Best Resources for Learning Chinese

Best Resources for learning Chinese

To guarantee easy and frequent immersion, you should have a diverse, regularly updated selection of learning resources. Have all of your resources available on your phone, computer, or in print format by your bed, sofa, and bathroom. Finding these resources can be a real pain if you are a less experienced language learner, so I’ve put together a huge list of the best resources for learning Chinese to get you started. 

Some of these resources cost money, some are free, and they apply to many different devices. Before you jump in, though, I’d like to share with you a crucial piece of advice:

When It Comes to Education, Don’t Be Too Tight With Your Wallet

It truly is a beautiful time to learn a language and the available resources have never been cheaper, more accessible, or more valuable. 

Thanks to technological breakthroughs, you do not need to sign up for a university class to learn a language anymore. Actually, That would likely be detrimental. Think about that for a second. The fact that you don’t have to pay for a university course means you have already saved yourself many thousands of dollars per year. 

Therefore, investing a fraction of that into a few select resources will bring you far better results. I used to agonize over a few dollars for a Mandarin website, then proceed to spend the same amount several times over on overpriced beer that evening!

Are you in it for the long haul? If the answer is yes, then decide on a monthly budget you are willing to set aside for Mandarin. And, if you set aside just $100 per month, you can gain access to several of the best resources to learn Chinese out there, with some money left over for a weekly session with a qualified tutor. Then, if you double that investment, you will have access to everything you’ll ever need for fluency and literacy. 


Some of the native Mandarin apps are inaccessible outside of China. In this case, you will need to sign up for a VPN service and use Hong Kong or Mainland servers. Here are some recommendations for that: 

ExpressVPN – Offers five blazing-fast VPNs in Hong Kong.

PureVPN – Offers twelve Chinese servers.

Socketpro – Very popular with learners living in China (including us!). Several high-speed Hong Kong servers are available.

There are a lot of resources coming up, so to make things easier for you I’ve divided them into categories of “Input”, “Output”, and “Other Resources”.


Best Resources for Learning Chinese with Input

Best Resources for Learning Chinese: Audio Books

Audible [Mandarin Version] (Free & Paid – Web, iOS, Android) – These are pretty recent, and it’s fantastic that more high-quality audiobooks like these are becoming more widely available. Most are native level, but they also have some graded audiobooks, such as those by Mandarin Companion.

有声⼩说⼤全 (Free – iOS, Android) – A vast amount of audiobooks and Mandarin radio stations.

懒⼈听书IRTS (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – Similar to the app above, only better designed, and it comes with a large selection of free books to read in-app. (Free – Web) – The website doesn’t look that great, but there is a massive selection of audiobooks, podcasts, and even soap operas to choose from. 

Audio Courses

For beginners looking to get some initial pronunciation practice and basic immersion, audio courses are a great choice. Here are the best resources to learn Chinese with audio courses.

Pimsleur (Paid – iOS, Android) – I used this myself, and the constant repetition of native audio undoubtedly helped my pronunciation in a big way. Certainly not for everyone, however.

Glossika (Paid – Web, iOS, Android) – Uses a spaced repetition algorithm to present you with lots of natural-sounding sentences. 7,000 sentences and 5,000 words covered.

OptiLingo (Paid – iOS, Android) – Learn 1,500 phrases and over 1,000 words through listening and repeating. They call it ‘guided immersion’. Spaced repetition is also applied.

Listening Practice (Free – Web) – A unique concept that involves (among other things) typing out sentences you hear. 


Best Resources for Learning Chinese for Lower Levels:  

Mandarin Companion (Paid) – Easy to read novels in Mandarin Chinese. They have 14 books available in paperback, e-book, and audiobook format that cover a range of levels. These graded readers are so good that we licensed a huge chunk of every book for use on our course! Their content is unlocked once you have learned enough characters to reach 98% comprehension.

Snowflake books (Paid) – Bilingual books in both simplified and traditional Chinese, with pinyin. These seem more designed for a younger audience. Well-illustrated books that ship worldwide. 

