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Chinese [漢語]

Chinese is a language spoken in China, Taiwan, as an official language in Singapore, and by groups in other countries around the world. More than 1 billion people speak Chinese as their first language. We include two major forms of Chinese, Cantonese and Mandarin, though several others are also seen as Chinese languages.

This page gives access to courses for both Cantonese and Mandarin, information about Chinese characters and writing, Chinese/English/Chinese dictionaries, current events, cultural information, grammar, vocabulary activities, tutorials, podcasts & blogs, free and fee-based software and other selected resources.

Courses/Tutorials

Language Courses

Free Cantonese

  • New ! CantoneseClass101
    ‘These podcasts offer a painless and free way to bone up on the language and culture in a relevant, real world way’.
  • Cantonese Lessons
    ‘Sounds and Tones, Grammar, Language, Vocabulary. Grammar and Language Skills lessons build on each other. Vocabulary, Sounds and Tones are more stand-alone. Lessons include sound files’.
  • Updated ! FSI Cantonese Course
    Foreign Services Institute. Live Lingua. PDF books, MP3 tapes, in two volumes.
  • Learn Cantonese
    ‘Information for learning colloquial Cantonese [Yue Chinese] as it is spoken by today’s youth in Hong Kong and overseas communities such as Canada, the United States, Australia’.
  • Learn Cantonese and Putonghua
    ‘Free online lessons with audio, including reading and speaking. Prepared by a native speaker in the language, the lessons begins with the basics’.

Fee-based Cantonese

  • New ! Learn to Speak Cantonese Online
    ‘Enjoy interactive online Cantonese language lessons with some of the best native speaking Cantonese teachers from around the world’.

Free Mandarin

  • New ! Beginner’s Mandarin Chinese
    ‘Giving you a broad foundational grasp of the principles behind Mandarin Chinese’.
  • Chinese Tools
    ‘Learn Mandarin Chinese quickly and easily ! 40 online lessons with audio, including reading, speaking, writing, modern vocabulary, grammar, calligraphy, examples, exercises’.
  • New ! Peace Corps Mandarin Chinese Course
    Live Lingua. Book, 15 audio lessons.
  • Conversational Mandarin Chinese Online
    The Second part for more advanced learners is found here. 30 lessons altogether.
  • Learn Mandarin Chinese
    ‘Our first 10 lessons and accompanying exercises are entirely free to use, so everyone can get started and learn Chinese free. Each contains a multimedia lesson along with fun and challenging exercises for you’. Subscription model for further content.
  • Mandarin Lessons
    ‘Contain many sound files and may take a long time to load’. Covers sounds & tones, grammar, skills, vocabulary.
  • MyChineseLessons
    ‘Learn Mandarin for free. Lessons in written and audio formats, printable flash cards, crossword puzzles, online practice, more’.

Fee-based Mandarin

  • ChineseTeachers.com
    ‘Chinese language with real Chinese Teachers : no more fixed Chinese classes or rigid Chinese lesson plans’. Fee-based. Check different charges to know what is involved.
  • Learn Mandarin
    ‘The full Learn Mandarin course will actually teach you to speak Chinese, skip all of the boring stuff yet give you all of the fundamentals that you need to know’. 50 modules, 3 free to try.
  • New ! Learning Mandarin Chinese Online
    New Concept Mandarin. Multiple options. All include library of video courses, learning tools, dialogue script and audio lesson, review activities and a tutorial or private class.
  • Speak Mandarin
    ‘Learn Mandarin Chinese online, 1-on-1 with certified native-speaking teachers live in Beijing’. Free trial. Tuition is fee-based.

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General Courses

  • New ! Alison - Chinese Language Studies
    ‘We offer courses at both certificate and diploma level. Our courses are free and self-paced, so you can get started straight away’. University of Cambridge.
  • New ! Chinese Basic
    University of Cambridge Language Centre. ‘Focuses on listening and reading skill but it also includes many activities that help learners prepare for speaking and writing’. Free.
  • New ! Chinese Multimedia
    ‘Designed to supplement classroom teaching of Chinese, but can stand alone for use by students studying independently’. Oxford University. Free.
  • New ! Learn Chinese for Free
    Open Culture. ‘Download free audio lessons to your computer or MP3 player and start learning Mandarin instantly’.
  • Free Chinese Lessons and Courses
    ‘We have gathered together free language lessons and courses for those learning Chinese, along with other Chinese language resources, Chinese online newspapers, Chinese dictionaries, Chinese internet radio sites, other sources’.
  • New ! FSI Chinese Course
    Foreign Services Institute. Live Lingua. PDF book, 16 MP3 tapes, audio tape test.
  • Learn Chinese Online
    3 levels of instruction, web radio, conversational Chinese, more.
  • Learn to Speak Chinese
    Free online lessons - Basics, Grammar, Words and Phrases, read and write Chinese Characters, practice and exercises, 10 vocabulary videos, links.
  • Online Chinese Lessons
    ‘The best 1 on 1 live Chinese lessons from Touchchinese.com. Learn online Chinese language and culture, know about Chinese Pinyin and Characters and learn to speak Mandarin Chinese, take one-on-one Chinese lessons online with native teachers’.
  • Yes Chinese
    A small but growing number of lessons provided for free. The basics plus specific language areas.

