A Short List of Resources for Studying Chinese

This list is curated to cut down on the time you need to spend checking finding good resources. For an extensive list of resources, see Hacking Chinese and search through an enormous catalogue of properly tagged resources and guides or Mandarin Weekly for a list of online feeds and newsletters about Chinese. 

 

If you think any suggestion could be replaced with a better resource or if another resource should be added, please post and explain why you think so.

 

And a note on studying: When learning a language, it is important to combine extensive methods with intensive methods. Extensive methods rely on consuming a lot of relatively easily understood content and focusing on the general gist rather than nuance. When studying extensively, use context to learn new words or just quickly look them up and move on. In contrast, intensive studying methods rely on understanding the nuance and depth of the content. When studying intensively, take the time to learn the new words, replay or re-read the content many times, and analyze the logical structure.

 

Language Courses:

  • Hello Chinese – Duolingo-like phone app for Chinese learners with a handwriting function like Skritter and voice recognition[free]
  • Ninchanese – Gamified learning. Great for character memorization and has 5 worlds that go through HSK 5ish. Strong and supportive learning communitee . [free-$$]
  • Pimsleur – Audio-based mandarin Chinese course. Wordlist [$22-$550 but look for frequent discounts]
  • EdX Beginner Chinese – Part 1 and Part 2 [free]
  • Coursera Beginner Chinese- Part 1 and Part 2 [free]
  • EdX Intermediate Chinese – [free]
  • EdX Business Chinese (intermediate level) – [free]
  • For advanced learners, simply enroll in a content course that is taught in Chinese. Good luck!

Textbooks

 

Dictionaries

 

Popup Dictionaries for Browsers:

Online Dictionaries:

  • YellowBridge Chinese English Dictionary – Overall dictionary [free]
  • Arch Chinese – A Chinese language learner’s dictionary [free] with printable flashcards, worksheets, and character breakdown [$3monthly]
  • Jukuu – example sentences dictionary with statistical breakdown [free]
  • Zhonga – Uses CC-CEDICT but with short movie clips as example sentences for many more common words [free]

Offline Dictionaries:

  • Wenlin – (Mac/OS) worth getting used to user-interface [100$ with frequent 50% off deals]
  • Pleco – (iOS/Android) nothing comparable. It does everything. If you’re are committed to Chinese, then get the professional pack. [free – $100’s]
  • Built-in-dictionary – (MacOS)
  • [Need suggestion for free offline dictionary on Windows]

 

Grammar

 

Tones

 

Listening Material

  • ChinesePod – An enormous library of podcats [free/$$]
  • Chinese Learn Online – Leveled podcasts that systematically progress in difficulty
  • Glossika Method – Shadow audio recordings to simultaneously improve listening, speaking, and grammar. [Wide range of $]
  • 爱奇艺 – Start with kids shows (喜羊羊与灰太狼) and work up to teens (降世神通) and finally, adult content (欢乐颂). [free]

 

Reading Material (For an extensive list of options and levels, see Graded readers, by the numbers (character/words, page count)

  • The Chairman’s Bao – Graded reader-esque news with recordings. [80$/year]
  • Just Learn Chinese – Online graded readers with audio. Beginner to advanced. [free]
  • Graded Readers – Search Amazon for Chinese Breeze (includes audio files) or Mandarin Companion (captivating stories for adults) and DeFrancis (free with traditional character).  [free-$15ish]
  • Chinese Text Analyser – Analyze a text for difficulty and known words, also has a built in dictionary which makes using it as a text reader simple. [$10ish?]
  • Marco Polo Project – Authentic reading material from China for Chinese learners

 

Flashcards/Vocabulary

  • Memrise – Gamified vocabulary study. Use pre-made lists or create your own. [free]
  • Anki – Less user friendly but superior SRS algorithm. Read the guide and use the forums. Learn how to use this application. Shared decks for Chinese [free on MacOS, Windows, Android, but $10 and iOS]
  • Pleco – Read the user guide. Their notecards can do a lot. Study by drawing characters, selecting pinyin, and other ways. SRS is mediocre but a major update is expected soon.

Writing Characters

  • The Minimum Requirements – A guide to writing technically correct characters [free]
  • Skritter – Teaches stroke order and vocabulary together [$15/month, $100/year]
  • Hanzi Grids – customizable and printable grids to practice writing characters [free, $10 one time for additional features]

 

Online Language Partners

  • iTalki – seems to have gotten worse since I used it and loved it. Looking for new recommendations. [$$$]

 

Test Prep (HSK)

 If you want to practise your Chinese, feel free to write to me. I am willing to help you all.
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