Native Books:

Amazon China Kindle Books

Amazon Mandarin Paperback/Hardback Books

Dangdang – This is where you go for a more extensive selection of books in Chinese if you are in China. 

Comic Books

Comics are a go-to favourite of mine because they provide vivid visual context, use very natural (and relatively simple) language, and there are often hundreds of volumes in a series. Perfect for learners. 

Best Resources for Learning Chinese for Lower Levels:

Manga Mandarin (Paid – iOS, Android) – A lovely idea for an app. A graded reader but for comics instead of novels. 

Native Comics:

Below are some of the more popular sites and apps for comics. Some of them are online-only, some are just apps, some are both. Most of these have a really cool social function woven into them, where users can leave comments on specific pages, which you can access live as you read. There are many more of these apps available, some unavailable outside of China, so try searching for “漫画” (Mànhuà) in your app store and see what comes up. Here are the best resources for learning Chinese with Native Comics.

哔哩哔哩漫画 (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) – A relatively newly-released app out of mainland China, and the most well-designed one, in my opinion. Eastern comics only. 

KuaiKan (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) – Based in mainland China, with a large selection of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean comics.

ManHuaGui 漫画⻤ (Freemium – Web) – Comics available from both the east and the west. 

Manhuaren 漫画⼈ (Freemium – iOS, Android) – Eastern comics only.

Manwei wuxian 漫威⽆限 (Free – iOS, Android) – A wide selection of marvel comics translated into simplified Chinese. You can turn on a feature that allows you to read the comic frame-by-frame.

QQ Comics (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) – Eastern comics only. Also a nice selection of anime called “动漫画”.

Best Resources for Learning Chinese with Music

Learning Chinese with Music

When it comes to these Mandarin music apps, there’s so much to choose from that you will probably be best just clicking on what is popular right now and note down artists you like. I also recommend learning the genres in Chinese and exploring them individually. Below are the best resources to learn Chinese with Mandarin music:

5ND (Freemium – Web) 

9sky (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android)

Kugou (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) 

Mandarin Music Artists on iTunes (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) – Try looking at the genres Chinese Alt, Chines hiphop, Mandopop, Chinese Regional Folk, and Chinese Opera.

QQ Music – (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android)

Wangyi ⽹易云⾳乐(Free – Web, iOS, Android)

Xiami 虾⽶⾳乐 (Free – Web, iOS, Android) 

Online Reading Resources

Free Reading Resources

Chinese reading practice (Free – Web) – Although this hasn’t received any updates in a long time, it’s still a great resource. There are many stories for you to choose from, with thoughtful explanations for the more difficult sections. Popup dictionary and English translations included. 

Chinese text sampler (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – A wide range of texts aimed at the advanced learner. 

My Chinese Reading (Free – Web) – This site provides a range of practice reading material (some with audio) for free. 

RuiWen (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – Many articles suitable for practice. Of particular relevance to learners is 作⽂, containing essays written by Chinese children. 

The Marco Polo project (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – A wide range of interesting articles for advanced learners. 

Decipher (Paid – Web, iOS, Android) – A huge selection of articles for learners divided by HSK level. Handy pop-up dictionary and ability to save words for review later. 

Du Chinese (Paid – Web, iOS, Android) – Very similar to Decipher and The Chairman’s Bao (below). 

iChinese Reader (Paid – Web, iOS, Android) – An online graded reading platform that offers more than 2000 fiction and interactive non-fiction e-books of different genres, topics, and content areas placed at 20 proficiency levels.

LingQ (Paid – Web, iOS, Android) – Pronounced “link”. LingQ is a language learning system created by polyglot Steve Kaufmann. This app has an extensive selection of reading and listening material, and the ability for you to upload your content, even entire ebooks! I have used this app almost every single day for the last three years, and I wish I had found it earlier. 

The Chairman’s Bao (Paid – Web, iOS, Android) – A huge range of real news articles translated into Chinese, divided by HSK level.

