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The best online tools and apps to learn Chinese

Our co-founder Kevin gives you a comprehensive list of the best resources to learn Chinese fast.

Whether you have just started to learn Chinese or you are already a veteran, you have probably started out by using a book in an old fashioned language class. And as a dynamic learner, you are now wondering which digital tools may help you with learning Chinese. Well, luckily for you, you have come to the right place. Please find below a comprehensive list of the best resources out there!

1. Method: For an amazing overview of Chinese learning strategies for all levels and all the necessary skills I recommend Hacking Chinese. They do a really good job in putting the process in focus and help you to improve the way you learn so you can use all your tools more effectively. They really go into detail with memory techniques etc.

2. Dictionary: The probably best dictionary out there is the app Pleco. They have tons of meanings and phrases for every character, you can break down every character into their radicals and if you are willing to pay some extra money, the app comes with amazing OCR (optical character recogniton).

3. Flashcards: The best tool for effective learning with flashcards is probably Anki. It is an extremely flexible tool that let's you add images, audio etc. to your cards. There are also quite a couple of great free decks by other users that you can simply use: Anki

4. Speaking and Listening: ChinesePod has over 10 years of experience and thousands of audio and video lessons teaching tens of thousands of students from all around the world. So in other words, they know what they are doing. And they are doing it really well.

 

An alternative to ChinesePod seems to be PopupChinese. They also have great podcasts about everything related to China along with great explanations and very likeable people! If you like podcasts and videos, make sure to also check out our very own Youtube channel.

If you are more advanced in listening, you can start watching China's own Youtube, Tudou and Youku. They have a lot of Chinese TV shows and a lot of these vides have subtitles, too!

5. Writing: Apart from setting your keyboard on both your PC and your phone to Chinese language (for android I would recommend Swiftkey) you should try out Skritter. The app allows you to write in your phone and it tracks and evaluates, how "good" your writing is.

Well obviously there is also our own product for which you came to our website: Zizzle. This app is especially cool for you if you are not the monotonous repetitive-writing guy but rather want to use your imagination and a smart technique for learning Chinese. We believe that this tool is more efficient than any of the existing resources out there right now. If you haven't done so yet, sign up for our newsletter!

6. Reading: A great resource for student friendly Chinese articles is The Chairman's Bao: The Chairman's Bao. The newspaper published news on many topics, such as business, science, sport technologies and other, all written in Mandarin by Native Chinese teachers in accordance with HSK (standard Chinese language proficiency test) word listings.

For the more advanced, check out the Marco Polo Project. They present a diverse selection of new writing from China – non-fiction and social commentary from leading intellectuals and independent bloggers - formatted for non-Mandarin natives, with bilingual titles, tags, and author biographies. Their selection reflects the diversity of Chinese writing today.

7. Grammar: Chinese grammar wiki is another pretty young but really comprehensive resource. They present Chinese grammar in a very structured way. So if at some point, you hear/read a sentence and are unsure about the construction, you are sure to find help there.

8. Connect: Apart from what has already been mentioned, the app HelloTalk is a great way to communicate with native speakers. Using the app, you simply select which languages you want to learn and you can instantly start chatting off with a native speaker: HelloTalk

9. Even More...: If you want to find out about even more awesome resources, an even more comprehensive list can be found here: The 60 Best Free Resources. They claim they update the list every year and from what I can see, they are keeping their promise.

Have fun and good luck!

 

Kevin

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