The Master List of Chinese Resources: 1000s of Options at Your Fingertips
Here’s a master list of our favorite Chinese resources—the best of the best!—recommended by our team of real language learners.
You’ll find everything from digital learning resources like apps and courses, to more traditional fare like flashcards and textbooks.
Plus, we’ve included all our favorite Chinese movies, music and podcasts to keep your learning experience fresh, fun and authentic.
- Chinese Apps
- Chinese Audio Resources
- Chinese Video Resources
- Chinese News Resources
- Chinese Reading Resources
- Chinese Writing Resources
- Chinese Speaking Resources
- Chinese Lessons and Courses
- Resources for Chinese Exercises and Quizzes
- Resources for Learning Chinese with Other People
- Other Miscellaneous Resources
- And One More Thing...
As someone who learned Chinese the old-fashioned way, I have to say that Chinese apps offer a completely different and refreshing learning experience!
I did learn a lot as a kid in the classroom, but the class itself wasn’t as engaging as it could have been. Now you can learn in the comfort of your own home or wherever in the world you may be!
Now you have so much freedom in your language journey, and that’s all thanks to Chinese apps. Whether you choose to learn through media apps or Chinese learning apps—or perhaps both—this section has a variety of resources for you.
Chinese Media Apps
Apps for Learning Chinese
Chinese Audio Resources
For the longest time, my husband couldn’t say anything in Chinese. I’d teach him some words, but they definitely went into one ear and out the other.
And then one day, just as I was about to tell our cab driver that he could just stop at the gate, my husband said 这里就可以了 (zhè lǐ jiù kě yǐ le) or “Here is fine.” I was so surprised and so proud of him at that moment!
It felt more natural for him to learn by listening to and watching the interactions that I would have with locals.
So if you’re anything like him, then you’re best taking advantage of the native Chinese listening resources listed below.
Learning with Audio
Chinese Video Resources
I love the wealth of options for online Chinese learning materials—video resources, in particular.
Although I was lucky enough to grow up in Shanghai and be physically surrounded by Mandarin, my all-time favorite way of learning Chinese was watching imperial dramas on local channels with my mom.
Of course, we didn’t really have much of a choice at that time since we didn’t have cable yet. But in this digital age, we now have access to all sorts of Chinese movies, dramas, cartoons, variety shows and even video games to top up our Mandarin skills.
Chinese TV Shows
Chinese Video Games
YouTube and Other Online Videos
Chinese News Resources
Doesn’t matter if it’s in English or Chinese, the news can be pretty heavy and not as lighthearted as other learning resources.
Nonetheless, it’s still a great opportunity for learning Chinese, whether you want some talking points in your conversations with native speakers or to pick some sports vocabulary from articles on current events.
And if learning with the news seems too advanced for you, feel free to leave it on in the background. You never know how much Chinese you’ll actually pick up, even when you’re not fully paying attention to it. Since news presenters enunciate, you’ll at least get to listen for pronunciation.
Chinese Reading Resources
Reading is just as important as any other Chinese language skill, but the key to reading as a learner is reading out loud.
I remember as a kid, I would read 小鱼 (xiǎo yú) or “small fish” correctly in my head. However, every time we would read a story in class out loud, I would switch the tones and say xiáo yǔ instead. It’s a subtle difference, but it demonstrated a disconnect between what I’d read and how I’d communicate it.
So when you find that novel or short story you like, don’t forget to read it out loud. The same goes for Chinese example sentences in textbooks and dictionaries!
Other Reading Materials
Dictionaries and Translation Tools
Chinese Writing Resources
For a long time, I was such a traditionalist when it came to Chinese writing practice.
I was hellbent on the idea that the only way to cement hanzi into your brain is with a pen (or pencil) and paper. It wasn’t until I returned to China seven years later that I realized how incapable I was of Chinese typing.
While handwriting practice is a necessary component for learning Chinese, you also have to look at the bigger picture. Unless you’re attending in-person classes or taking the HSK, you’ll probably spend more time typing in Chinese rather than putting pen to paper.
From handwriting games to grammar checkers, Chinese keyboards to handwriting practice printouts, we’ve got a bunch of great guides to help you develop your writing skills.
Chinese Speaking Resources
Scripted Chinese dialogues can be helpful as a guide for basic conversations, but you also have to consider the source.
Written dialogues in textbooks show correct grammar usage, though they tend to be too formal for the everyday setting. Popular Chinese variety shows like 快乐大本营 (kuài lè dà běn yíng) or “Happy Camp” give you a taste of the language spoken in real life, yet aren’t that helpful for building the foundation for Chinese conversation.
So, where do you begin?
The guide is an excellent place to start, with helpful phrases that you can use in almost any conversation as a beginner.
Chinese Lessons and Courses
Having flexibility and freedom in your learning journey is all well and good, but some learners prefer to have some guidance.
Maybe you like structure. Maybe you don’t have the luxury to forge your own path. Either way, this section is filled with lessons and courses that will improve your Chinese language skills.
As much as I love unconventional learning materials, every now and again I return to Chinese grammar sites and open courses to review or learn themed vocabulary. I might not be the biggest fan of learning Chinese in a classroom setting, but I do like having a sense of structure.
Courses We’ve Tested and Reviewed
Resources for Chinese Exercises and Quizzes
Before you panic, let me tell you now that this section isn’t going to be filled with quizzes that test you on 20 new words per week. Nor does it include resources that make you have oral dictations in front of the entire class.
What a nightmare those oral tests were for me.
Chinese exercises and quizzes are an integral part of the learning experience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of fun as you put your skills to the test.
In fact, we’ve found tons of learning tools online that are approachable, motivational, and dare I say, entertaining!
Resources for Learning Chinese with Other People
Now, what’s the point of learning Mandarin if you aren’t actually going to interact with other people?
It can be pretty daunting talking face-to-face with the locals. I was flustered when I had to open up a bank account here. Unfortunately, my Chinese classes in elementary and middle school didn’t prepare me for adult situations, like errands at the bank.
To build up your confidence in those situations, you can practice in less intimidating spaces, such as Chinese social networking platforms like Weibo and WeChat. Foreign exchange events like language meetups are very warm and welcoming for all levels of learners. But if you aren’t quite ready for either, you always have the option of a tutor.
Other Miscellaneous Resources
If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, I’ve got this one last section for you.
Looking for more authentic Chinese resources to help you sound as natural as possible? Check!
Seeking more tools to keep you organized and on track to fluency? You got it!
Or perhaps you’re on a budget and searching for free Chinese learning platforms? No problem!
I, myself, am a huge fan of free apps. That way, I can experiment with different Chinese resources without the pressure of commitment.
And that’s a wrap! All of that should be plenty for you to choose from, no matter your goals or skills. Just remember to have a variety of resources to round out your Chinese language education!
And One More Thing...
If you want to continue learning Chinese with interactive and authentic Chinese content, then you'll love FluentU.
FluentU naturally eases you into learning Chinese language. Native Chinese content comes within reach, and you'll learn Chinese as it's spoken in real life.
FluentU has a wide range of contemporary videos—like dramas, TV shows, commercials and music videos.
FluentU brings these native Chinese videos within reach via interactive captions. You can tap on any word to instantly look it up. All words have carefully written definitions and examples that will help you understand how a word is used. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.
FluentU's Learn Mode turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you're learning.
The best part is that FluentU always keeps track of your vocabulary. It customizes quizzes to focus on areas that need attention and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a 100% personalized experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)