Recently, my wife has been learning to program JavaScript using Codecademy. I like how it walks people through exercises step by step, and builds up concepts, etc. All the marking is automated, and there are hints available so you never get stuck. It allows multiple different answers which have equivalent meaning (so, it's not as simple as just fill in the blank).

I'd like to find something equivalent for learning/practicing written Chinese. Does such a thing exist? If so, where can I find it?

(I'm also hoping for characters [Simplified], rather than Pinyin).

4 Answers 4


i think Duolingo can be helpful with this, even if I occasionally misspell a letter in a word, it doesn't award a mark deduction.

and this book 图解汉字 (ISBN 9787511367099) but it all written in Chinese. i dont know which level you are at,so you d better search for the book's interior images before deciding whether to choose it.


I know multiple people who have used duolingo, it is not the best choice. this is because it is a cookie cutter app to multiple languages, most are very different from chinese. however there are other apps like hello chinese that are basically the same thing but much more accurate since they are genuinely geared towards chinese specifically.

Adding this answer for anyone seeing the revived question :)


I once made letslearnchinese.org. The apps on this platform will help Chinese language learners build up concepts, especially about characters. It won't walk you through exercises step by step, but it does give hints.

Let me show you the concepts needed for learning Chinese characters. If you'd like to practice these concepts, try letslearnchinese.org. You can get started with strokes for free.

  1. Strokes.

There are about 28 strokes. Just like the alphabet consists of 26 letters, Chinese characters consist of only 28 strokes. Some people argue there are a little more, some a little less. That's because sometimes a stoke gets deformed based on its place inside a character. Some people count deformations as new strokes, some don't:

All Chinese character strokes

All Chinese characters are composed out of these strokes. Our app will show you a character and a stroke. If you can find the stroke inside the character, you can trace/draw it on the character. It works especially well on the phone. It will teach you in what direction to draw the stroke too. If you make a mistake, the app will show you how to draw the stroke on top of the character. It's free, you do need to make an account, though. Otherwise, keeping track of your progress using spaced repetition is impossible.

We wrote a book about it too. Download it here for free: https://letslearnchinese.org/file-downloads/?secret=2bae52bfb3b335eeb25dea53e2bafa7bce0879f2c7e5616273dba9b2268326fc1cf84b15abeb1f8b

  1. Character components.

Most people tell you about radicals only. But actually, there are two kinds of character components: radicals, and what we call "single characters." Both radicals and single characters are components seen inside Chinese characters repeatedly. The difference is that radicals don't mean anything. They're just that, components. But single characters are characters on their own and thus have meaning. When a single character acts as a component inside a Chinese character, it'll sometimes even hint about its pronunciation. If you know these 100 components, you'll recognize about 80% of all Chinese characters:

Chinese character components

You can find single characters in blue and radicals in brown. These are only the most common character components, not all. We advise learning the most common components first. Because you'll be able to learn full characters sooner, when you spot a not-common component later on, you'll easily recognize it anyway since you know all the strokes. This way, you'll learn faster.

Our app will show you a component and a character. The components are missing from the character. You need to draw the component inside the character. The app gives hints about stroke order and direction.

If you're familiar with Chinese pronunciation at this point, you can now start memorizing Chinese characters. They will look familiar to you now because you know the strokes and components of the character. You need to match the characters with pictures (meaning) and sound, and that's it!

Try to learn the most common characters first. Multiple characters together can be used to form words. Our third step teaches the 400 most common Chinese character characters. These characters can be used to create around 1600 words!

That's a little how-to on how to build up concepts when learning Chinese. Letslearnchinese.org might not be as extensive as Codecademy, it's extremely difficult and time-consuming to create, but it would be a great next step!


To memorize characters and pronunciation you can use Memrise, which will help you to learn by repeating words you've missed during the previous learning session.

However, you won't learn any grammar or usage, just words. So it is not a complete solution, but a good help to expand your vocabulary.

It is not as feature complete as Codeacademy but I don't think that what you are looking for exists (yet).

If I were you, I would keep an eye on Duolingo, which does not yet provide Mandarin but should in the future. UPDATE: Duolingo now does.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.