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Chinese

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

Cantonese

  • Cantonese Basic Course
    Foreign Services Institute. PDF documents, mp3 tapes for audio presentations, in two volumes.
  • Cantonese Lessons
    ‘Sounds and Tones Lessons, Grammar Lessons, Language Skills, Vocabulary. The Grammar and Language Skills lessons build upon each other, while the Vocabulary and Sounds and Tones are more stand-alone. Lessons include sound files’.
  • Chinese Flagship
    Links covering multiple resources for Chinese including online textbooks.
  • 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
    This site has a range of ‘Free online audio lessons, including reading and speaking’ as well as a range of fee-based tuition.

Mandarin

  • Chinese Tools
    ‘Learn Mandarin Chinese quickly and easily ! 40 online lessons with audio, including reading, speaking, writing, modern vocabulary, grammar, calligraphy, examples, exercises. All texts and dialogues in mp3 format’.
  • ChineseTeachers.com
    ‘We want to offer a refreshing approach in learning the Chinese language with real Chinese Teachers : no more fixed Chinese classes or rigid Chinese lesson plans’. Fee-based. Check different charges so you know what is involved.
  • Conversational Mandarin Chinese Online
    The Second part of this [for more advanced learners] is found here.
  • 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’.
  • Free Mandarin Chinese Flash cards
    ‘Use both simplified Chinese characters [hanzi] and pinyin, and are available both online and as PDF files. The wordlists cover a wide range of basic concepts, such as colours, animals, fruits, vegetables, vehicles, furniture etc.. New flash cards are added all the time’.
  • Learning Chocolate
    ‘Welcome to Learning Chocolate ! This web site aims to help students to memorise vocabulary in an easy and efficient way, by using pictures, sounds and games. Try our games and enjoy learning, like eating chocolate’. Chinese/Mandarin. Also allows for Japanese vocabulary learning [see menu at the top].
  • 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 about Chinese to have a solid foundation ’. 50 modules, 3 of which are free to try. Plans covering audio presentations, video presentations or intensive learning.
  • Learn Mandarin Chinese
    ‘Our first 10 lessons and accompanying exercises are entirely free to use, so everyone can get started and learn Chinese free. Now everyone can enjoy a fun and easy introduction to learn Mandarin Chinese. Each of our chapters contains a multimedia lesson along with fun and challenging exercises for you to show off your newly acquired prowess in Mandarin Chinese. We also have a glossary which serves as a useful reference for the new words and phrases in each chapter. No sign up required’. There is also a subscription model for access to further content.
  • Mandarin
    From Infoplease.
  • Mandarin Chinese [BBC]
    ‘A lively introduction to Mandarin Chinese in 10 short parts. Follow our introductory online video course in Chinese’.
  • Mandarin Lessons
    ‘Contain many sound files and may take a long time to load’. Covers sounds & tones, grammar, skills, vocabulary.
  • Mandarin Vocabulary Guide
    Extensive audio files for all sections. Presented in Mandarin but with English translations either evident or on mouse over.
  • MyChineseLessons
    ‘Learn Mandarin for free. Include complete lessons in written and audio formats, printable flash cards, crossword puzzles, online practice, more. Start today and you’ll be speaking Mandarin Chinese in no time’.
  • Speak Mandarin
    ‘Learn Mandarin Chinese online, 1-on-1 with certified native-speaking teachers live in Beijing’. There is a free trial but the actual tuition is fee-based.

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General Courses

  • Chinese Language Program
    Characters, courses, readings, resources, more. University of Southern California. Has audio and animation as part of the process.
  • Chinese Scholar
    Learn Chinese via tutorials, games, music, Dragon’s Tales [literature], poetry. News, resources, culture, proverbs, idiom spotlight, picture spotlight, more.
  • Conversational Chinese Online
    15 units developed by an American university. Link to NJStar Communicator Software for viewing characters.
  • Free Chinese Lessons
    ‘Has a unique method that teaches reading, writing, speaking at the same time. Starting with the very basics, this site is open to anyone with no previous knowledge of Chinese. Each lesson contains instruction on proper pronunciation, character recognition, writing Chinese’.
  • 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’.
  • Languages of China
    Dictionaries, several forums, downloads of material, links.
  • 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, multimedia, links.
  • Learning Chinese
    28 lessons for learning Chinese. Done as conversations, showing Chinese and English interpretations.
  • Standard Chinese : A Modular Approach
    ‘Designed to give a practical command of spoken Standard Chinese. Nine situational modules form the core of the course. Each core consists of tapes, student textbook, workbook. In addition to the core modules, there is a resource module, eight optional modules’. Foreign Services Institute.

