This is a community-maintained list of resources for learning Mandarin Chinese.

Alphabetical Index

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  • 23
    Few people ever realize, that it's not about the resources. It's how you use them. Most of those shiny ipad and smartphone apps are useless toys. Apps don't learn Chinese, it's you who need to make the efforts, which no app can replace. Computer aid hardly makes language learning any better. The only thing in this context a computer can help you is getting access to target language media. The rest is mostly just (commercial) products you don't need. You most likely download and install way more stuff than you can use and profit from. Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 14:00
  • 5
    @KovácsImre I disagree. Apps provide extremely valuable help for reading that open up many new possibilities. See for instance hackingchinese.com/… Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 9:08

15 Answers 15





See also Dictionaries.

Example sentences

Flashcards and Writing


General learning


Multimedia lessons



(There's also multiple text-to-speech websites like TextToVoice and TTSmp3 which seem to all use the same API.)

Translation and OCR

Web tools


Browser Add-ons


There are also many browser highlighters available (too many to list; Google it), which enable you to highlight and save text for later review.

Popup dictionaries


Software for learning



Language Exchanges

Websites to find language exchange partners, tutors, teachers; people will meet in person or talk online and help each other learn each others' respective languages.




  • Hanping Chinese Dictionary Pro 汉英词典 (Android; $US 2.99) includes handwriting recognition, native speaker audio, stroke animations, example sentences, idioms, HSK words, etc. More functionality via in-app purchases, e.g. Hanping Camera ($US 9.99) and Hanping Chinese Popup ($US 9.99).

  • Pleco (iOS; Android) free dictionary with example sentences; many additional features e.g. OCR via in-app purchases.

  • Ponddy Chinese Dictionary (iPhone).

Flashcards and Writing


  • 酷狗唱唱 (iPhone; QQ) is a Chinese karaoke app which gives you a score based on your singing.

  • NiHao! (iPad; $US 4.99) grammar and puzzle game.

  • Word Swing (iOS; Android) is a choose-your-own-adventure text adventure game (paid version required for full access).

General learning


Reading and Listening

Translations and OCR

  • There used to be a reading app known as Decipher but I think it has aged away. The website has some remaining parts.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Commented Sep 2, 2020 at 12:04
  • Incredible Chinese is now called Polyvox and is available on the Play Store and App Store Commented Oct 20, 2023 at 3:21


You can find many such podcasts by searching for Chinese on e.g. Spotify or Tune In

(YouTube channels are listed under social media.)


Online Courses




See also Chinese textbook grammar index at the Chinese Grammar Wiki.


  • Yong Ho, Beginner's Chinese, 2010. Amazon.

  • ShaoLan. Chineasy Everyday: Learning Chinese Through Its Culture, 2016. Amazon. (Now available as an app).

  • Kan Qian, Colloquial Chinese: The Complete Course for Beginners, 2015. Amazon. Texts, exercises, grammar highlights, etc.

  • Jiang Liping, HSK Standard Course (HSK标准教程), ~2018. Amazon: HSK 1; 2; 3; 4上; 4下5上 and 5下; 6上 and 6下. Answers are available from BLCUP, specifically 1; 2; 3; 4上; 4下; 5上; 5下; 6上; 6下. The workbook answers are available from 1; 2; 3; 4上; 4下; 5上; 5下; 6上; 6下.

  • Yuehua Liu et al., Integrated Chinese: Simplified Characters Textbook, Level 1, Part 1 中文听说读写, 2008. Amazon; Cheng & Tsui.

  • Yong Ho, Intermediate Chinese, 2013. Amazon.

  • Peking University, Modern Chinese: A Basic Course, 1971. Amazon.

  • Liu Xun, New Practical Chinese Reader, 2004. Amazon.

  • James W. Heisig and Timothy W. Richardson, Remembering Traditional Hanzi and Remembering Simplified Hanzi, 2008+. Amazon: T1, T2; S1, S1; Nanzan T1, T2; S1, S2. A method for memorizing Chinese characters without their pronunciation. (See also: a fan-made dataset for simplified characters.)

  • Yuonne Li Walls and Jan W. Walls, Using Chinese - A guide to contemporary usage, 2009. Amazon.


  • Muhammad Wolfgang G. A. Schmidt, All the Grammar and Language Points For Each Of The Six Levels of the Chinese Language Proficiency Test (HSK), 2018. Amazon.

  • Yip Po-Ching and Dan Rimmington, Chinese - An Essential Grammar, 2006. Amazon.

  • Charles N. Li and Sandra A. Thompson, Mandarin Chinese: A Functional Reference Grammar, 1989. Amazon; Google Books. Only pinyin (no characters).

  • Claudia Ross and Jing-heng Sheng Ma, Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide (Modern Grammars), 2014. Amazon.

  • Dejin Li and Meizhen Cheng, A Practical Chinese Grammar for Foreigners (外国人实用汉语语法), 2008. Amazon. Bilingual (English and Chinese); characters only.

  • Claudia Ross, Schaum's Outline of Chinese Grammar, 2004. Amazon.




Image search provided by Baidu, Bing, and Google can be used as a visual dictionary. Many dictionaries are listed at Dictionaryphile.

Removed items

  • Bkrs (mostly in Russian) (removed for copyright reasons, see comments to the answer here).

  • nciku Line Dict



  • ABC dictionary - available as a paid-for add-on in Pleco. Gives parts of speech and rates homonyms by frequency of usage. See also this answer.

  • Hanping Chinese Dictionary Pro 汉英词典 (Android; $US 2.99).

  • Pleco (iOS; Android) free dictionary with example sentences; many additional features e.g. OCR via in-app purchases.

  • Wenlin. Non-introductory versions start at $US 2.99 per month.

Many dictionaries are downloadable from HuZheng.org.

Downloadable plain text files

  • CC-CEDICT (Wiki) online, downloadable (as opposed to searchable-only) public-domain Chinese-English dictionary

  • SUBTLEX-CH: Chinese Word and Character Frequencies Based on Film Subtitles. Includes part-of-speech information.



Graded readers

(Note: Fig. 7 in Loach (2017) analyzes the difficulty of Mandarin Companion and Sinolingua.)


Also note a Reddit /r/chinesebookclub post sorts Chinese novels by difficulty (results). The YouTube channel Kuo’s Audiobooks has readings of Harry Potter novels.


Social Media




YouTube channels (native content useful for learners)

YouTube channels (teaching)

In addition to YouTube, there is also Bilibili, iQiYi, iXiGua, TuDou, and YouKu.


Lists of Resources


Online Tests

How many characters do I know?

How many words do I know?

How many chengyu do I know?

How fast can I read?


AI chat bots

Note: some of these are merely different interfaces for ChatGPT; some of these are paid services; the Chinese services likely require a Chinese ID or phone number; many are unavailable in various locations.

There's also Bing Chat and MOSS which I haven't gotten working yet.

There's many other AIs which output Chinese (too many to list). Many of which are not especially useful.

Visual-GLM can generate Chinese text given an image and a prompt.

Designed for language learners (includes Mandarin)

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