23 Best Free Chinese Resources To Learn Chinese [2023 List]
Welcome to the ultimate guide for Mandarin learners!
If you're eager to master the intricacies of the Chinese language, you're in the right place. This article presents the 23 best free Chinese resources for learning Mandarin in 2023.
Let's embark on an exciting journey of language discovery and cultural immersion as we explore the wealth of tools and platforms available to make your Mandarin learning experience effective and enjoyable.
Get ready to unlock the mysteries of this fascinating language and open doors to new opportunities!
Chinese resources to help memorize Hanzi
Memorizing Chinese characters is one of the most important aspects of learning Chinese.
To fully learn Mandarin, recognizing Chinese characters is a must. Thus, memorizing Hanzi is one of the most important aspects of learning Mandarin.
Here, we provide you with the top 2 memorizing Hanzi candies to help you do so.
Pandanese’s Chinese character flashcard review mode
Pandanese is the perfect application to help you memorize Chinese characters. It focuses solely on radicals, characters, and vocabulary building to increase your proficiency in Chinese.
Combining the Spaced Repetition System (SRS) and mnemonics will help you enhance your memorization capabilities and build a strong foundation for understanding Chinese characters and vocabulary.
Whether you're a beginner or looking to improve your language skills, Pandanese is your ideal companion for mastering Chinese.
Anki is known for its spaced repetition system. Many people use Anki for anything, and learning Chinese vocabulary is one of them.
There are many Chinese Anki decks to use, and they are customizable, where you can add additional images, videos, and audio.
One major drawback is that every deck is different. Some might have example sentences, just pinyin, just Hanzi, etc. But don't let that stop you from creating your own deck.
Chinese listening resources
Honing your listening ability to comprehend spoken Chinese will improve your language proficiency.
With regular practice, you'll gain confidence in understanding spoken Chinese and unlock new opportunities for language growth. Let's embark on this exciting journey of enhancing your listening comprehension together!
Mandarin speaking podcasts
There are plenty of Chinese podcasts for to learn the Chinese language, culture, history, and other interesting insights.
3. Slow Chinese Podcast: 慢速中文
Slow Chinese-Learn logo
Slow Chinese is created by a team of enthusiastic individuals who are not professional Chinese teachers but are 100% Chinese. And while they do not guarantee the correctness of word choice or grammar, they provide local lingo and insights into various aspects of Chinese culture and society.
They regularly discuss daily life, traditions, and culture and give their opinions. Slow Chinese-Learn is a side podcast that breaks down parts of the Chinese language. So, it makes itself accessible and beneficial for language learners at various proficiency levels.
While listening to the podcast, you can tell that everything is said at a slower pace. But this slower pace allows listeners to follow more easily, grasp the pronunciation, and understand the context of the narrative.
Slow Chinese’s episode is less than 5 minutes, and Slow Chinese-Learn’s is about 15 minutes, a perfect Chinese listening practice for busy people.
ChinesePod offers a vast library of audio lessons catering to different proficiency levels, covering various topics.
It focuses on practical, real-life conversations. So by listening to these dialogues and discussions, you will be exposed to the natural sentences, common expressions, and colloquialisms commonly used in everyday Chinese communication.
Their topics range from everyday scenarios like ordering food or asking for directions to more in-depth discussions about culture, history, and current events. This variety ensures you can expand your vocabulary and understanding of Chinese culture and society.
ChinesePod has several spin-off podcasts, from Learn Chinese Podcast, ChinesePod-Beginner, ChinesePod-Intermediate, and ChinesePod-Advance.
5. Talk Chineasy
Talk Chineasy is an innovative podcast that combines Mandarin learning with visual aids and stories to make language acquisition fun and effective.
Each episode explores a different Chinese character or topic and provides cultural insights and real-life examples to enhance your understanding of these themes.
The host, ShaoLan, presents the content as approachable and friendly, making it suitable for learners of all levels. This podcast lets you practice your listening skill to get used to natural Chinese speech patterns, tones, and intonations.
6. 大鹏说中文—Speak Chinese With Da Peng
大鹏说中文-Speak Chinese With Da Peng logo
For the most advanced listeners, this podcast is perfect for you.