Native Reading Material:  

Obviously, you’ll need to have a few thousand words under your belt before you can tackle these. However, you can access most. Here are the best resources for learning Chinese with native reading material.

17K (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) – Online novels. 

BBC News (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – All articles translated into simplified Chinese.

GuoKR (Free – Web) – Science-related articles.

JanDan (Free – Web) – Articles. 

List of Mainland Chinese Newspapers Available Online 

List of Hong Kong Newspapers Available Online 

The 163 Blog (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – Articles.

The Bible (Free – Web) – This is the link to the simplified Chinese version “with drama”. Try with and without. 

The New York Times [Chinese version] (Free – Web, iOS, Android)

List of Taiwanese Newspapers Available Online 

The QQ Blog (Free – Web) – Articles.

The Sina Blog (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – Articles.

The Sohu Blog (Free – Web) – Articles. 

Tianya (Free – Web)- Articles.

Zhihu (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – China’s Quora. 

Best Resources for Learning Chinese with Reading Tools:

Chinese Text Analyser (Paid – Web) – A tool for segmenting and analyzing Chinese text. We use this to create level-appropriate content for our course. 

Evernote (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) – For saving articles.

Pocket (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) – Also for saving articles.

Feedly (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) – For subscribing to blogs.

Ponddy (Freemium – Web) – An online tool that can level imported Chinese articles and generate pinyin, vocab, and grammar lists with a built-in dictionary and library. 


Learning Chinese through Podcasts

I recommend doing a google search for a decent podcast app to make sure all of your podcasts are in one place. If you are using a podcast designed for learners, then just download the dialogues only and read along with the transcripts, where possible. Try to shadow the audio (preferably while reading) for any listening content. 

Best Resources for Learning Chinese for Lower Levels:

ChinesePod (Paid) – An ocean of high quality, and often amusing podcasts. Their video content is also great. 

ChineseClass101 (Paid) – Perhaps a little less entertaining than PopupChinese or Chinesepod. However, you can download just the dialogues (no English) along with the transcripts, so that’s enough to get my stamp of approval. 

Popup Chinese (Freemium) – A personal favorite of mine. You can access all of the lessons for free from their website, and you only pay if you want to download them. Some of the lessons are so weird and amusing that I can still recite the scripts after several years.

Slow Chinese (Free) – High-quality Mandarin audio on a variety of topics varying in difficulty. Transcripts are available. 

听故事学中⽂ Learning Chinese through Stories (Free) – Stories in Mandarin covering a wide range of topics and proficiency levels (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced). Every story has two parts: story (A) and story explanation (B), accompanied by annotated vocabulary and transcript.

Best Resources for Learning Chinese with Native Podcasts:

得到 (Freemium)- Another personal favorite. This app is packed with audiobooks, articles, and podcasts from many different creators.

iTunes Podcasts China

iTunes Podcasts Taiwan


Just as with podcasts, it can be more convenient to do a search for a radio app you like, so you can keep everything in one place. 

Mainland China Radio Stations on TuneIn 

Taiwan Radio Stations on TuneIn

There are many apps for individual stations available, each with its own vast selection of content. Here are some more popular ones: 

LizhiFM (Free – Web, iOS, Android)

QingtingFM (Free – Web, iOS, Android)

QieFM (Free – Web, iOS, Android)

XimalayaFM (Free – Web, iOS, Android) 

Video Content 

Video is one of the best formats of input. It provides powerful visual context to what is being said and pretty much all Chinese video content comes with subtitles. 

Best Resources for Learning Chinese for Lower Levels: 

FluentU (Paid – Web, iOS, Android) – Learn Mandarin through hundreds of real video clips. Analyze subtitles and save words for SRS review later. A very cool idea. 

Yabla (Paid – Web, iOS) – A site with videos including hanzi, pinyin, and English captions. 

