Nowadays it is difficult to imagine our life without smartphones. They help us communicate with others through calls, messages, social networks and various apps. When we have a phone with us, we feel more secure. With a help of various apps we can do things more efficiently and get any needed information in just a few seconds.
What about learning Chinese? Are there any useful apps for studying this foreign language? The answer to these questions is definitely YES. The list of available apps for studying Chinese is extensive. Some apps are designed to learn grammar, writing while others concentrate on building new vocabulary. They are usually free to use and you only need to pay for more advanced studying features. In this article we provided a list of some of the best apps for learning Chinese.
Learners who are interested in learning Chinese writing and reading, should definitely consider trying Skritter app. This app features vocabulary lists from various textbooks. They are listed based on learning level, popularity and alphabet. In total Skritter covers hundreds of textbooks that feature up to 10 thousand characters and 400 thousand words. Both simplified and traditional characters are supported by Skritter.
When using Skritter users need to handwrite characters each time (from scratch). While it might seem as not very fun activity to do, it is necessary for practice. Also this app does a great job at teaching the right stroke order.
Some other useful features of Skritter app is ability hear pronunciation of words. Audio files are done by native Chinese speakers. Hence you can be sure that you will hear good pronunciation. The app also gives possibility to learn offline. Once you are connected to the internet again, all your activity will be synced.
Skritter app does a great job at keeping track of users progress. Users can check how many new characters were introduced, practiced and even memorized. By following your progress closely, you will be more motivated to study and improve your results.
It is possible to install and try Skritter app for free. Trial period is for the first week (7 days) and later on you will need to select one of paid plans. Monthly price of Skritter is 14.99 USD and you can get yearly subscription for 99.99 USD.
Drops app is designed to make foreign language learning a fun and effortless experience. Users of this app learn new content through mini-games and memorable graphics. At the moment Drops support up to 32 foreign langues and Chinese is one of them. It is also possible to choose from two dialects – Mandarin and Cantonese.
The best use of Drops app is to learn new Chinese vocabulary. As it is possible to hear pronunciation of vocabulary, this app can improve speaking skills as well. Learners who intent to learn Chinese grammar or writing should look for alternative apps.
Users of this app can expect to be introduced to approximately 100 different topics. Vocabulary covers food, numbers, drinks and various other topics. In overall Chinese learners can expect to learn up to 1700 new words.
Unlike most similar app, Drops uses clean illustrations (icons and animations) rather than images. This works quite well, because there are no distractions in the pictures. Consequently it not too difficult to determine the meaning of words.
Activities in this app are divided into short sessions of approximately 5 minutes. Hence a common excuses that there is no time for studying and etc. will not work for Drops app. By dedicating very limited time each day you will learn new vocabulary and be able to progress with Drops effectively.
Learners who don’t like typing will definitely enjoy studying via Drops. When completing different activities you will only need to swipe or tap. Hence there is no typing involved with this learning app.
Drops app is available for both Android and iOS devices. There is both free and paid version of this learning app. There are options to choose monthly, yearly and lifetime membership. Depending on the plan you will select, paid membership prices varies between 2.99 USD to 189.99 USD.
LingoDeer is still quite new language learning app. So far the main focus of this app is Asian languages, hence it is available for Chinese. The app is available not only for English, but also for German, French and Spanish speakers. It includes mini courses that are aimed for fast learning. The app includes up to 150 short lessons. By completing them, learners can expect to learn up to 2000 Chinese words.
The main focus of this app is introduce learners to vocabulary, basic grammar and sentence structure. LingoDeer provides detailed notes on grammar. So you will be able to learn more efficiently and you will not need to do any guessing. Pronunciation of words is done by native speakers. Hence it is possible to learn correct Chinese accent and pronunciation via LigoDeer.
Different activities challenge users to match pictures with words, select from multiple choice answers, order a sentence, spell and etc. Variety of exercises is larger when compared with similar learning apps. Hence learning Chinese with LingoDeer is engaging and not monotonic experience.
Other useful features of this app is ability to study without WiFi. You can download some lessons and use them for learning offline. To test users, LigoDeer also has quizzes. There is also Target Training functionality, which revises questions you got wrong previously. Hence you can work on Chinese areas that were more difficult for you.
The app is completely free to install and use. There is also an option to upgrade your account, which costs 11.99 USD (monthly) – 159.99 USD (lifetime).
