Mandarin Chinese Resources
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.
Verbling is an online language-class marketplace where you can take lessons with teachers of your choice. It has some student-friendly extra features, including a built-in online classroom, flashcards, homework calendar, and a filing system for lesson materials. There are also useful but disorganized forums where you can discuss languages, share writing for critique, and do free language drills and exercises.
The lessons are generally high quality and well structured, plus the filters make it easy to find teachers who specialize in everything from accent reduction to interview preparation.
However, it can be slightly pricier than alternatives, so if you’re on a tight budget, you may want to look elsewhere. It also has fewer languages than some of the bigger competitors, so it might not be a good choice if you want to study Azerbaijani, Khmer, or Yoruba.
Ninchanese is one of the most unique resources for learning Chinese. It’s a mixture between a course and a game and manages to do quite well in both regards – being both fun and extensive. You’ll need to use a few other resources to cover a few gaps that Ninchanese has. However, it’s one of the best tools for learning Chinese that I’ve come across.
ChinesePod is one of the most frequently recommended resources for learning Chinese, and it’s one of the best. There’s no better tool out there when it comes to improving listening comprehension. The lesson library is massive and covers diverse topics and seven difficulty levels. This review will look at both the Basic and Premium Plans.
HelloTalk is a mobile app for language learners interested in language exchange. It facilitates communication between native speakers and those learning their language with the use of built-in language tools. It also offers audio lessons in 10 languages as part of a separate subscription.
The Chairman's Bao
The Chairman’s Bao (TCB) is an online graded newspaper for learners of Chinese. New articles covering current events in China and abroad are published daily, and the difficulty levels range from HSK1 to HSK6+. Additional features include audio recordings, a pop-up dictionary, grammar notes, flashcards, and more. This is one of my favorite resources for studying Chinese.
Chineasy is an excellent introduction to traditional and simplified Chinese characters for any beginner learner. The lessons will help you remember the characters through short histories of their origins and cartoonish images. Each of the 400 basic lessons will introduce new characters, combine ones you’ve already learned, and quiz you in various formats. You can further your learning with speaking training, which will train your comprehension of the tones and help you replicate them through pronunciation practice.
It should be noted that the speech recognition portion of the app will often approve your pronunciation even if you say something completely different from the prompt. Also, there does not seem to be an SRS flashcard option; the “review” section allows you to simply look at the different cards you have learned. Moreover, there is no placement test function like in many other language apps; you will have to start with learning “人” whether this is your first time seeing the character or if you are already writing “歌”. Nevertheless, even intermediate learners will probably find the history of the characters interesting, and those who struggle with writing characters may find Chineasy’s methods ease the difficulty.
At the end of the lessons you will not be fluent, but you will most likely become confident with basic pronunciation and characters. You can enjoy pronunciation by native speakers and an attractive user interface with this well thought-out app.
Manga Mandarin allows you to interact with Mandarin comics through reading, listening, and speaking. The content follows the teaching standards of US ACTFL, covering the breadth of HSK vocabulary as well as engaging learners in everyday Mandarin dialogues. Speakers of Russian, Thai, Arabic, English, Spanish, Korean, and Japanese can all enjoy learning Chinese from their native language.
There are several topics available within the boundaries of each HSK level, from short stories about everyday life in China to fantasy series. The ‘episodes’ contains a word list, a fun comic, a review of the text within the comic, a video with cultural and grammar points, and a dubbing activity where you yourself can provide the audio for the comic. You can tap on any text within the comic to hear native speakers acting out each panel, or you can double tap to get a translation and a grammar explanation.
The app has a combination of free and paid content available, so you can test out several comics before deciding if you want to invest in more material.
Manga Mandarin seems to have less bugs in the iOS version than in the Android version; hopefully this will be fixed in the near future so that Android users can also enjoy the hours of engaging material available for Chinese learners.
italki is the most flexible and affordable place to find a tutor for the language you’re learning. They have a huge number of teachers offering classes to students of over 100 different languages. As a learner, you’ll be able to find a tutor that best fits your learning style, schedule, and personality. Teachers are able to set their own prices and make their own schedule.
With Readlang as your Google Chrome Extension, you can have instant translations for words or sentences in over 45 languages at the tip of your mouse cursor (or fingertip)! Browse the internet and effortlessly click on unknown words to get a translation that stays on your screen until it is no longer needed.
If you can’t find anything to read on the internet, you can access a bank of public texts organized by word count and difficulty, browse the most popular websites for Readlang users, or upload your own text to study. If you read on the Readlang website, you can see words that you have previously translated highlighted across every text.
Readlang collects SRS flashcards for you from words that you have translated. It will only record the most useful words for you to practice based on word frequency lists, which could be either a pro or a con depending on your study goals. Each flashcard also includes audio pronunciation and the sentence from which the word was taken. You can choose to reveal the flashcard to check your comprehension, or type in your response for more effective recall.
The free version provides enough for the casual user, but upgrading to an affordable premium membership allows unlimited phrase translations and unknown word highlighting across texts. Although there may be some problems with translations in beta languages, and sometimes it fails to recognize text, overall Readlang is an excellent resource for language lovers.