Tutorials

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Language Tools

Dictionaries

  • Fast Track Chinese
    ‘Fast Track Chinese is a tool for learning Chinese language vocabulary. It integrates a vocabulary trainer with dictionary and learning material. We offer a free version, and a subscription version with more learning material’.

Software

  • 2000 Hanzi Software
    ‘Learn simplified or traditional Chinese characters or skip the characters, turn on pinyin and learn how to speak Chinese’. You can also try the original Chinese Hanzi Software page for this. Fee-based but quite reasonable.
  • Belenet Chinese [Pinyin]
    ‘Belenet Chinese combines learning, quizzes and games while making a perfect integration of listening, speaking, reading and writing. We hope Belenet Chinese can make Chinese learners increase their vocabularies by arranging some effective practices and mastering the Chinese language more easily’.
  • Boost your Chinese with Freeware Pablo and Pingrid
    Chinese-English dictionary and a game to train your Chinese Vocabulary. Download both.
  • New ! Chinese Characters
    ‘Learn Chinese Characters Using Our Optimised Learning Sequence’. Free trial available though the whole program is fee-based.
  • Chinese Practice
    ‘Free flashcards, reader, dictionary software to help you learn Chinese language’.
    Very Good.
  • Chinese Toolbox
    ‘Free software for learning Chinese through reading. Two versions are now available, both still free’.
  • New ! Chinese Vocabulary
    ‘Build a mega Chinese vocabulary using our simple vocabulary building tool’. Free trial available though the whole program is fee-based.
  • Declan Software
    Chinese Language Learning Software. Primary/Secondary
  • Desktop Chinese Dictionary
    ‘Chinese to English electronic dictionary for desktops and laptops. Runs under Linux, Mac, Windows [requires java]. Add your own definitions, submit them for inclusion in future dictionary versions’.
  • DrDo™ Chinese Multimedia Language Software
  • Google Pinyin
  • Hàn Shū Lite
    ‘A novel and effective learning tool for reading and writing cursive Chinese words. The application allows students to practice their Chinese writing and pronunciation outside the classroom’. Fee-based but quite reasonable.
  • How To Choose Chinese Learning Software
    ‘If you don’t know what exactly you are looking for, you will be easily mislead and get overwhelmed. Today, I’m going to share my experience of choosing the right software with you’. Also has other Chinese topics.
  • Lin Lin Teaches Mandarin [Australian]
    Basics of Mandarin.
  • NJStar Communicator
  • Skitter
    Skritter replaces flashcards. Chinese and Japanese characters. Fee-based.
  • Step Into Chinese
    ‘Step Into Chinese is a flexible language-mining tool to assist English speakers seeking to understand Chinese language. Flashcards can be created/deleted by F5/F6 keys at any time, and the flashcards, themselves, can be displayed in four different styles. The application data structure contains over 26 000 modern Chinese words and concepts, corresponding to over 8 300 separate Chinese characters’. Scroll down to find the program listing.
  • Tai Hao Le ! Learn Chinese
    Primary.
  • Talk Now ! Learn Cantonese/Mandarin
  • Tell Me More Chinese [Mandarin]
  • Wenlin Institute Software for Learning Chinese
    Dictionary, flashcards, more.
  • WM-Dict
    ‘Language dictionaries that could be used both on a computer and a mobile PDA. Imagine sitting at home and using your computer to rapidly translate words. Imagine being somewhere out of house needing to translate something. You pull out your PDA or Windows Mobile phone and look up the word for an accurate translation’. Supports Chinese/English, Chinese/German, Chinese/Serbian.

