6 Chat Platforms to Learn Chinese with Chatrooms and Chatbots
Technology has created endless opportunities when it comes to language learning, and chat software is only one of them.
When it comes to Chinese, there are so many options available when it comes to chatrooms, chatbots, etc. that are sure to help you practice and improve your language skills.
We have put together a list of the six most useful resources that will allow you to chat to learn Chinese in a fun and engaging way!
- 1. 小冰
- 2. Mondly
- 3. Eggbun
- 4. ChineseDAO via Discord
- 5. LingQ
- 6. HelloTalk
- Why You Should Chat to Learn Chinese
- And One More Thing...
小冰 (xiǎo bīng), a.k.a. Xiaoice, is a Microsoft-designed artificial intelligence chatbot initially designed to market to Chinese users of the social media service Weibo.
While it wasn’t designed specifically for teaching Chinese to native English speakers, this app is extremely useful for advanced Mandarin learners.
This chatbot has the most basic chatbot features possible. It’s entirely text-based, and only 汉字 (hàn zì) or Chinese characters can be used to “talk” to Xiaoice. The chatbot will learn about the person conversing with it and will be able to have more fluid, natural conversations over time.
Xiaoice is free to use and available on multiple platforms, including Wechat and Weibo.
This app is loaded with features, one being the chat-with-AI function to improve fluency. Mondly also provides daily lessons, an online dictionary, speech recognition technology, an Augmented Reality feature and much more.
The more you “play” the game on Mondly by doing lessons and practicing with the AI chatbot, the further you progress through the app and gain advancements.
If you tend to find language learning apps boring and need something with a bit more entertainment value, you should definitely give Mondly a shot.
All levels of learners can benefit from using Mondly, as one can easily set their current learning level before trying the app out.
Mondly is available in the iTunes App store and Google Play store. It’s free to use, but premium features are available.
Eggbun is an app promoted as “an automated language tutor in your pocket!” Not only is the interface of this app super adorable, but it’s packed with features as well.
For no cost, you can enjoy Eggbun’s word quiz features, listen to native speaker audio clips to help with listening skills and learn about different Chinese cultural facts. The main feature, of course, is the chatbot feature.
This chatbot is set up in a typical SMS chat setting, where you can answer the chatbot’s questions in English, 拼音 (pīn yīn) known as “Chinese romanized characters” or hanzi. The chatbot will start off with easier pinyin-based phrases in the conversation and work up towards more advanced phrases.
This chatbot is ideal for beginner and intermediate learners, as advanced learners may be a bit disappointed by the lack of advanced conversation. The app is free to download and use, but you have the option to buy premium lessons.
Eggbun for Chinese is currently available on iPhone devices.
4. ChineseDAO via Discord
Discord is a chat app that allows for audio and text communication between users on any particular channel. Discord is popular in the gaming community, but the ChineseDAO Discord channel is a great place to check out if you want to improve your Mandarin.
This Discord channel has multiple voice rooms, text rooms and a private messaging system. Chinese learners of any level can use this Discord channel to chat with other learners and even native speakers.
While this app may not be designed specifically around teaching Chinese, it is a great resource to take advantage of engaging in authentic Chinese conversation (and it’s free).
It may be wise to brush up on Discord lingo and tags to really maximize your use of the app as well.
You can download Discord on iOS or Android.
LinQ is one of the most innovative chat apps on our list. With LingQ’s range of features, you can chat with the confidence that you’re actually building your skills as you go.
That’s because there’s a heavy emphasis on vocabulary and comprehension plus the ability to converse with native speakers.
There are thousands of hours of audiobooks, podcasts and lessons for you to listen to and read. As you work through the content you’ll save new words for practice later and LingQ will automatically track your progress.
When you’re ready for some conversation, you can use the “Exchange” feature to schedule a conversation with a Mandarin-speaking tutor for a time that’s easiest for you. Best of all, you’ll get a conversation report afterwards so you’ll know where you stumbled and how to improve.
You can also participate in the LingQ forums for more informal chat practice. This app is great for learners of all levels, but you will need to pay for a premium subscription to really get anything out of it, although there is a free trial available.
You can download LingQ on iOS or Android.
HelloTalk is gaining some serious popularity around the net, for good reason! This smartphone app connects you with either a native Chinese speaker trying to learn English or another Mandarin learner above your level.
Text, audio and video are all utilized in chat room-style conversation. When each party says or writes something in a particular language, the other party can edit and correct the sentence or phrase for accuracy.
You can also communicate with the entire community via public posts, where you can ask language questions and share updates on your Mandarin journey.
There are over 10 million users on HelloTalk currently, so you’re guaranteed to make a friend or two! HelloTalk is free to use and set up. This is a great resource for any learner as you can learn from those more advanced than you and even help those that are below your level!
HelloTalk is available for download on iOS and Android.
Why You Should Chat to Learn Chinese
- It’s like having a Mandarin tutor. Think of it as having a Mandarin teacher or possibly a native Mandarin-speaking friend available in many ways. Whether it’s a chat room with native speakers or a chatbot, you will have a way to practice Chinese with someone there to help you.
- You can use chatting to supplement your other language learning methods. Chatting is not an all-encompassing method to learn a language, so use these resources alongside other learning programs. For example, the videos on FluentU can help balance some of your other language skills, as well as give you insight into Chinese pop culture and natural language as shown in the media to boost your Chinese chatting.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
- It exercises your 拼音 and 汉字 skills. Getting the hang of using Mandarin keyboards online and chatting in real-time with others using Chinese characters is just as important as learning how to listen and speak in Mandarin.
- You can practice multiple skills at once. Many of the chat resources mentioned have multiple functions like texting, speech and even video recording so you can benefit from listening, speaking and writing Mandarin.
- Some chatbots have AI specially designed to teach Mandarin. It may seem a bit strange communicating with an AI chatbot, but many chatbot apps are crafted specifically to improve your language skills. Even those that aren’t intended for learners can be helpful, especially for advanced learners.
- You can make new friends to practice with. Chatrooms for Chinese and English learners can facilitate friendship, which makes for more opportunities to use your Chinese language skills. Casual, spontaneous conversation is the absolute best way to gain fluency, and Chinese chat rooms can help you make a Mandarin-speaking friend to have these types of conversations with.
- You can learn authentic language. Whether you’re making lifelong friends or just popping in now and again for some quick chat practice, talking with native speakers will help you go way beyond textbook Chinese. You’ll pick up tons of Chinese internet slang from native chat partners, and you’ll absorb the natural rhythms and structures of communication in Mandarin.
Chinese chatting platforms are a great way to practice your Mandarin outside of traditional learning methods.
We’re sure you’ll find at least one awesome resource on this list that you’ll use for much of your Mandarin learning journey!
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.)