You might already know the benefits of a good language-learning video.
You may be aware that the visual experience can hold your attention very well and the audio can help you nail pronunciation and improve accent comprehension.
But knowing all this will not help you learn Chinese with videos.
The thing is, actually finding the best videos for Chinese students can be tough.
There is a sea of Mandarin lessons in video format online, but many of them are low quality or just not particularly useful for learners.
Luckily, we found nine incredible videos that cover material from the absolute beginner level all the way through to the advanced learner. With these videos, you can gather a substantial amount of what you need to learn Mandarin Chinese—in less than 13 hours!
Plus, every video we included comes from an equally useful Chinese learning YouTube channel! So if you finish all 12 hours and 20 minutes of material contained in this list, you can keep learning with your new favorite learning channels.
Before we look at these great YouTube channels and videos, let’s talk about why videos are so great for learning Mandarin.
Why Should You Learn Chinese with Videos?
- Lesson-based videos can offer a more visual and hands-on approach to learning Mandarin. Some people are visual learners. This can become a problem when taking on more traditional approaches to learning Chinese, such as physical classes and text-only programs.
Mandarin videos that are lesson-based can be a lifesaver for learners who need a more visual way to learn.
- Chinese videos can provide learners with authentic Chinese audio, which nurtures comprehension and pronunciation skills. We really cannot get better and closer to fluency in any new language without hearing how it is spoken by native speakers.
Chinese lesson videos often feature native Chinese speakers who speak Mandarin throughout the video. Listening to these native speakers can really help learners improve their comprehension and listening skills.
- Videos can be more interesting than traditional lessons. Sitting in a classroom for a lecture or learning Chinese directly from a textbook can get boring really fast. Supplementing your learning plan with Mandarin lesson videos can add a visual and entertaining edge to improving your Chinese language skills.
Besides, unlike traditional lessons, there is no commitment or obligation to stick with one resource—if a channel is not clicking for you, just find another!
Learn Chinese with Videos: From Beginner to Advanced in 12 Hours and 20 Minutes
We have organized these great YouTube video lessons by level, so you will know just where to start! But first, we have an option that will help you out on your learning journey no matter what level you are.
Videos for All Levels: FluentU
What if we told you there is a Chinese video resource that takes authentic Mandarin content and makes it approachable for any level? If that sounds like something you would want to use in your studies, then you will love FluentU!
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
The immersive, entertaining content makes grammar and vocabulary much more memorable.
But the program is about so much more than videos: You also get access to interactive flashcards and vocab lists, annotated subtitles, engaging quizzes that evolve as you learn and more.
Best of all, you can use FluentU in your browser or take it on the go with the FluentU app for iOS and Android. If your goal is to learn Chinese with videos, there is no better option!
Chinese Videos for Beginners
“Learn Chinese in 5 Hours—ALL the Chinese Basics You Need”
Many Chinese learners have heard of ChineseClass101. And for good reason! This program is great for learning Mandarin as an absolute beginner and utilizes video-based lessons. Their YouTube channel features a lot of content that you would have to pay for through their program, so it is essentially a goldmine of Chinese lesson content.
This video is one of their best uploads by far. This five-hour-long lesson teaches a substantial number of the most important words and phrases you will ever need to know in Chinese.
There are also subtitles, so beginners do not need to feel too nervous going into this one.
“Basics of Chinese Grammar Explained in 10 Minutes”
Fluent in Mandarin.com is a channel run by Mandarin language enthusiasts dedicated to teaching others the Chinese language. In this video, they cover the basics of Chinese grammar.
If you are going to learn Chinese, you will need to learn grammar. Preferably sooner rather than later. This video breaks it all down in a short amount of time so that any newbie learner can grasp the basics.
You will not learn everything about Chinese grammar, of course, but you will get what you need to move on to intermediate grammar.
“Learn Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘zi ci si zhi chi shi ri’ in Mandarin Chinese”
The Yoyo Chinese channel has quite a few useful videos mostly for beginner and intermediate learners. Many of their videos are in short format.
This is one of their longer videos and it is by far one of their most useful ones. With this lesson, you will be able to get past the newbie hump of learning tones and basic pronunciation rules in just half an hour.
Chinese Videos for Intermediate Learners
“42 Essential Sentence Patterns—Intermediate Chinese Listening Practice”
You have learned about the bare-bones basics of Chinese grammar in the beginner section, so now it is time to get a bit more intensive. This video explores a ton of common sentence patterns found in Chinese grammar.
The Mandarin Corner channel mostly focuses on cultural videos, but their few language lesson videos are quite handy. With this particular selection, you will be able to form a number of different sentences just by following a few simple patterns.
“Chinese ‘WH’ Questions—Forming ‘WH’ Questions in Chinese with Question Words”
Forming a question sentence in Chinese can be a little complicated for non-native speakers. This video from EverydayChinese tackles the basics of a very common question structure with ease.
The channel features more lesson videos with native Mandarin-speaking teachers to provide an authentic experience you can use on a daily basis.
“Learn Chinese: 750 Most Common Chinese Phrases and Sentences”
It is time to crack down on your vocabulary! In a little over an hour, this video will present you with 750 common phrases in Chinese to write down in your language-learning notebook.
DigMandarin has quite a library of Chinese video lessons, most of which focus on vocabulary, so if you manage to remember these 750 words, there are plenty of others waiting to be learned.
ChineseVideos for Advanced Learners
“2513 Advanced Chinese Words—HSK Level 6 Vocabulary”
Now that we are dipping into the advanced videos, it would be wise to start off with a vocabulary video. And a very in-depth one, at that!
This video tackles a whopping 2,513 advanced Chinese words that every learner striving for fluency will need to know.
Kendra’s Language School is a multilingual channel that features videos in Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese and many other languages. You can find more phrases, vocab and some listening comprehension practice by doing a search on the channel for “Chinese.”
“当代中文 Volume 3: Contemporary Chinese for Advanced Level (Audio)”
This video is essentially an audio-based flashcard deck meant to accompany a secondary textbook resource. Using it in conjunction with the book is a great idea, but it also works well on its own for advanced learners who want to improve their listening comprehension skills.
HSK Academy releases videos designed to help learners pass the Chinese Proficiency Test. The channel itself has not updated for some time, but it may be worth subscribing in case they make a comeback.
Plus, there are 27 useful videos to peruse, which cover topics from stroke order to vocabulary, and even breaks down the “Game of Thrones” season seven trailer in Mandarin Chinese.
With these videos, you can hear over 3,000 new vocabulary words and phrases. You can learn to ask questions, form basic sentences and make small talk. You can even hone your listening comprehension skills to prepare you for real interactions in Chinese.
And you can do it all in just 12 hours and 20 minutes!
As you can see, YouTube is a fantastic free resource to learn Chinese with videos. Enjoy!
Em Casalena is a published author, freelance writer and music columnist. They write about a lot of stuff, from music to films to language.