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Language Studies: Japanese, Korean, & Chinese

Chinese Language Resources

 

Pinyin.info: Pinyin.info is a guide to writing pinyin, that is, the official transliteration of Mandarin characters to the Latin alphabet. You will find a chart containing all the possible combinations of initials and finals, the basic rules for writing pinyin, where to place tone marks, information about the history of pinyin and other romanization systems (MPS2, Wade-Giles, Yale) and so on.

Chinese Pronunciation Wiki: Chinese Pronunciation Wiki is yet another free resource offered by AllSet Learning. Here you will find a detailed explanation of all Chinese sounds and tone. Beside this, you will find a complete pinyin chart where you can listen to each sound.

Chinese Grammar Wiki: Chinese Grammar Wiki is released by AllsetLearning, which provides free practical, but comprehensive online resource for Chinese grammar. It can be concluded as a mini-Wikipedia devoted entirely to Chinese grammar.

Arch Chinese: A rich learning system, useful for Chinese learners and teachers alike. They offer too many tools to list here, but features include a Skritter-like application to practice handwriting, animated stroke orders and native recordings for all standard characters, and a great dictionary which indicates the HSK level of common words. Teachers and kinaesthetic learners ought to investigate the huge range of tools they have for creating real-world paper flashcards, worksheets, characters sheets and more.

Chinese Tools: This is a brilliant resource specific to understanding cheng yu (four-word idioms), which are typically a major barrier to understanding native speakers and colloquial speech. Even more useful than a simple dictionary is their collection of the short stories traditionally used to explain each cheng yu, to put it in context.

Chinese Reading Practice: An incredibly valuable collection of authentic texts sorted by level from beginner to advanced. The blog author includes interesting introductions to each piece which touch upon cultural notes and possible difficulties for learners, and provides an English translation for every one. The collection is not that extensive but there is great variety, from kids stories to essays, songs to news articles.

Just Learn Chinese Mini Novels: Here’s a great little collection of short stories broken up into short, manageable chapters and audio clips to go with the text. The level of each story is indicated, from beginner to intermediate-advanced, but with the majority being suitable for elementary learners.

A Chinese Text Sampler: Whilst being a pretty bare-bones website that won’t win you over with it’s design, this is actually a fantastic collection of many culturally important texts and excerpts which can really help enrich your understanding of the language and progress towards true literacy.

Chinese Pop Songs: This website has songs in Chinese, pinyin, and English. Listen to the Mandarin pop songs and learn to sing them!

Jukuu: This is an excellent website for getting a sense of how to use new words/phrases (a very different matter from just learning what something means). When you search a word (/phrase/sentence part) it returns authentic Chinese sentences with your search item indicated and an English translation above. It works as a translation tool too, in that you can search what you want to express in English and find out the most natural words used to do so in Mandarin. It also displays statistics indicating the most commonly used options!

Chinese Character Etymology: This website is THE resource for character etymology. Type any character into the search, and see how the character has evolved over time, back hundreds if not thousands of years. This is not a tool that has any immediate bearing on gaining fluency, but for advanced learners wanting to improve their literacy and gain a deeper understanding of 汉字 this is a priceless resource.

Forvo: Though pinyin is a pretty reliable guide to pronunciation in Mandarin Chinese, there is no substitute for native speakers. Forvo gives you free access to recordings of over 75,000 words and short phrases pronounced by just such native speakers. A great resource to enrich your understanding of new vocabulary.

ChinesePod: From beginners' videos to survival series, this YouTube channel is always trying to make new content. All of their videos are not very long–from 15 seconds to 10 minutes–which is perfect for learning in your free time.

Yoyo Chinese: Hostess YangYang consistently delivers high-quality Chinese learning videos. With professional presentations, effective teaching methods ,and concise explanations, Yangyang does a great job of teaching Mandarin. She covers topics such as grammar, Pinyin, and important Chinese basics.

ChineseClass101: Do you want to learn Chinese in three minutes? ChineseClass101 supplies various Chinese learning videos, and one of them is about how to learn Chinese in three minutes. There are several basic simple sentences that the teacher, Ma Yanru, explains in detail.

CantoneseClass101: CantoneeClass101 YouTube channel share several video series like the playlist of Cantonese lesson in 3 minutes would teach you some basic Cantonese such as apologies, numbers, greeting which are practical, and the playlist of Hong Kong Holidays much appeal to those who are interested in Chinese culture. 

Learn Chinese Now: If you've wondered how the experience of learning Chinese as a foreigner is, then check out the Learn Chinese Now channel. Ban, a foreigner who is fluent in Mandarin, makes Chinese learning funny through various kinds TV-like skits. He teaches Chinese for travel, business, dates as well as idioms.

Learn Chinese with Litao: Litao's videos are based on the HSK and offer lessons up to level 2. The teaching approach is quite systematic, and serious learners can benefit since it's all about language learning. 

Chinese Zero to Hero: Although also focusing on HSK content learning, this YouTube page still stands out. This channel shows two Chinese men explaining grammar points according to the HSK requirements. The grammar points coverage is wider than many of the other Chinese teaching YouTubers. You can find some explanations on their page which are less mentioned by others.

ChineseFor.Us: ChineseFor.us is hosted and run by Lili, who lives in the US and focuses on teaching through video. Her courses include pronunciation, characters, and a how-to-say series. Now she is making a course based on HSK. Her teaching style is repeating the target content several times to make sure you are engaged and will remember her lessons.