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Language Usage

Chinese Characters

  • Animated Chinese Characters
    ‘Learning Chinese ? Animated GIFs show how to draw Chinese characters’.
  • Arch Chinese
    ‘Online Chinese character learning tool for Mandarin Chinese language learners. Designed from the start specifically for English speakers who have no or little knowledge of Mandarin Chinese, it offers a rich set of features with a slick and easy-to-use user interface’. Small fee for membership, but well within the scope of most people.
  • Chinese Character Dictionary
    Search using 4 different methods [Pinyin, English, Character, Cantonese], print results. Having Chinese fonts installed would assist.
  • 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.
  • FAQs
    If you want to know anything about Chinese characters, try here.
  • Chinese Chat
    Use Pinyin Chinese using a combination of dictionary and chat. You only need what is on the site.
  • Chinese Symbols Database
    Meanings for Chinese characters.
  • Cracking the Code
    The Learning Federation. Activities to develop understanding of Chinese characters [also Japanese characters].
  • Kanji
    ‘Learn to read and write Chinese characters that every six year old knows’.
  • Learn Chinese Characters
    ‘Chinese Characters for everyday use. Chinese writing. Teach yourself how to write it. Detailed description of the character, calligraphy, stroke order, origin, etymology, meaning, scripts with examples’. Part of the Chinese Tools site.
  • Learn How to Read and Write Chinese Characters
    Animated presentation to help understand and use Chinese characters. Covers both Simplified and Traditional characters.
  • Pinyin.info
    A Guide to The Writing of Mandarin Chinese in Romanisation. ‘Aimed at contributing to a better understanding of the Chinese languages and how romanisation can be used to write languages traditionally associated with Chinese characters’. Readings, rules, tools, systems, other links.
  • Some Basic Rules
    For Writing Chinese Characters. Simple rules plus a character chart.
  • The Most Common Chinese characters
    In Order Of Frequency. 3 000 listed, each with character, pronunciations, explanations.
  • Writing Basics
    ‘Chinese writing is non-alphabetic and non-phonetic. The meaning of a character can be learnt without knowing its pronunciation’. Pronunciation, writing basics, character strokes, more.

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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. You can also access information on aspects of Chinese Culture [2] via this link and through the Chinese Culture and Traditions section of the ChinaToday site.
  • Chinese Portal
    Language resources, news, culture, China today, links.
  • Chinese Seal/Chop Engraving
    Thinkquest. ‘A web site contributed to learn about seal creation, word evolution and lots of information relating to Chinese culture’.
  • Culture of China
    People, society, language, mythology, health, literature, music, arts, martial arts, fashion, architecture, cuisine, leisure, references, links. Wikipedia.
  • Index China
    ‘Guide to China’s past, present, future. Information, links for daily news, arts, economic, business, culture, recipes, history, medicine, politics, religions, travel, agriculture, import and export, pictures, maps’.
  • Study More Chinese - Learn Mandarin Community
    ‘Study More Chinese is a social network of Chinese learners. Users can write blogs, share videos, photos & start discussions, all about learning Chinese. There are more than 250 pages uploaded by users already’.
  • Welcome to China
    YouTube video [approx. 9 minutes] covering mostly cultural information. There is access to other videos from the menu on the right. 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

