandarin Chinese Uncovered comes from Olly Richards, the creator of the super popular polyglot blog. It’s quite a bit different than most courses as it revolves around a story. It can be a bit more challenging than other courses, as you begin reading somewhat long texts right off the bat. Overall, I found it to be a more fun way to approach language learning that will be great for some but not ideal for others.

Quality 4.0

The instruction is clear but can have too much information crammed into a single lesson.

Thoroughness 4.0

You’ll practice every aspect of the language.

Value 4.0

It has a pretty high price, but if you stick with it, you’ll get good value from it.

I Like
  • Immersive narrative approach
  • Comprehensive vocabulary, literacy, and culture lessons
  • Qualified Chinese tutor to explain grammar concepts
  • Introduction to Hanzi (Chinese writing system)
I Don’t Like
  • Offers speaking activities, but no interactive software
  • Pricier than many competing language learning programs

A one-time purchase costs $297. There’s also a 7-day free trial.

StoryLearning’s Chinese Uncovered course promises the ability to communicate freely in Mandarin Chinese. This course takes a new approach to language learning, teaching vocabulary, grammar, and literacy through a narrative. 

Because you have the need to find out what happens next hardwired into your brain, engaging with a story is one of the best ways to activate your long-term memory and help you truly learn a new language. This immersive, context-based approach focuses on listening comprehension.

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Best Way to Learn Chinese

Best Way to Learn Chinese: You Can Totally Do It

If you’re a native English speaker, learning Chinese is no small feat. In fact the US Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute puts Mandarin Chinese in the hardest category of languages to learn.

But don’t let that discourage you. There are more resources available than ever before to help you learn Chinese fast or even learn on your own. The best way to learn Chinese will depend on your learning goals and preferences.

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An Honest Review of Speechling With Image of Girl Looking at Phone

Speechling Review – I Didn’t Know I Was Saying That Wrong!


Rating 4.3


Speechling is a website and app that makes it easy to improve your speaking skills in several languages. The free version is an incredbily valuable resource that makes it easy to practice mimicking native speakers. The Unlimited Plan provides unlimited corrections of your recordings by a teacher.

Quality 4.5

Speachling makes it easy to improve your speaking rhythm and pronunciation.

Thoroughness 4.5

Lots of different ways to practice speaking.

Value 4.0

The free version is better than most paid resources and the paid version provides outstanding value.

I Like
  • An excellent method to improve your speaking abilities and get feedback from a real teacher.
  • Answer the Question, Describe the Image, and Freestyle mode are great for higher levels.
  • You can switch languages at any time. I like seeing translations in my second language while studying my third language.
  • Truly unlimited recordings with quick feedback.
I Don’t Like
  • Absolute Beginners should learn the basics elsewhere first.
  • You’ll need to learn how to make the sounds of your target language on your own.
  • The amount of time given to record sentences can be too short.

The Forever Free Plan is complete free. A monthly subscription to the Unlimited Plan costs $19.99 per month.

Click the link to save 10% on Speechling’s Unlimited Plan.

Speechling has quickly become one of my favorite language learning resources. The free version includes a ton of useful features and the premium plan is great value for the cost.

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