- Pleco: iOS and Android Dictionary. The best one-stop resource for Chinese in my humble opinion, and the creator, Mike Love is very quick to respond to questions you might have. They’ve been going longer than the iPhone, in the days of palmOS so they know what they’re doing.
- Hanping Chinese Dictionary : If you’re on Android, you probably want to check out this app. The ability to tag words, have widgets on your home-screen for daily review, and a great OCR system makes Hanping one of the best Android specific dictionaries out there.
- MDBG: Great desktop dictionary for quick definitions. Fast loading times, and orders words based on HSK ranking which is handy for working out which one is said most commonly (in the Mainland at least).
- Nciku: More in depth dictionary but slower to load. Lots of example sentences and some good resources like ebooks.
- Tatoeba: Excellent resource for example sentences in many, many languages. You can easily export these to Anki or Evernote etc for review.
Podcasts are a great way to learn languages without too much effort and can be done while on the bus, washing up, or even in the shower.
- ChinesePod: The grand daddy of all Chinese resources. They’ve been in the business a long time, and now have something like 3000+ lessons, so you can pretty much go from complete beginner to fluent master as long as you’re willing to put the hours in. Best when it comes to diversity and interesting content.
- Mandarin Chinese Lessons with Serge Melnyk which can be downloaded on iTunes, or you can check his website. These are great podcasts which are excellent for beginners, but will slowly build you up until you are doing quite advanced Chinese. Uses native speakers from both China and Taiwan, as well as his slowed down version to make it a great resource for Chinese.
- Pleco: See above.
- Anki: iOS/Android/Web/Desktop. The best flashcard software out there, hands down. Uses science to work out when to show you the next card, just before you forget it based on the forgetting curve, discovered by Hermann Ebbinghaus in the 19th Century (Wikipedia). Works on all devices, although it’s hard to optimise to make beautiful cards. I might share some tips here eventually and even some of my decks if there is interest.
- AnkiApp: Similar to Anki. You can use your Anki decks, as well as Quizlet’s huge database. The app is nicely designed and very quick and works across all of your devices. If Anki is too expensive for you on iOS, then definitely go get AnkiApp.
- Memrise: iOS/Android/Web: Learn Chinese characters with handy mnemonics. (traditional character support not great). People upload cool pictures that morph into Chinese characters. A sexier, more fun way of learning although Anki if more efficient, and efficacious.
- Skritter: Web and iOS app. The most beautiful app on the App Store (in my opinion). Learn how to write Japanese and Chinese characters with correct stroke order and helpful mnemonics and example sentences It uses an SRS algorithm for smart learning. They offer a free trial and then a paid subscription model. Once you stop your subscription you can continue reviewing the words you’ve added, for free, which is great. This is an affiliate link which means I will earn a small commission if you sign up via my website).
Books and Websites:
- Chinese-Course.com – This website offers free daily/weekly email flashcards and example sentences. Great for if you want to keep your eye in and practice each day. Available in over 14 languages, you’re sure to find your language of choice there
Speak Mandarin in 500 Words – Free PDF Book: The Taiwanese Ministry of Education provides this free ebook to give you the basics of Chinese. Download it here:
- Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide: Well laid out and easy to understand book. This is a great reference book to check up grammar points. (Amazon link –no affiliation)
- Practical Audio Visual Chinese Books 1-5 (PAVC): This series of textbooks will take you from an absolute beginner to pretty advanced. Difficult to get hold of outside of Taiwan, but it is the standard book used to teach foreigners here in Taiwan. Somewhat dated (maybe 10 years or so) but still very relevant, and it does a great job of scaffolding, teaching you new words in a logical sequence. Purchase from Eslite or Lucky Bookstore in Taipei.
- ChinEASE ebook: Master Chinese Writing: This ebook was written by my good friend Aaron, and you can see my specific post about it here. I get an affiliation for this, but I only ever recommend something that I think is worth it.
- Chinese Grammar Wiki from AllSetLearning: A free grammar resource that is organised using the European framework of fluency to easily look up grammar points based on your level.
- Chinese Grammar Guide by Hugh Grigg: Similar to the above link, and an excellent resource to clarify grammar points that you haven’t yet understood fully.
- About.com, Mandarin Chinese: Easy to understand. Has lots of interesting articles.
Blog / Websites
Sinosplice.com: From John Pasden, the same guy behind ChinesePod and the Chinese Grammar Wiki. Lots of cool and interesting articles, particularly about SRS learning.
Hackingchinese.com Want to learn Chinese quickly? This blog will help find shortcuts to becoming a Chinese master. He has done a degree (in Chinese!) in teaching Chinese to foreigners so he knows what he’s talking about.
Movies and Video
PPS: iOS/Android/Desktop: Watch Chinese/ Western movies and TV shows, for free.
FunShion: Same as above. Slightly better range of movies
YouKu: Youtube, but in China.
FluentU: Takes videos, adds subtitles, and makes it easy to look up definitions and add to flashcards.
Shooter.cn: Search for Chinese subtitles. Want to watch Game of Thrones but also practice your reading? Find the subtitle file, check which source they ripped it from, and download the movie/TV shows (not recommending to do this).
People I Like:
Chinese with Mike: great free resource and fun entertaining video series, now in it’s 3rd season.
The Mimic Method: Breaks down languages into its component parts and helps you learn via music and rap.