Mandarin Corner: One of the obvious features of Mandarin Corner is the diversity of the video topics, such as HSK, vocabulary, reading, talking, surviving, and even translations. The other outstanding feature is the teaching style. The teacher uses casual conversations which may be used in real life so as to teach the viewers in a practical way. The Chinese and English subtitles also help learners understand the content easier. From their videos, you can experience various role playing while learning new vocabulary which may not be found in the regular textbooks.

 Learning Chinese through Stories (LCTS): You’ll listen to stories told in Chinese and the hosts will explain different parts of the story as they go through it. It has a fairly large library of content and is still actively releasing new material. Some lessons are very short and only last a couple of minutes, while others are 20+ minutes long.

Coffee Break Chinese: Learn to speak Mandarin Chinese with teacher Crystal and learner Mark in regular lessons from the Radio Lingua Network. These lessons last around 30 minutes each and are suitable for beginner students.It’s kind of like sitting in on a private class and learning alongside the host!

Slow Chinese: There are around 200 lessons, lasting from 3-5 minutes on average. As the title suggests, the host speaks at a slower pace which makes it a bit easier to follow along. You can also find the transcript and translations online in multiple languages. It’s most suitable for intermediate level students.

Talk Chineasy: This podcast is almost entirely in English. The episodes will focus on a Chinese word or phrase, often discussing Chinese culture and history. Lessons are typically from 6-8 minutes long.

Melnyks Chinese Lessons: This podcast has over 75 beginner level lessons available for free. They typically last around 20 minutes. The host is a foreigner that has learned Mandarin. First, he’ll introduce you to new vocabulary words. He’ll repeat the words very slowly several times. Later on, he’ll add in full sentences.

Chinese Learn Online: Chinese Learn Online offers over 400 lessons across seven difficulty levels.

iMandarinPod: This podcast is releasing content quite frequently – around 4 or so new lessons per week. They focus on Chinese culture and news. Most lessons are around ten minutes long. They’re entirely in Chinese and are suitable for intermediate or higher level students. 

Learning Chinese Podcasts: This webpage provides links to supplementary Chinese podcasts, some of which are listed on this page.

HelloChinese: Hello Chinese is a powerful learning tool that can help you overcome the fear of learning Chinese. This app focuses on daily life topics. It starts from basic pinyin, so that even if you are a total beginner or have absolutely no background in Chinese, you can still learn with it. What is special is that this app allows you to listen and record your own voice, and to help you check automatically if your pronunciation is correct. 

Pleco: Pleco is available on Android and iOS devices and is an all-in-one app: off-line dictionary, flashcards, optical character recognizer, handwriting recognizer, stroke order diagrams, audio pronunciation, and text reader. 

The Chairman's Bao: Reading news stories on The Chairman's Bao feels less like studying and more like something you would do for fun. With so much of the content being China-centric, you’ll learn a ton about the culture as well. They also have comprehension exercises with each article.

Chinese Skill: Chinese Skill is free app that’s great for beginners.  The design and interface is really cute, featuring a panda, of course. Also, the content is designed according to categories like food, numbers and colors—so you get the learning in a rather systematic way while having some fun.

Du Chinese: Du Chinese is an app that will help you improve your Chinese reading skills. It's easy to use and loading material takes only seconds. You can read by yourself or listen to an audio recording and read along. You can easily turn the pinyin on and off and switch Chinese characters between Simplified and Traditional. It supports English translations for single words and sentences. All sentences have been carefully translated and they stay as true as possible to the original Mandarin. The reading material topics cover daily conversations, Chinese culture, current events, the latest trends, funny stories, and regular life in China.

Clozemaster: Clozemaster is a popular app that is excellent for getting lots of exposure to sentences and vocabulary. This app uses lots of fill in the blank exercises for which you can type in your answer or choose from multiple choices. You can filter sentences based on HSK level and you’ll earn points for answering questions correctly. Although there is a pro version that requires a subscription, most people will find the free version to offer plenty of value.

Mango Languages: The sweet and simple language learning app, this app is geared towards teaching you practical phrases and having you use them in everyday life. The content is very auditory-heavy, with clear voice recordings of every phrase and prompts to repeat and record yourself. Vocabulary and grammar lessons are combined together in units called “getting around”, “asking opinions”, and similar phrases. We loved the timer feature on the lesson quizzes, which added a competitive edge, as well as the option to download lessons offline.

TOFU Learn: For those who feel like Skritter isn’t worth the cost, TOFU Learn may be just what you’re looking for. This free app could be a suitable alternative and a good way to improve your vocabulary and help you learn to write Chinese characters.

Skritter: Skritter is the app for those who are serious about learning to write Chinese characters. Basically, you practice writing characters using your finger and your phone’s touch screen. It utilizes a combination of SRS flashcards and stroke recognition to help you remember how to write characters. It’s convenient to use and works great. Unfortunately, the price is on the higher side.

Drops: All the new verbs are 100% illustrated which reduces the chances of you using another language to identify and then translate. The short duration of each gamified session is both fun and addictive which is key in learning a new language. You do have to remember that Drops only offers verbs. There aren’t any grammar or expressions. So if you want to expand your vocabulary and know more words, this is the ideal app for you.

Memrise: Memrise is a free app that has tons of user-created courses. These can be anything from characters to restaurant items to slang words. It’s sort of a gamified flashcard system that you can use to learn new characters. It also uses mnemonics but the quality can vary significantly on a course by course basis.