Speak Chinese with Da Peng provides practical dialogues and language exercises, enabling learners to practice what they've heard in a structured and interactive manner. The host, Da Peng, engages listeners with lively discussions and language-learning tips, making the experience both enjoyable and educational.
Every episode is between 6-20 minutes, depending on the topic. You can definitely fit an episode into your schedule.
Chinese radio stations to listen to
Listening to Chinese-speaking radio stations is a great way to improve your Chinese listening skills and immerse yourself in Chinese content. Check out these radio stations, whether it’s the news, music, or a talk show.
7. MyTuner Radio
MyTuner Radio page
MyTuner Radio is a popular online radio streaming service that provides access to thousands of live radio stations worldwide, including Chinese radio stations.
You can search and filter specific stations, such as music genres, specific regions, or tracks.
Chinese speaking resources
To perfect your communication abilities even more quickly, conversational practice with native speakers can be incredibly helpful.
Luckily there are many resources available providing that opportunity.
Apps to talk to native speakers
HelloTalk app logo
HelloTalk is a language exchange app that connects language learners with native speakers worldwide. Whether you want to learn traditional or simplified Chinese, there are native speakers willing to help you.
Once you have connected with someone, you can start talking to them via voice message or video. Don’t stress out about speaking perfectly. The main point is to convey your ideas to the person you're talking to.
Tandem is another language exchange app that will pair you up with language partners for mutual learning. Whether you're interested in teaching Chinese or learning it, Tandem connects you with native speakers of any language. Chinese lessons can occur in any conversation you will have.
You can chat, call, or video chat with native speakers to practice speaking and improve your language skills. It encourages natural and spontaneous conversations, enabling learners to experience real-life communication and cultural exchange.
Chinese reading resources
From reading Mandarin articles, blogs, and Chinese forums, get ready to immerse yourself in diverse content that will expand your vocabulary, improve your comprehension, and deepen your understanding of Chinese culture.
These resources will help you read in Chinese with confidence.
10. Chinese news websites
Sina News home page
There are news sites that will provide current news in Chinese. These websites include:
This Chinese news can help you stay updated on current events while improving your language skills. However, since these don’t organize the articles by HSK level, you can try apps such as Todai Chinese: Learn Chinese to find the right article level for you to read.
11. Chinese online forums:
百度知道 (Baidu Zhidao) home page
Platforms like 知乎 (Zhihu) and 百度知道 (Baidu Zhidao) offer a wealth of user-generated content on various topics, from technology to literature, providing exposure to authentic written Chinese. We have a dedicated article looking at different Chinese forums for you to try: Top 9 Chinese Forums To Use To Learn Mandarin Chinese.
12. HSK Reading
HSK Reading is a great website that divides its articles into different HSK levels. Find the right level for you, pick an article that interests you, and read! Everything is in Hanzi, but hover your mouse to see the pinyin and its meaning.
At the end of the article, it will give you a very short multiple-choice quiz to test your reading comprehension.
13. Chinese Reading Practice
Chinese Reading Practice page
Like HSK reading, Chinese Reading Practice provides a fun and interactive way to practice reading Mandarin sentences. You can choose your reading level or browse their 11 different topics to find something you want to read.
The passage is in Hanzi. Over your mouse to see the pinyin and its meaning. At the right, you can toggle the English translation to self-test your reading comprehension.
14. My Chinese Reading
My Chinese Reading page
My Chinese Reading is very similar to the other two Chinese reading practices. It offers Chinese reading but also beginner Chinese dialogues and Chinese music lyrics for you to read through.
Before you read anything, they have a small excerpt and keywords to help you understand the passage.
Chinese writing resources
15. Use Chinese character practice sheets.
Generate your own character practice sheet with Purple Culture
There are many printable character practice sheets for you to download and print.
Our favorite is Purple Culture’s Chinese Practice Worksheet Generator, as you can customize whichever character you want to practice writing.
Need help deciding which character to practice? There are many Chinese writing workbooks to use. If you are a complete beginner, try Chinese Writing Workbook: First 100 Words.
16. Write in a daily journal.
Once you know more Chinese words and vocabulary, you can start practicing your Chinese grammar and sentence structure.
