The Du Chinese app is quite possibly the best designed Chinese learning app around. I don’t know if it’s the best app overall to learn Chinese but the developers really did an outstanding job. In this review, I’ll tell you more about Du Chinese and help you decide whether or not it’s worth the subscription cost.
First off, I just have to reiterate how smooth and well made this app is. It’s about as sexy as a Chinese learning app can be. It packs all of the features I would want into a clean interface that can be customized to fit your preferences.
Across the top of the screen is the English translation of the currently highlighted sentence. I love that you can tap it to show or hide the translation. If it always showed the English, I’d likely feel it was a crutch and use it too much. However, without it, there would be instances where I’m not certain I understood the sentence correctly. I like hiding the English and then using it to check comprehension later if I’m confused about something.
Finding a Chinese tutor or language exchange partner is essential for learning Mandarin. You need conversation practice and feedback from a Native speaker. A skilled teacher can pinpoint your weak areas and significantly speed-up the learning process.
In this review, I’ll look at eChineseLearning. They’re one of the oldest and most well-known companies for 1-to-1 online Mandarin lessons. I took two hours of trial classes and researched other people’s experiences for writing this review.
I’ve used italki (read my review) rather extensively for help with my Chinese. While this isn’t meant to be a comparison article, there are places where I’ll be comparing my experience with the two services.
ChinesePod is one of the resources most often recommended to Mandarin learners for good reason. Improving your listening skills may be the most important skill to becoming fluent in Chinese. After all, being able to speak isn’t particularly helpful if you have no idea what the conversation is about.
This review will look at both the Basic and Premium plans. The Basic Plan is more fitting for people who just want to listen to audio podcasts and be able to check the lesson notes. The Premium Plan is better suited for people looking to study each lesson very in-depth. This is for people looking for a resource that can cover other areas besides just listening.
ChinesePod been around longer than a decade and the lesson library has become massive. It’s not a perfect all-encompassing resource but it’s probably as close you can get.
Chinese Learn Online (CLO) is an okay option for learning Mandarin. It wouldn’t be my first choice though. Lessons aren’t particularly interesting. The app and website are both pretty poorly designed and in need of an update. There isn’t as much content as several other resources. Finally, the price isn’t any cheaper than many products that I think are much better. But for now, let’s get into the details of this review.
A bit more about Chinese Learn Online
CLO is based in Taiwan. I’m living in Beijing and have primarily heard Beijing accents, and haven’t had any difficulties understanding the presenters’ accents. There may be a slight one, but it’s not a reason to buy or to avoid CLO. There are 7 levels with 60 lessons in each level. These lessons range from absolute beginner to somewhere around the upper intermediate level. The amount of English used in each lesson varies according to the level you’re at. You can access the first three lessons of any level for free.