Learn Chinese From Movies (Paid – Web, iOS, Android) – LCFM features unique subtitles, glossaries, and transcripts for 30+ movies – including professionally-dubbed Mandarinaudio children’s movies as well as Mainland, Hong Kong, & Taiwanese films (Mandarin audio). 

Native Viewing: 

Bili-Bili (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – This has a lot of everything. Live-streaming, documentaries, music, games, movies, TV shows, and anything else video-related. 

Chinese Movies & TV Shows on Major Streaming Services (Paid – Web, iOS, Android) – Choose from Hulu, Netflix, HBO, and any other streaming service you have access to. 

iQiYi (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) – A Chinese movie and TV streaming site.

PPS (Freemium – Web) – A Chinese movie and TV streaming site.

QQ Video (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) – A Chinese movie and TV streaming site. and (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) – Both similar to YouTube. (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) – List of YouTube channels and sites that stream Chinese Dramas. (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – Clips of Medical Films in Native Chinese with Chinese and English subtitles. (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – A Video Sharing Website with Native Chinese Videos and Chinese subtitles. (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – More than 4000 full movies, tens of thousands of short videos, and several TV programs.

CCTV6 China Movie YouTube Channel (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) – YouTube Channel with both Chinese and English Movies with Chinese/English Subtitles. (Paid – Web, iOS, Android) – List of Chinese movies on Amazon with English subtitles.

Huanxi (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) – Website with movies of all genres in Chinese with Chinese subtitles.

MangoTV (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – Shows, drama series, documentaries and other genres with subtitles in 18 languages.

RakutenViki (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) – All types of Asian Shows in multiple languages and subtitles in multiple languages also.

WeTV (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) – Similar to RakutenViki. All sorts of Asian Shows and subtitles in multiple languages.

Ixigua (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – This is like a Chinese YouTube.

Video Games

Mandarin video games are a favorite choice of mine. Because you are getting so much great input, you get the same enjoyment you would normally, but far less of the guilt that usually comes with it. 

Best Resources for Learning Chinese for Lower Levels:  

Influent (Paid – Web, iOS, Android) – Walk around a virtual apartment and learn hundreds of words for everyday objects by hovering over them. Native audio and flashcards for 18 different languages included. 

Wordswing (Free – Web) – A series of text adventure games for a variety of levels. Comics, dialogues, and SRS flashcards are also available. 

Best Resources for Learning Chinese with Native Mandarin Games: 

You should go for dialogue-heavy genres like RPGs, Visual Novels, and MMORPGS, and make a rule for yourself that you are not allowed to continue playing until you at least attempt to read every dialogue box that comes up. Doing this allows you to play games as an adult (almost) guilt-free!

Steam Games in Simplified Chinese 

Steam Games in Traditional Chinese 

iOS Games 

Android Games 


Tutors & Language Exchanges

Learning Chinese with Output

When you decide you are ready to get a competent tutor, here are some great resources:  

Chinese Language Meetup Groups (Free – Web) – Find out what’s happening in Chinese language Meetup groups around the world and start meeting up with the ones near you. 

Conversation Exchange (Free – Web) – Practice your second language by meeting up with natives in your area for free. 

Hinative (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – A question and answer community for language learners. Ask any questions you like about Mandarin and Chinese culture, send in voice messages for pronunciation correction, and find tutors.

iTalki (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) – Top choice for paid and unpaid tutors. 

LingQ (Paid – Web, iOS, Android) – Lots of tutors that will correct your writing and speaking. 

My Language Exchange (Free – Web) – Over 3 million members from over 175 countries, practicing 164 languages. 

Polyglot Club (Free – Web) – Find language exchange partners close to you and get your written Chinese corrected for free.

The Mixxer (Free – Web) – A free virtual language exchange site using Skype.  

Verbling (Paid – Web, iOS, Android) – Similar to iTalki.

Wyzant (Paid – Web, iOS, Android) – Private Chinese tutoring with pay-as-you-go pricing. 

