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Mandarin Chinese

Rosetta Stone Review Mandarin Chinese - FINAL 23

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.

Get a lifetime of language learning for $149 this Black Friday! Over 60% off on Rosetta Stone courses! See details on the website. Offer ends on 12/4/2023.

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.

Pimsleur Review Chinese - FINAL 23

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.

Pimsleur Cyber Sale! Get 50% off on the first month of All Access.

Get 50% off on the first month of All Access after a 7-Day free trial! See details on the website. Offer ends on 11/29/2023.

Limited Time Offer. Get the Annual All Access Subscription at 20% off! See details on the website. Offer ends on 11/29/2023.

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.

Story Learning Review Chinese - FINAL 23

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.

Best Way to Learn Chinese - FINAL 23

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.

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.

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.

An Honest Review of Yoyo Chinese With Image of Chinese Architecture

Yoyo Chinese Review: An Exceptionally Detailed Look At Their Courses

Yoyo Chinese

Rating 4.7


Yoyo Chinese is probably the most established and popular website for online Chinese courses. Yangyang has helped hundreds of thousands of students learn Chinese and her videos have been viewed millions of times. There are several different video-based courses available which include interactive quizzes, clear explanations, and tons of practice, with each progressing in difficulty. I think the conversational courses are especially good value.

Quality 5.0

Video lessons and interactive quizzes are very well done.

Thoroughness 4.5

The content is explained very clearly and covers a wide range of topics.

Value 4.5

The course bundles help to lower the price.

I Like
  • The way Yangyang explains the content makes it super easy to understand.
  • The courses are structured very well, with less English spoken as you move up levels.
  • The combination of real-life Chinese as it’s spoken on the street with more ‘correct’ Chinese.
  • High-quality videos with lots useful extras to practice what you’ve learned.
I Don’t Like
  • The lessons definitely use more English compared with equivalent levels of other resources.
  • There are other resources I prefer over the Chinese Characters courses.

Yoyo Chinese offers subscription options and the Lifetime one-time purchase option. If you want to test out the program, try a monthly full-access “Learn” subscription for $19.99/mo. Or an annual subscription for $11.99/mo. Lifetime one-time purchase is $399 (don’t forget the 10% discount with the discount code ALR10!!).

If you’re looking for an online Chinese course, you’ll eventually come across Yoyo Chinese. It’s one of the few established courses where you can independently study Mandarin online.

Bilingual Oxford Dictionaries Mini Review: Handy Apps

Oxford Dictionaries

Rating 4.2



Oxford Dictionary has published numerous bilingual dictionaries over the years, many of which are not designed to be comprehensive. While some are “complete” dictionaries, others are called “mini”, “concise”, “essential” or even “shorter”. Even the smaller ones are pretty thorough, however. The Oxford Mini Greek dictionary contains 40,000 words and phrases, many of which also contain multiple translations. It’s a lot shorter than the Oxford Hindi dictionary, at 100,000 entries, or the New Oxford American English Dictionary at 350,000 – but it’s still got a wider vocabulary than the average English speaker. You can purchase the books themselves, but most learners will prefer the convenience of the apps with their regular updates and learner-friendly features. Search Autocomplete, Fuzzy Filter, Wild Card and Voice Search help you find words you don’t know how to spell. Favourites help you save useful words and phrases, while Word of the Day will introduce you to new words. Some dictionaries also contain audio recordings and thesauruses. And the freemium Oxford Dictionary with Translator will translate words and paragraphs to and from 14 languages. For some languages, learners already have plenty of free, thorough dictionaries available to them. Spanish learners, for example, will probably prefer to combine the free apps SpanishDict and Diccionario RAE (Google Play, App Store). Mandarin Chinese learners will likely find Pleco more useful. But for some languages, these dictionaries may well be the most thorough and reliable ones available.

The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.