Mandarin Chinese

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

Quick Review

4.3 

Summary:

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

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

Thoroughness

Lots of different ways to practice speaking.

Value

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

Price

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

Use the promo code “ALR123”” to save 10% on Speechling’s Unlimited Plan.

Languages: English, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese

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Speaky Review: Better Than Other Language Exchange Apps?

Quick Review

3.7 

Summary

Speaky is a social language-learning app for people interested in language exchange. It’s available for iOS, Android, and the web. Users can chat with other language learners, share photos, leave voice messages or even have voice calls. The basic features on Speaky are free to use, but access to more than five translations per day requires a subscription.

Community

There are some dedicated language learners on Speaky but not as many as similar apps.

Features

The platform is easy to use but lacks advanced features.

Value

Speaky is mostly free to use, extra features are available for a subscription.

Languages

There are over 100 languages on Speaky. These include popular languages like Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, etc.

Price

The basic features on Speaky are free to use. A premium membership is available for a subscription.

1-month Subscription$5.99/month
6-month Subscription$4.83/month
12-month Subscription$3.91/month

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Rype App Review: I Wouldn’t Recommend It To Anybody

Quick Review

1.8 

Summary

Rype is a resource that provides language learners with access to one-on-one lessons with teachers. It’s aimed at providing a solution for the busy learner that needs a great deal of flexibility with their study time. Users purchase a subscription package that contains a certain number of lessons per month. The lessons are 30-minutes long and are easy to schedule.

Platform

The platform is very easy to use, but there aren’t many teacher details and lessons take place on Skype.

Teachers

There seems to be a range of experience levels on Rype and a very small number of teachers.

Value

The hourly rates are higher than similar online tutor options and you have to commit to a  subscription.

Price

The price varies per subscription package and number of lessons each month.

Number of Lessons Six-Month Subscription Monthly Subscription
8 Lessons/month$59.99/month$79.99
12 Lessons/month$84.99/month$99.99
20 Lessons/month$159.99/month$179.99

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Best Chinese Grammar Book for Beginner and Intermediate Students

In this article, we’re going to look at four of the most recommended Chinese grammar books for beginner and intermediate students.

* Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide (My top choice.)

* Schaum’s Outline of Chinese Grammar
* Basic Chinese: A Grammar and Workbook
* Chinese Grammar Wiki

Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar (MMCG)

MMCG is excellent but not necessarily the best option for everyone. It’s divided into two sections: ‘Structures’ and ‘Situations and functions.’

Structures

The first half of MMCG resembles a traditional grammar book. This is best used to reference various questions you have about grammar usage. For example, if you’re forgetting how to use the passive voice – this is where you would find explanations. It has a lot of breadth but is a bit too short on examples. It starts at the beginning with pinyin and covers lots of topics that beginner and intermediate students would need to learn. The material will probably be too simple for those who have moved past the intermediate level. Although, many people who study independently may neglect grammar a bit too much. So for those, even with a higher level of spoken Chinese, it may still be a suitable book. (more…)

Live Lingua Review: My Experience With Their Lessons

Quick Review

3.8 

Summary

Live Lingua is an online language school that pairs students with certified teachers for one-on-one online classes. The platform aims to provide a more personalized service than online tutor directories by assigning a personal class coordinator and a customized curriculum for each student. Certificates are available in 11 different popular languages and for a variety of different courses.

Teacher Quality

All teachers are native speakers and receive additional training through Live Lingua.

Platform

Lots of extra free material, but with mistakes. There are specialized course options, and video lessons happen on Skype.

Value

More expensive than other online classes and less flexible, but more personalized.

Price

The hourly rate for classes on Live Lingua ranges from $11 – $39 depending on the certificate, language, and number of classes you purchase. The first lesson is free.

Languages

English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese

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Busuu Review: Some Courses Are Better Than Others

Quick Review

3.3 

Summary:

Busuu is a digital language-learning app with over 90 million registered users. The resource offers vocabulary and grammar practice through short, self-paced study exercises. It also has a social aspect that allows users to get writing and pronunciation feedback from native speakers. It is available on the web, iOS, and Android.