Best Resources for Learning Chinese: Speaking Apps

Bilingua (Free – iOS, Android) – Chat, play, and learn with native speakers. 

HelloTalk (Freemium – iOS, Android) – Very similar to the WeChat app. A great resource for free language exchange partners. 

Idyoma (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) – Users match with one another to practice languages, taking turns speaking in one another’s languages to reach fluency. 

Oral Chinese Test (Paid – Web) – The only official online Chinese oral test certified by the Confucius Institute Headquarters. 

Speaky (Free – iOS, Android) – Another solid resource for language exchanges. 

Tandem (Freemium – iOS, Android) – My favorite thing about this app is the random question generator, so you can avoid the repetitive introductions and get straight down to meaningful interactions.

Writing Apps  

You can practice writing with any tutor from the tutor section, but here’s a couple of sites that focus purely or mainly on helping you with writing: 

For Practicing Writing:

Idiomatic Forest (Free – Web) – You are shown random images and asked to write about what you see. Tutors are supposed give you corrections for free, but I submitted a piece of writing and at this point it’s been 10 days with no reply. Just send your writing to your tutor or a language exchange partner instead. 

Best Resources for Practicing Chinese Characters:  

Hanzi Grids (Free – Web) – Hanzi Grids lets you create custom Chinese character worksheets and grid paper templates that you can download and print out for handwriting practice. 

Skritter (Paid – Web, iOS, Android) – A smooth writing program that gets pretty addictive. A substantial selection of flashcards is available, plus you can make and import your own. 

Inkstone (Paid – Android) – Similar to Skritter. Has a built-in database of Pinyin, meanings, and compositions. 

Blogs & Forums  

Other Resources

Mandarin-focused forums:

Chinese-forums – A great choice for learning advice and input recommendations. The dedication of some of the main contributors to this forum is inspiring. 

Word Reference – Another forum for advice and discussion around Mandarin (and lots of other languages). – If you want something translated, advice from some veteran learners, or you just want to catch up on the latest Mandarin memes going around, this is your spot. 

Stack Exchange – Extensive detailed posts on lots of Mandarin-related topics. 

Mandarin-focused blogs: 

CarlGene – This guy has pretty much taken his Chinese to the highest level you can go. This blog doesn’t have heaps of content, but much of the content he creates isn’t available anywhere else.

Chineseboost – Not a huge blog, but the creator has the right idea about learning Mandarin. Lots of valuable advice on learning techniques, mindset, and flashcard creation. 

Hacking Chinese – The most popular Chinese blog out there, and for good reason. 

East Asia Student – Made by the same guy who created Chineseboost. Lots more high-quality articles on Mandarin grammar and Chinese learning. 

Living a dream in China – More about life in China than language, but it has both.

MandarinHQ – Consistently high-quality posts with thoughtful free downloads such as audio and flashcard files. Great videos, too. 

Sapore De Cina – More of an all-rounder. Lots of articles on learning Chinese, but also a decent information resource for living and working in China. 

Sinosplice – Made by John Pasden of Chinesepod and Mandarin companion. High-quality posts on a variety of topics related to Mandarin learning

The Linguist – LingQ creator Steve Kaufman’s blog. Steve was an essential inspiration for Phil and I as we were creating MB. We are big fans. 

The Mandarin Corner – Articles on pronunciation, grammar, and self-study.

The World of Chinese – A bi-monthly English magazine and web portal dedicated to the Chinese language and culture. I like their “On the Character…” series, where they delve deep into the various usages of individual characters. 

General Language learning:  

All Japanese All The Time – Must-read articles on language acquisition. Reading these posts will charge your batteries and fill you with motivation. 

All things linguistic – General articles on linguistics for those of you who want to get a bit more technical. 

Antimoon – Brilliant articles aimed at English learners, but applicable to any language. The writers heavily endorse high-quality input and output for effective language acquisition. 

Brave Learning – Valuable articles on language learning. 

Fluent Forever – Gabriel Wyner is another key inspiration of ours. His book, app, and pronunciation trainers are also highly recommended. 