Tutorials

  • New ! 3D Tutorials
    8 tutorials on different language aspects. Another 8 Active Chinese tutorials are available here.
  • Chinese Tutorials
    Free video lessons on the numbers 1 to 10.
  • Rutgers Multimedia Chinese Teaching System
    ‘Computer based multimedia curriculum to supplement First year, Second year, and Advanced Chinese [Third and Fourth year] language instruction’. Requires Quicktime.
  • New ! Video Tutorials
    ‘Fun interactive videos on topics both for the serious Chinese learner and for those with just a casual interest’.

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Language Tools

Dictionaries

Software

Apps

  • New ! Chinese Letter Academy
    Apple, Free; In-app purchases. ‘Exclusively designed for children to learn stroke order when writing Chinese characters’.
  • New ! Kids Learn Mandarin Chinese
    Android, Free; In-app purchases. ‘Over 10 addicting games that teach key Chinese vocabulary and pronunciation in 12 different word categories’.
  • New ! Learn Chinese [Mandarin]
    Apple, Free. ‘With 8 addictive games designed for essential vocabulary & conversation skills’.
  • New ! LinguPinguin FREE
    Apple, Free. ‘Language-learning app for preschooler’.
  • New ! Monki Chinese Class
    Apple, Free; In-app purchases. ‘A fun app for children that teaches them to write basic Chinese’.
  • New ! Pleco
    Apple/Android, Free; In-app purchases. ‘Integrated dictionary / document reader / flashcard system with full screen handwriting input and live OCR’.
  • New ! Skritter Chinese
    Apple, Free; program is Fee-based. ‘Say goodbye to forgotten characters, tone mistakes, and your pile of flashcards’.

Free Software

  • Chinese Toolbox
    ‘Free software for learning Chinese through reading. Two versions now available, both free’.
  • Desktop Chinese Dictionary
    ‘Chinese to English electronic dictionary for desktops and laptops. Runs under Linux, Mac, Windows [requires java]’.
  • Pablo and Pingrid
    Chinese-English dictionary; a game to train your Chinese Vocabulary.
  • New ! PinyinTones
    ‘Provides a simple way to type Pinyin tone marks into any Windows program’.
  • Step Into Chinese
    ‘A flexible language-mining tool to assist English speakers seeking to understand Chinese language. Flashcards can be created/deleted at any time, and the flashcards, themselves, can be displayed in four different styles. Contains over 26 000 modern Chinese words and concepts’.

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Language Usage

Chinese Characters

  • Animated Chinese Characters
    ‘Animated GIFs show how to draw Chinese characters’.
  • Arch Chinese
    ‘Designed from the start specifically for English speakers who have no or little knowledge of Mandarin Chinese, it offers a rich set of features’. Fee-based.
  • Chinese Characters & Culture
    Development of the written Chinese language, how words are pronounced, Chinese words in Chinese script. Links to language and culture. Multiple pages on a range of related topics.
  • Cracking the Code
    The Learning Federation. Activities to develop understanding of Chinese characters.
  • New ! Fanjian
    ‘Traditional, Simplified Chinese Character tutor’.
  • Kanji
    ‘Learn to read and write Chinese characters that every six year old knows’.
  • Learn Chinese Characters
    ‘Chinese Characters for everyday use. Detailed description of the character, calligraphy, stroke order, origin, etymology, meaning, scripts with examples’. Several lessons to use.
  • Learn How to Read and Write Chinese Characters
    Animated presentation to help understand and use Chinese characters. Simplified and Traditional characters.

Grammar

Pinyin

Vocabulary

  • New ! BBC Schools - Mandarin : Vocabulary
    ‘Activities, games, clips and songs for children learning Chinese ’.
  • New ! Chinese Vocabulary
    ‘About 1 700 meanings carefully selected with the help of word frequency lists to ensure that this list contains only the basic Chinese words’.
  • New ! English Chinese Vocabulary - Themed lists
    ‘Themed word lists - animals, flowers, colours, food. The most frequently used words with Pinyin and English definitions’.
  • Free Mandarin Chinese Flash cards
    ‘Uses simplified Chinese characters [hanzi] and pinyin. Available online and as PDF files. Wordlists cover a wide range of basic concepts, such as colours, animals, fruits, vegetables, vehicles, furniture etc.’.
  • New ! Learn Cantonese
    ‘Helps you learn Cantonese for free through vocabulary, phrases, grammar and flashcards’.
  • New ! Learn Chinese [Traditional] Vocabulary with Word Games
    ‘Enhance your vocabulary by thousands of words classified carefully into the following topics & themes’.
  • Learning Chocolate
    ‘Helps students memorise vocabulary in an easy and efficient way, using pictures, sounds and games. Chinese/Mandarin. Also Japanese vocabulary learning [see menu at the top].
  • Mandarin Vocabulary Guide
    Extensive audio files for all sections. Presented in Mandarin but with English translations either evident or on mouse over.

