Online Resources for Learning Chinese

It used to be that there were few resources available online for learning Chinese. Now there are so many that it can be hard to separate the good from the bad. Through extensive experience learning Chinese, creating Chinese content at ChinesePod, and consulting at AllSet Learning, I’ve come to rely on certain resources which really stand out. You’ll find them here.

Lessons by Podcast

  • ChinesePod – the original award-winning podcast that inspired all the imitators continues to deliver the best podcasts for learning Mandarin [subscription required]

Pinyin

Pronunciation

Listening

Chinese Characters

  • Skritter – the best online resource for practicing writing
  • Chinese Character Etymology – tons of images covering the entire history of a character’s evolution
  • Zhongwen.com – a hierarchical ordering of characters based on their composition

Chinese Dictionaries

  • Pleco – only partially free, but worth the money (for iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile)
  • Hanping – the best free dictionary for Android devices
  • MDBG – a popular free online dictionary
  • nciku – perhaps the most popular free online dictionary
  • Jukuu – a database of sentences with part of speech data on words
  • Wenlin – desktop software (Mac or PC) that uses the acclaimed ABC Dictionary

Chinese Grammar

Reading Tools

  • Wenlin – a great program for Windows and Mac; paste in the Chinese text and have access to easy character readings, dictionary lookups, character info, and more
  • Chinese Perapera-kun – the most popular Firefox add-on for adding popup-style readings to characters on any webpage
  • Zhongwen – a simple Chrome extension for adding popup-style readings to characters on any webpage

Writing/Composition

  • Lang-8 – write whatever you want and get free feedback from the community

Flashcards

Blogs

  • Sinosplice: Language (if you follow only this category, all content is related to learning Chinese)
  • Sinoglot – a blog on linguistic issues surrounding Chinese and its many dialects/languages
  • Chinese Hacks – Traditional Chinese, tech, software, comics, and learning methods
  • Hacking Chinese – In-depth discussion of issues facing learners of Chinese
  • East Asia Student – a student’s take on learning Chinese, Japanese, and more
  • Sapore di Cina – an Italian learners’s practical suggestions for mastering Chinese
  • LaowaiChinese – thoughts on learning Mandarin
  • Pinyin News Blog – academic examination of pinyin in action

Note that this page is not meant to be a list of all materials for learning Chinese; it is a filtered list of personal recommendation based on my own experience. If you’d like to suggest a resource for this list, please contact me.

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