FluentU – More focused on quantity than quality, but enough of both to make it well worth checking out. 

Fluent in Three Months – Benny Lewis puts a heavy focus on speaking as soon and as much as possible. His positivity is contagious.

Glossika Blog – Solid articles ranging in depth from learning certain phrases to language acquisition principles. 

Italki – Lots of articles to choose from on a range of topics relating to Mandarin. 

I Will Teach You A Language – Olly is an experienced polyglot who learns languages using the story-based method. Many articles on language learning strategy. 

Luca Lampariello – A world-class polyglot who creates great videos and articles on language learning. 

The Mezzofanti Guild – Another top polyglot known for taking on the more difficult and obscure languages. 

Best Resources for Learning Chinese with Browser Extensions

Installing just a few free browser extensions can greatly improve your online language learning experience. Here are a few of the best: 

Zhongwen Popup Dictionary (Free – Chrome, Firefox) – Probably the most popular pop-up dictionary plugin for Chinese. 

新同⽂堂 Traditional & Simplified Chinese Converter (Free – Chrome, Firefox) – Yep, you guessed it. This extension helps you switch between traditional and simplified on the fly. 

PinyinBrowser (Freemium – iOS, Android) – A web browser for iPhone and iPad that shows you Pinyin or Bopomofo to Chinese web pages. 

Frill (Free – Safari) – A pop-up dictionary for Safari.


Dictionaries to help you learn Chinese

Each of the following dictionaries has its advantages and disadvantages; just try out a few and see which work best for you: 

Character and Word Dictionaries:  

Chinasmack glossary (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – Fantastic (and hilarious) resource for learning Mandarin slang. Viewer discretion is HIGHLY advised. 

Google Images (Free – Web) – Can be used as a visual dictionary, or for choosing images for your flashcards. 

HanDian (汉典) (Free – Web) – Chinese only. The most comprehensive Chinese dictionary on the Internet.

Hanping Chinese Dictionary Pro (Paid – Android) – As good (if not better) than Pleco, but for android only. 

Linguee English-Chinese Dictionary (英中词典) (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – Extensive translation database. English-Chinese and Chinese-English.

Pleco (Freemium – iOS & Android) – An absolute must-have resource. The paid add-ons are worth it, too. There are thousands of example sentences that are rather hit or miss in terms of quality. You can categorize, and export bookmarked words/sentences very easily, however. 

Wikipedia (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – Use this as a way of finding out the Chinese name for anything you need. First, look up the thing you want in your native language, then switch the language to “中⽂” by clicking on the left. 

Wiktionary (Free – Web) – Searchable using pinyin or hanzi.

Wisetalk (Freemium – iOS) – An idiom dictionary with explanations of 4880 chengyu.  

WordBuddy (Free – Web) – A dictionary for exploring characters that allows you to save word lists. 

YellowBridge (Freemium – Web) – Also has a small selection of example sentences, but requires a paid subscription to access the pop-up dictionary for them. 

Best Dictionaries for Sentence Mining: 

Baidu (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – China’s biggest search engine. Search for your word in Chinese and add 造句 (zàojù) “sentence-making/syntax” or 例句 (lìjù) “example sentence” for better results. 

Bing Dictionary (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – Surprisingly, one of the best resources out there for sentence mining. Not only does it contain example sentences with correct pinyin and English translations, but it also allows you to categorize the sentences by difficulty and style. 

Chinesepod Glossary (Freemium – Web) – This is great just by itself, but if you use Chinesepod as a service it’s even more useful. Words you search bring up actual sentences from the respective Chinesepod lesson, with links to the audio and transcript. 

Iciba (Free – Web)- Pinyin accessible via a built-in popup dictionary. 

Jukuu (Free – Web) – Lots of example sentences with decent English translations.

Line Dict (Free – Web & iOS) – A popular choice. Lots of example sentences with decent English translations. 

Tatoeba (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – Mixture of Simplified and traditional, without any obvious way of dividing them, which could get frustrating for lower levels. 