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Other Information

China Today

News from various sources.

Culture

  • Chinese Culture
    Annotated links to aspects of culture from proverbs to the zodiac. Also access information on Updated ! Chinese Culture [Traditions] here, and the Culture and Traditions section of ChinaToday.
  • Updated ! Chinese Portal
    ‘Introduces important elements of Chinese culture. History, Chinese characters, Chinese sayings, the Chinese zodiac and medicine’.
  • Culture of China
    People, society, language, mythology, health, literature, music, arts, martial arts, fashion, architecture, cuisine, leisure, references, links. Wikipedia.
  • New ! Discovering China
    2 seasons of a series about Discovering China - culture, history, more.
  • Welcome to China
    YouTube video [approx. 9 minutes] covering mostly cultural information. For access to link collections on various aspects of China, try Welcome-to-China which lists collections of these.

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Other Sites

  • Chinese Flagship
    Links covering multiple resources for Chinese including online textbooks.
  • Chinese Language [Wikipedia]
    Spoken and written Chinese, history & evolution, influences, phonology, phonetic transcriptions, grammar, morphology, vocabulary, learning Chinese, references, links.
  • Updated ! Confucius Institute Online
    ‘A wide variety of Chinese learning resources are offered, covering interactive live classes, video & audio courses and Chinese character writing tools, etc.’. Also sections on culture.
  • Digital Dialects : Cantonese
    ‘Features free to use online games for learning languages. Language resources include games for learning phrases, numbers, useful words, spelling, verb conjugation and alphabets. Games use Flash Player’.
  • Digital Dialects : Chinese [Mandarin]
    ‘Click on the links to begin the games for learning the Chinese language. Games use Chinese [simplified] and Pinyin [Roman Alphabet] scripts. Buttons with the round speaker icon indicate games that include audio’.
  • EaseChinese
    ‘A new resource centre not only for all wishing to learn Mandarin Chinese in the easiest and most effective way, but also for teachers and any other stakeholders in the world of Chinese language learning/teaching’.

Education Department Resources

  • Jim Becker’s Chinese Page
    Collection of links for Chinese. Culture, grammar, games, dictionaries, search engines, more.
  • New ! Learning Chinese Online
    Massive collection of briefly annotated links for all things to do with Chinese language.
  • Learning Chinese : Links
  • Mandarin Stars
    ‘Immersion based Mandarin playgroups and classes for children age 1 to 12 years. For more details about our Mandarin Chinese lessons for kids please visit’ the site. Eastern and northern Sydney.
  • Marjorie Chan’s ChinaLinks
    Multiple collections of links from Ohio State University.
  • Wikijunior : Languages - Cantonese
    Writing system used, how many people speak the language, where spoken, history of the language, some famous authors or poets, basic words.
  • Wikijunior : Languages - Mandarin
    Writing system used, how many people speak the language, where spoken, history of the language, some famous authors or poets, basic words, a song/poem/story to learn.

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Podcasts, Blogs, Video Broadcasts

  • April’s Mandarin Podcast
    ‘Listen to Mandarin all the way through ! Transcripts available in pinyin and simplified characters’.
  • Chinese Learn Online
    Online Mandarin Course. More than 150 lessons. Sample Lessons are free but all others are Fee-based.
  • Chinese Lessons with Serge Melnyk
    ‘Learn Mandarin Chinese with theme-based, progressive, easy to follow lessons’. Fee-based.
  • ChinesePod
    ‘Daily podcasts, lesson review, guidance from experts’. 3 000+ lessons. Fee-based, but trial period available.
  • CSL Pod
    ‘Chinese the Chinese Way’. Sign up to get free access to basic lessons. Other material, assistance is fee-based.
  • iMandarinPod
    ‘In each podcast, we introduce a topic about Chinese culture or what is happening today in China. We are not teaching a pure language; we are teaching Chinese by introducing Chinese culture in a real circumstance’.
  • Popup Chinese
    800+ lessons podcast archives, video archives, Chinese stories, more. Fee-based for Premium access.
  • Practice Chinese
    ‘Original and useful posts to learn Chinese, written by Chinese teachers from all around the world’.
  • World Learner Chinese
    Free Public Course podcasts. Other courses and materials are fee-based.

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