Time to turn your binge-scrolling time on Twitter into Chinese learning time.
We’ve got 10 super interesting, smart and fun Twitter feeds that’ll bring you everything from daily vocabulary lessons to insights on Chinese slang and idioms.
Let’s find out how Twitter can become an important new part of your Mandarin study regimen.
- What Should I Look For in a Twitter Feed to Learn Chinese?
- 10 Twitter Feeds You Can Follow to Learn Chinese
- @DecryptChinese (Decipher Characters)
- @HackingChinese (Olle Linge)
- @FluentUChinese (FluentU Chinese)
- @zhlearning (Chinese Learning)
- @withoutdoing (Liz Carter)
- @SayitinCH (Say It in CH)
- @HFLearnChinese (HaveFunLearnChinese)
- @ChineseMeHQ (ChineseMe)
- @VocabChinese (LearnChineseWords)
- @ChineseWithMike (Chinese with Mike)
What Should I Look For in a Twitter Feed to Learn Chinese?
- Lots of activity. What’s the point in following a Twitter account if they rarely or inconsistently post? A Twitter account that’s regularly posting, at least once a week, will keep your learning fresh and your motivation up.
- All of the translations. A good feed will feature Chinese romanization, 拼音 (pīn yīn), and Chinese characters, 汉字 (hàn zì), as well as English translations.
If you’re an intermediate or advanced learner, just the latter two will do. But for the beginner, understanding pīn yīn and having those romanized terms available are necessary for learning and growth when it comes to Mandarin Chinese.
- A focus on language content, rather than other subjects. Multi-themed blogs are cool and all, but if you want to learn Chinese, it doesn’t make much sense to follow an account that posts Chinese subjects every once in a while but mostly posts about fashion or food otherwise. For active language learning, stick to the strictly Mandarin Chinese language feeds.
Of course, an exception here would be feeds that post about all kinds of topics in Mandarin. This can provide an immersive way to learn.
- Links to useful resources, such as new blog posts or infographics. Translations and lesson plans are very helpful for learning Mandarin. However, a Chinese language Twitter feed that also posts eye-catching infographics, videos and other media can make language-learning more exciting.
10 Twitter Feeds You Can Follow to Learn Chinese
@DecryptChinese (Decipher Characters)
The original form of 申 was a zigzag lightning shape, the original form of 電
— Decipher Characters (@DecryptChinese) February 21, 2017
Decipher Characters is a Twitter feed that’s full of blog posts, Mandarin Chinese translations and Chinese thought pieces from around the internet.
If you want to know more about the history of certain Chinese characters, you’ll find this account to be very interesting.
Decipher Characters also posts slice-of-life comics that relate to learning new languages for your entertainment.
@HackingChinese (Olle Linge)
New: Into the Haze: A new text adventure game for Chinese learners: https://t.co/sjwfjhCVmG #learnchinese #game pic.twitter.com/t8KpUJDcTb
— Olle Linge (凌雲龍) (@HackingChinese) May 15, 2017
Olle Linge’s Twitter account is definitely a favorite among Chinese learners. He regularly posts excerpts from his blog Hacking Chinese, random full translations of different words and phrases and common humorous phonetic Chinese mixups that any Chinese learner will relate to and find amusing.
If you appreciate a dose of comedy when it comes to learning, this is a great Twitter account to follow.
@FluentUChinese (FluentU Chinese)
Learn Chinese Through Music with These 5 Chinese Cover Songs https://t.co/87UP9O8Xe9 #learnchinese pic.twitter.com/qLUtRGY3BP
— FluentU Chinese (@FluentUChinese) September 19, 2017
Follow FluentU Chinese to stay up to date on the latest articles for language learners, covering everything from grammar tricks to smart study techniques to specialized vocabulary and more.
This can be helpful if you’d like to get a sense of what an article is about before actually starting to read it, saving some time along the way.
If you find this Twitter feed useful, you might also benefit from the FluentU language learning platform, which teaches Mandarin using authentic Chinese videos. These videos can be searched by skill level and topic, and they have interactive subtitles in pinyin, Chinese characters and English.
@zhlearning (Chinese Learning)
Daily useful #expression
Wǒ chūqù yíxià.