Youdao (Web, iOS, Android) – Lots of example sentences with decent English translations.

Flashcard Apps

Pretty much every learning app has SRS flashcard capability built into them nowadays, but having a dedicated SRS to make your own cards is also useful. There is only one I would recommend: 

Anki (Paid & Free Versions – Web, iOS, Android) – The best flashcard app around. Free for desktop and android, paid for iOS and iPad. 

Grammar Guides

Looking at grammar rules can help you ‘click’ with grammar through listening and reading faster than you would have otherwise. 

Chinese Grammar Wiki – Pretty much all you’ll ever need for grammar explanations online. 

HSK Test Preparation

Chinese Test (Free – Web, iOS, Android) – This is where you apply for the HSK test and do practice papers. 

HSChinese (Freemium – Web, iOS, Android) – An online learning platform for Chinese with HSK-based courses. Also, it features Listening, Reading, and Writing practice, a test for your proficiency-level, and exams to test what you’ve learned during lessons. 

Best Resources for learning Chinese Pronunciation

Pinyin Charts:  

Allset learning pinyin chart (Free – Web, iOS) 

Mandarin Blueprint Pinyin Chart (Free – PDF)

Yabla pinyin chart (Free – Web) 


Pin1yin1 (Free – Web) – Converts Chinese characters into pinyin. (Free – Web) – In case you need to know more about the rules of pinyin. 

Speechling (Free – Web) – Get your speaking corrected by native speakers. 

Journaly (Free – Web) – A foreign language journaling platform that helps you improve your language skills through writing and receiving valuable feedback from native speakers of the language you’re learning.

Video Courses

Video Courses to learn Chinese

Chinese Zero To Hero (Paid – Web) Largely based on the HSK, these guys have created a pretty comprehensive selection of courses. 

DigMandarin (Paid – Web) – Lots of cheap courses on a variety of topics. 

Domino Chinese (Paid – Web) – Interesting (and cheap) video courses from as little as $2/month. The presenter is funny and promotes a very laid-back attitude towards learning languages. 

The Mandarin Blueprint Method – Our 100% unique video curriculum can take you step-by-step from zero to literacy and fluency in Chinese in just a few months. We currently have 1,200+ videos, 9,000+ lessons. And, by following our system, you can acquire 3,000+ characters, 11,000+ common words, and pass the new HSK 9 with ease. This is a guaranteed path to success.

Yoyo Chinese (Paid – Web) – Well-produced video courses designed for basic to intermediate levels. 

FutureLearn (Paid – Web) – Video Courses that help you with speaking and writing Mandarin Chinese by learning useful words and phrases, pronunciation, and grammar.

Best Resources for Learning Chinese: Vocabulary Lists

A Frequency Dictionary Of Modern Chinese – This book provides a list of 5,000 words and 2,000 Chinese (simplified) characters commonly used in the language. Based on a fifty-million-word corpus composed of spoken, fiction, non-fiction, and news texts in current use. 

Internet Word Frequencies – A collection of Chinese corpora and frequency lists based on web content. 

Memrise – Phil and myself have both spent many hours on this site. Useful for vocabulary acquisition.

Modern Chinese Character Frequency List – A list of 10,000 simplified characters based on written Chinese. 

SubtleX – CH – Word Frequency List Based On Movie Subtitles

Reference Tools

Arch Chinese (Free – Web) – Great for checking the stroke order and pronunciation of characters and words. Includes a dictionary, flashcards, games and quizzes. 

Hanzi Craft (Free – Web) – Great for learning more about the structure and frequency of Chinese characters and words. 

HanziYuan (Free – Web) – Formerly “Chinese Etymology”, this site delves into the etymology of many characters.

HSK Graphs (Free – Web) – Cool graphs showing how the vocabulary and characters within the HSK connect to each other. 

Outlier Linguistics (Paid – iOS, Android) – A paid add-on for Pleco dictionary.

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