Don’t know what to write? It can be about anything! Write down your thoughts and what you did today, or use writing prompts for something more creative.How to start writing in a journal | Dina Lu
You can even have a small section for any new Chinese word you learn.
Need someone to check your grammar? Check out the next two resources.
17. Check your grammar online.
You can post your writing on any language exchange app or online writing community.
Many people will correct your grammar to a more correct or local phrasing. This feedback will help improve your grammar and get some practice in writing in Chinese.
Mandarin Chinese Reference Tools
18. Chinese online dictionaries
Pleco app page
The two biggest online Chinese dictionaries include YellowBridge and MDBG. They offer different ways of searching English-to-Chinese, Chinese-to-English, and features like stroke order animations, pronunciation, and example sentences.
19. Chinese Grammar Guides
Chinese Grammar Wiki site
The Chinese Grammar Wiki is the number one site to help with Chinese grammar. You can get a detailed explanation, examples, sentences, and exercises to understand Chinese grammar's intricacies better.
They also offer their Chinese Grammar Wiki BOOK on Amazon for more comprehensive explanations of these grammar points and example sentences.
20. Pinyin-Hanzi converters tools
Our favorite converter tool for Pinyin-to-Hanzi is Pinyin Input, where you can type in Pinyin and pick the equivalent Hanzi. Our favorite Hanzi-to-Pinyin tool is the Chinese Converter, where you paste your Hanzi with 6 different pinyin outputs.
Both tools have a super simple interface to flip-flop from either input. But if you want to learn how to type Pinyin on your phone, laptop, Mac, window, etc., we have an article all about that: Type in Chinese: How to Type in Pinyin with Tone Marks.
Customizing Your Device
Customizing the learning experience is necessary for Mandarin Chinese learners to achieve your personal goals and interests. Consider changing the device’s language to practice your Mandarin.
21. Download language browser extensions.
Browser extensions such as Zhongwen, LiuChan, and Toucan allow you to make learning Mandarin on your browser 10x easier. Zhongwen and LiuChan are both pop-up Chinese character dictionaries for web pages, while Toucan can help you learn new words in context while browsing the internet.
These tools aid with translating words from one language to another or converting between traditional and simplified characters in the Chinese language.
22. Use Chinese search engines.
There are region search engineers such as:
These search engines allow you to search in Chinese, find relevant Chinese news and Chinese videos, and discover content that may not be as easily accessible on the current search engine you are using.
It can help you immerse yourself in the local internet culture and stay up-to-date with current events and trending topics within the Chinese-speaking world.
23. Change your device display language.
If you're serious about learning Chinese or want to immerse yourself in the language, changing your device's display language to Chinese can be an effective way to practice and reinforce your language skills.
Most modern smartphones, computers, and tablets offer the option to switch the display language, and it's a simple yet powerful step in your language-learning journey.
The general steps are to: Go to your (general) settings ⇒ Language & Region. Here you can change your device to Chinese (traditional or simplified) and add a Chinese keyboard to your typing.
Take a look about the history of Chinese font designs of how they came to be: A Condensed History of Chinese Font Design For The Computer
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best resource to learn Chinese?
There are many free resources to learn Mandarin. Pandanese will help you memorize Chinese characters. It is also important to immerse yourself in Chinese, such as speaking to a native speaker and practicing your listening, reading, and writing skills.
Can I learn Chinese for free?
Yes, you can learn Chinese for free! Numerous online resources offer comprehensive learning materials and tools to help you acquire the language without spending any money. There are language learning apps like Duolingo, communication apps like HelloTalk, and Hanzi memorization software like Pandanese that will help you learn Chinese for free.
Though they have additional features for you to try, many free Mandarin Chinese resources can be used without spending a penny.
Where can I learn Mandarin Chinese?
Pandanese can help you memorize Chinese characters and build up your Chinese vocabulary. Using this software with language communication apps, forums, and online sites to help you be exposed to the Chinese language will help you learn Mandarin Chinese quickly.
To successfully learn Mandarin Chinese, utilizing free Chinese resources such as apps, podcasts, radio stations, and other reference tools is imperative.
Immersing yourself in the language by reading materials in Chinese is also crucial for successful learning, along with customizing your experience to suit you best.
Lastly, practicing consistently will get you well on your way to mastering this beautiful language and being able to speak it confidently!