I'm going out for a bit.#chinese #mandarin #learnchinese #studychinese
— Chinese Learning (@zhlearning) September 10, 2017
Chinese Learning is the ideal Twitter account for you if you prefer to learn with images. Flashcards, full translations of daily expressions, phrases, keywords—Chinese Learning has it all.
This account also regularly posts little mini quizzes to help challenge your Mandarin knowledge.
Just keep in mind that Chinese Learning bounces back and forth between using actual Chinese romanization and numbered tones in their tweets, which can be confusing for some learners.
@withoutdoing (Liz Carter)
Today's Chinese: 壁虎 (bì hǔ) literally "wall tiger" – a gecko 🦎
— Liz Carter (@withoutdoing) September 9, 2017
Liz Carter is a Chinese-English translator and author. While she does occasionally post about her cat Desmond and other bits and pieces of her life, most of her Twitter feed is dedicated to Chinese.
That includes words of the day, language tips, Chinese news and full translations of Mandarin idioms and phrases.
Liz’s feed is especially entertaining for her informative breakdowns of Mandarin phrases that could go over the heads on non-native speakers. Why not trust a professional translator?
@SayitinCH (Say It in CH)
Youtube : https://t.co/FNNO9QNRcZ#learnchinese pic.twitter.com/ZeFqLynyt5
— 一句中文 Say it in CH (@SayitinCH) September 9, 2017
A Chinese Verse, 一句中文 (Yījù Zhōngwén), also known as Say it in CH, is another great Chinese Twitter feed that boasts primarily Chinese language videos.
This feed also includes a lot of image-heavy translations for more visual appeal, and they also do Chinese translations for anybody that direct messages them.
Say it in CH posts just about every day, so you can expect a feed full of Chinese terms and their translations.
Lookalikes: 恕 and 怒, can you see the difference? #chinese #mandarin #iphone https://t.co/chY3RMTCgj pic.twitter.com/8E62JgU2Kx
— HaveFunLearnChinese (@HFLearnChinese) September 14, 2017
Remember using flashcards when you were in school? They were a super handy tool for memorizing things.
Even if your primary school days are over, flashcards can still be very useful for learning Mandarin. HaveFunLearnChinese has a website full of flashcards for learning Mandarin.
Their Twitter feed often features links to these tools, plus infographics similar to Say it in CH and language games.
(Shī bài shì chéng gōng zhī mǔ)
Failure is the mother of success.
— ChineseMe (@ChineseMeHQ) August 8, 2017
Languages are funny things. We can learn as much as we can about a language from books and classes, but one essential thing usually can’t be picked up in those tools—slang.
ChineseMe is a great Twitter feed for learning about hip new slang from Chinese-speaking youth, as well as understanding Chinese idioms that are still used by Chinese people today.
Things you won't learn in a dictionary:
愚人 can also be a verb! https://t.co/3iFuwAJatP
— LearnChineseWords (@VocabChinese) April 4, 2017
LearnChineseWords is the Twitter account for the language-learning website of the same name. If you’re an intermediate level Mandarin learner, this account is perfect to add to your feed.
They regularly post a word a day with full translations and deconstruct Mandarin phrases. Consider LearnChineseWords a sort of sampler platter of Chinese language tools, as they often retweet and promote other language blogs as well.
@ChineseWithMike (Chinese with Mike)
Mike Laoshi watches a @Cubs game at #wrigleyfield. Learn Chinese: baseball = bàngqiú #mandarin #chinese #learning pic.twitter.com/IhbFl952xg
— Chinese With Mike (@ChineseWithMike) July 13, 2017
Who doesn’t love slice-of-life Twitter feeds? You can still learn Chinese from these kinds of accounts without boring lesson plan-style posts. Chinese With Mike is one such Twitter feed, and the name is pretty self-explanatory.
Join Mike on his adventures teaching Mandarin Chinese and pick up some tips along the way. He also has a website and coursebook series. His hair’s also pretty awesome, too.
Learning Chinese with Twitter makes learning the language a little bit less strict and difficult. While you should still have a formal study plan in place, or at the very least watch Chinese language videos on the regular, popping over to Twitter for entertainment can also be an intentional way for you to brush up on some new phrases or maybe learn a little bit more about Chinese culture. Technology’s great, isn’t it?
Em Casalena is a published author, freelance writer and music columnist. They write about a lot of stuff, from music to films to language.