4. Hello Chinese.
Hello Chinese is beginner friendly app offering to learn Mandarin in engaging and effective way. Users of this app can expect to improve their pronunciation, learn new vocabulary, Pinyin, grammar basics and character stroke order. By completing all activities in Hello Chinese, users can expect to achieve conversational level in Mandarin.
This learning app can be particularly helpful for improving speaking skills. This is because it comes together with speech recognition feature. It works by recording learners pronunciation and later on it is being measured. Not only does it encourage users to speak out load, but also it corrects pronunciation. All recordings in the app are done by native speakers. So you will hear correct Chinese accent and pronunciation.
Hello Chinese focuses on daily life situations and topics. Hence it is possible to learn mostly essential Chinese vocabulary from this app. Also game type of activities in Hello Chinese are based on HSK levels. Usually it takes up to 10 minutes to finish one lesson. So it is not necessary to dedicate much time for this learning app daily.
This app supports both Pinyin and characters (simplified and traditional). Hence you can select which of these writing systems you prefer to be displayed. Hello Chinese also features advanced handwriting technology, which allows writing characters by using your finger. Furthermore this app explains components and radicals of each character. All this helps users to learn Chinese writing easier and more efficiently.
The main Hello Chinese course is free to use. Nevertheless there is an option to purchase premium membership. It provides users of this app with supplementary learning games. Paid membership price varies based on length – 3.99 EUR (monthly) or 154.99 EUR (lifetime).
Pleco can be categorized as Chinese / English translator or dictionary. By using this app you can quickly look up the meaning of any Chinese word or character. Instead of using Pinyin, it is possible to simply hand-write the character and it will be recognized by the app.
When using Pleco, it is possible to get the meaning of unknown Chinese word by using your camera. Hence this app can be especially useful when traveling to China. You can use this feature to translate menu when ordering food or understand written signs. The app can be used offline, which is useful when traveling in foreign country.
It has some useful features such as handwriting recognition, stroke order, example sentences and others. This dictionary also has audios with pronunciations. You can even select speakers genre (male or female). Hence by using Pleco you can learn how to say Chinese words correctly as well.
Pleco can also work as a text reader. You can copy any Chinese text and later on paste it to Pleco text reader. This way you will get translation and pronunciation of each word in this text.
Pleco also has flashcard functionality. You can make new flashcards by using dictionary entries or simply import lists of vocabulary. This way you can learn and repeat Chinese words that are essential for you.
This app can be installed and used for free. Nevertheless free version gives only limited functionality of some features. Hence for full experience, it might be worthwhile to consider paid version of Pleco.
6. Hello Talk.
Looking for a way to practice your Chinese speaking skills? Hello Talk can be very useful learning app for this purpose. With Hello Talk you will not find any lessons or flashcards. Instead it works like exchange app, helping learners to find language partners from millions of users.
When using this app you will be paired with native Chinese speakers. Of course in exchange you will be helping other users who want to learn English or other foreign language. Communication with other users happens through audio, voice or text messages.
When communicating with native Chinese speaker, you can use the app to translate all received text into English. This can be a useful feature when you don’t understand something. There is also a transliteration option available. What it means is that you can use Hello Talk app to convert Chinese characters into Pinyin.
One quite useful feature in Hello Talk is called moments. It allows users to post public question that will be visible to all native speakers of your target language. Hence you can find out more about language, culture and even get some traveling tips directly from native speakers.
Without any Chinese knowledge, communication with native speakers might be not very effective. Hence it is best to consider installing Hello Talk once you get familiar with Chinese language. The app is free to install and use. Nevertheless users who want more features can choose to upgrade their account for a small additional price.
Whenever discussing language learning apps, Memrise is one of the most commonly mentioned apps. It is available for many foreign languages, including Chinese. The app can be suitable learning tool for complete beginners and also intermediate learners.
When using Memrise app, users can expect to do various different activities. These include learning games, grammar lessons, practice conversational Chinese, listen to pronunciation audios, do quizzes and etc. Hence Memrise is useful app for practicing different areas of Chinese.
Most mini courses in this app are created by users themselves. Due to this you can expect a large variety of topics from this app. Some lessons might tech you characters, while others might introduce colors or even slang words. The fact that majority of learning content is created by users, means that it was made by someone who already learned this. Hence the content is presented in a way to make learning Chinese easier and more efficient.
Memrise can be used both online and offline. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices. Also it is completely free to install and use. Paid version with more content and learning features is available as well. The price for monthly subscription is 8.99 USD and yearly – 59.99 USD. From paid version of Memrise users can expect more learning modules, ability to practice with native Chinese speakers, more personalisation and etc.