Quality

The layout is great, and the quality for non-Asian languages is decent, but there were significant errors in the Chinese course.

Thoroughness

It has some good explanations but doesn’t often offer much in the way of in-depth explanations.

Value

Busuu is relatively inexpensive, but there are more thorough and efficient resources out there.

Price

Subscription LengthPremiumPremium Plus
One month$9.99$13.99
Three months$8.33/month ($24.99)$9.66 ($28.98)
Six months$5.82/month ($34.92)$6.66  ($39.96)
12 months$5.41/month ($64.92)$5.74  ($68.88)

Languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Turkish, Russian, and Arabic

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HiNative Review: Useful But Not Exceptional Q&A App

Quick Review

3.7 

Summary

HiNative is a Q&A app for language learners that want to have questions answered by native speakers. It’s available for iOS, Android and desktop, and it has over three million registered users. A free version is available that offers the basic features of the app.

Features

The app is pretty basic, but it works.

Features

Many users are very helpful, but not all questions receive intelligent responses.

Value

The basic functions of the app are available for free, but you’ll need to pay for audio or video features.

Price

The basic features of HiNative are free to use. A premium subscription is available for $5.68/month paid monthly, or $4.96/month paid annually (a $59.63 payment).

Languages

HiNative supports just about any language.

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Tandem Review: A Tinder-esque Language Exchange App?

Quick Review

4.7 

Summary

Tandem is a popular language exchange app with over one million active users. It’s available for iOS and Android and aims to bring language learners from all over the world together. It’s largely centered around its chat capabilities and language tools that facilitate communication, but there is also a tutoring service offered in the app.

Community 

There are lots of active language learners, especially those looking to pair with native English speakers.

Features 

The interface is intuitive and the language tools are simple and effective, though you’ll quickly run out of free translations.

Value

The free version is all most people will need. Tandem Pro doesn’t add a ton of extra value.

Price

There is a limited free version of Tandem and a pro version available at $6.99 for one month, $3.99/month for three months, and $2.92/month for a year’s subscription.

Languages

There are over 160 languages offered on Tandem.

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Mango Languages Review – Pretty Good For Beginners

Quick Review

3.5 

Summary

Mango Languages is a pretty good resource with numerous languages available along with their regional variations.  It’ll work the best for beginners or for those interested in studying a few languages at the same time. Anybody past the intermediate level won’t find Mango Languages very useful.

Quality

It is well designed, has a beautiful interface, and is intuitive to use.

Thoroughness

There are some gaps in terms of writing and grammar, along with a lack of materials for intermediate or higher level students.

Value

The price is fair and will give you access to materials for over 70 languages.

Price

A subscription to Mango Languages costs $7.99/mo for one language or $17.99/mo for all languages.

Alternatives: Babbel and Lingodeer are somewhat similar but a bit better, while Duolingo is free.

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Du Chinese Review: Updated For 2020 – Learn With Interesting Content

Quick Review

4.5 

Summary

Du Chinese is one of the best resources for learning Chinese. This app will help you to improve your Chinese reading skills, as well as listening comprehension. There are articles across six different levels – from Beginner to Master. The design of this app is absurdly good, making it exceptionally easy to use. The biggest weakness is that new content isn’t added frequently enough.

Quality

Amazingly high-quality with lots of useful features.

Thoroughness

New articles are added fairly slowly, but they age well.

Value

You can read some articles for free.

Price

A subscription to Du Chinese costs $11.99/month. A six-month plan costs $54.99. A one-year subscription would cost $89.99/month. There is also a limited selection of lessons available for free.

The Chairman’s Bao is the biggest competitor of Du Chinese. They release far more content, but the design isn’t nearly as good. They also don’t have the English translations that Du Chinese offers, making it potentially less useful for beginner students.

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