I used ChineseSkill when I started learning Chinese
The ChineseSkill app helped me a lot on my first steps in learning Chinese. When I moved to China I still wasn’t sure if I would put in the effort to learn Chinese or just try to get by without it. After all, I had spent a few years in Spanish speaking countries and it took me much longer than I expected to learn Spanish. So, I thought, if learning Spanish was so hard for me, do I really have a chance to learn Chinese? I knew I had to learn the basics but wasn’t sure if I wanted to put in the effort to actually become fluent.
That’s where ChineseSkill came into my life.
Waichinese is one of the buggiest, most problematic apps I’ve used but I still highly recommend it. Learning to speak Mandarin with good pronunciation is something you can’t ignore or hope for it to come naturally. The sooner you begin improving your pronunciation, the better off you’ll be. If you’re a beginner student, it may seem like learning pronunciation can wait, but correcting pronunciation mistakes gets harder the longer you’ve been making them.
Click here to read about learning pronunciation as a beginner at Hacking Chinese. (While you’re there, bookmark the page and read everything you can.)
In this review of Busuu, you’ll find everything I like and dislike about using Busuu to learn Chinese. In the last section, I’ll give you recommendations for alternatives that can save you money and help you on your journey to learn Chinese. Let’s jump into it.
Busuu is an extremely popular language learning app with over 10 million downloads in the Google Play Store. While it’s definitely not a bad app, I’m not sure it’s that great either. The biggest reason I say this is simply that there are free alternatives that can do pretty much everything Busuu can and often times better. However, for now, I’m going to focus on Busuu.
Bǎo Bèi Tīng Tīng (BBTT) wasn’t made to help you learn Chinese, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use it. BBTT is a Chinese language app made for Chinese parents. It’s filled with stories, songs and cartoons recorded for young kids. Because the material has been made for children, the language is much easier to understand than what you would find elsewhere. Because BBTT wasn’t made for language learners, there are obviously places where it falls short compared to a language learning platform like Yabla, Chinesepod or many others. However, it’s free and you may find a lot of material around your level to use for practicing your Chinese listening.
BBTT is probably only suitable for elementary or higher level students. Even stories made for the youngest kids will be too difficult for beginner students. The app is only in Chinese but it’s still pretty easy to navigate.