  • Jim Becker’s Chinese Page
    Collection of links for Chinese. Culture, grammar, games, dictionaries, search engines, more.
  • China Stories
    ‘Videos about the real lives of 8 very different people’. From BBC Scotland. Part of a larger site covering Chinese aspects.
  • Chinese Resources
    Links to Online Chinese Language Schools, teacher Resources.
  • Chinese Language [Wikipedia]
    Spoken and written Chinese, history & evolution, influences, phonology, phonetic transcriptions, grammar, morphology, vocabulary, learning Chinese, references, links.
  • Chinese School Online
    ‘Whether learning Chinese is a labour of love or a daunting necessity, we will create a course that allows you to progress with ease, speak with confidence and embrace the Chinese language’. Fee-based.
  • 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’.
  • e-Asia Digital Library
    Of major interest is the e-books section where you can select the country of interest [e.g. China]. Also images, audio, maps, a database, toolkit.
  • Mandarin Stars
    ‘Mandarin Stars offers immersion based Mandarin playgroups and classes for children age 1 to 12 years. We offer 90 minute Mandarin playgroups for children age 1 to 5 years and 1 hour Mandarin classes for children age 5+ at our After School Clubs and Weekend Language Learning Clubs. For more details about our Mandarin Chinese lessons for kids please visit’ the site. Eastern and northern Sydney.
  • Land of Links - Chinese
    Extensive listing of briefly annotated links to sites for the learning of Chinese.
  • Languages Online
    Victorian Education Department. ‘Resources for language teachers and students. Downloadable Game Maker templates enable teachers and students to build their own multimedia games and activities using any language installed on your computer.’. Covers multiple languages including Chinese.
  • Learn Chinese Online [2]
    ‘A platform to learn Chinese and experience Chinese culture. We provide supporting materials to make learning Chinese FUN and EASY. There are four courses in our elearning programs. Our Chinese language learning materials as well as our cultural resources are designed for students of all levels. We provide materials in the following formats : wmv, mp4, mp3 Flash, PDF’. Part of the Confucius Institute.
  • Learning Chinese : Links
  • Learning Chinese Online Page
    Pronunciation, conversations, grammar, reading materials, dictionaries, online translations, tests more. Also try a second link page.
  • Learning Chinese Web Sites
    Links covering resources from software to culture.
  • Lingo24 ContexTrans
    ‘Free tool allows you to search for real-world translations of a word or phrase between two languages. Results derived from high-quality human translations and allow you to see the context in which the words are used in a foreign language, helping you choose the most appropriate translation. English/Chinese and Chinese/English’.
  • Marjorie Chan’s ChinaLinks
    Extensive collection of links from Ohio State University. Also links to several other pages of links about China and Chinese language.
  • nciku
    Provides a dictionary [English, Pinyin, examples, idioms], conversations, vocabulary lists, themewords, tools, more. A bit haphazardly set out but the content is worthwhile using.
  • New South Wales HSC ONLINE - Chinese
    While for the HSC, it provides revision on all aspects of senior secondary Chinese.
  • 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’.
  • Online Chinese Tools
    ‘Rather than being a Chinese language course, it provides tools to people who are already studying and using Chinese’. Free software including flashcards, dictionaries, find your Chinese name.
  • Speak Chinese Easy
    ‘This site is set up as a resource and a helper for people who want to learn how to speak Chinese. You can find free resources here and reviews of some [of the] best Chinese courses available today’.
  • Welcome to the Chinese Online Resources
    ‘The Chinese resources consist of Scenarios, Explorers, Space Voyage games and Teachers Resources. Australian Government. Years 5 to 8. ’
  • Wikijunior : Languages - Cantonese
    Writing system used, how many people speak the language, where it is spoken, the history of the language, some famous authors or poets using the language, basic words in the language.
  • Wikijunior : Languages - Mandarin
    Writing system used, how many people speak the language, where it is spoken, the history of the language, some famous authors or poets using the language, basic words in the language, a song/poem/story to learn in this language.
  • Updated ! Years 1-10 Languages other than English
    Sourcebook modules. Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority. Information on Updated ! Chinese for Years 11-12 is found here.
  • Yes Chinese
    A small but growing number of lessons provided for free. These cover the basics plus specific language areas.

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Podcasts, Blogs, Video Broadcasts

  • April’s Mandarin Podcast
    ‘Listen to Mandarin all the way through ! Transcripts are available in pinyin and simplified characters’.
  • Chinese Learn Online
    Online Mandarin Course. More than 150 lessons. Lessons are free though you can subscribe to a premium version.
  • Chinese Lessons with Serge Melnyk
    ‘Learn Mandarin Chinese with theme-based, progressive, easy to follow lessons’.
  • ChinesePod
    ‘Free daily podcasts, lesson review, guidance from experts’. 800+ lessons. Fee-based, but trial period available.
  • CSL Pod
    ‘Chinese the Chinese Way’. Sign up to get free access.
    You need to be able to log in to access this site.
  • iMandarinPod
    ‘Designed to help people improve their Chinese. In each podcast, we introduce a topic about Chinese culture or what is happening today in China. We are not teaching a pure language [yes, we do explain vocabularies, phases, sentences and grammars in each podcast]; we are teaching Chinese by introducing Chinese culture in a real circumstance’.
  • Learn Mandarin
    580+ lessons. Lesson archive, vocabulary area, Learning Centre. Check regarding costs for this.
  • Learn Mandarin Chinese Podcasts
    ‘A well-done podcast and video podcast for advanced beginner to intermediate level Mandarin Chinese learners. Updated about every week’. Link to a Mandarin Blog.
    You need to be able to log in to access this site.
  • Learning Mandarin Podcast
    ‘Resources for you to use when you feel like something new and random. It’s very simple and there is no translation, all in Chinese except a bit of English at the beginning and the end’.
  • One Minute Mandarin
    ‘This course covers the absolute basics of Mandarin. The course introduces the listener to basic greetings, introductions, numbers, language problems and common words and phrases’.
  • Popup Chinese
    ‘Learn Chinese with 800+ Chinese lessons … Lesson, tools, how to learn Chinese’.
  • Practice Chinese
    ‘Original and useful posts to learn Chinese written by Chinese teachers from all around the world’.
  • Video Clips of Survival Chinese
  • World Learner Chinese
    Free podcasts with other resources under one of two subscription levels, though prices are cheap.

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