Best Apps to Learn Mandarin Chinese (Personally Tested)

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Written By Jessica Knight

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

Michigan State University found that 75% of participants improved oral proficiency in 15 hours by using a language learning app1.

These are just some of the benefits of learning Mandarin using an app, quick and effective.

I’ve spent the last few years reviewing 35+ different language learning apps and software, using the following key criteria to rank them: price, course curriculum, quality of instructors, lesson structure, and more.

Using my experience in this field, I’ve compiled a list of the best apps to learn Mandarin available, comparing the above criteria to help you make an informed decision and take your Chinese to the next level.

So, in a nutshell, what are the best apps to learn Mandarin? The best apps to learn Mandarin are Ling App, Rocket Chinese, and ChineseClass101. Ling App delivers gamified, interactive lessons honing in on crucial vocabulary and common phrases. Rocket Chinese provides a comprehensive learning path, emphasizing conversational capabilities and real-world situations. Conversely, ChineseClass101 offers an extensive range of resources, from podcasts to hands-on exercises, catering to learners of all levels and preferences.

All the Mandarin apps I’ve reviewed below are available on Android and iOS.

Best Apps to Learn Mandarin Ranked

Here is a quick list of the best apps to learn Mandarin based on my hands-on analysis:

  1. Ling App – Overall best app to learn Mandarin Chinese for beginners
  2. Rocket Chinese – Runner-up of the best Mandarin learning apps
  3. ChineseClass101 – Best Mandarin app for aural learners
  4. Hello Chinese – Best free Chinese learning app
  5. Pimsleur – Best app for learning Mandarin on the go
  6. Mondly – Best Mandarin app for game-like features

Best App to Learn Mandarin Reviews

In compiling this selection of the top Mandarin learning apps, I delved into their pricing, functionalities, and overall utility.

I scoured feedback from prominent platforms like,, and to gauge user sentiments and identify recurring issues.

My personal experience with these applications provided an additional lens, allowing me to pinpoint the unique attributes of each and how they stand out in the crowded Mandarin language app space.

1. Ling App – Overall best app to learn Mandarin Chinese for beginners

Ling App - Overall best app to learn Mandarin Chinese for beginners.

Ling app has completely revolutionized the way people study languages, and it truly shines when it comes to mastering Mandarin Chinese.

Let’s look at why Ling is the best option for those looking to learn Mandarin Chinese.

Ling App Features

The Ling app provides a thorough method for learning Mandarin Chinese. It covers every facet of language learning, from conversational abilities to reading comprehension, grammar, and even Mandarin Chinese writing.

Ling permits you to start from your current ability, offering a flexible learning option, whether you are a novice or at an advanced level.

The flexibility to flip between different topics and language themes is a noteworthy feature that gives you the freedom to delve into numerous facets of the language without being restricted to a particular course or level.

What’s also cool is that this app allows you to mute notifications and take control of when and how often you receive them. This feature enhances the learning experience by minimizing distractions and scheduling when you want to learn.

Content and Benefits

200 Mandarin Chinese classes are available to you through the Ling app. Being a universal app, it provides the opportunity to learn more than 60 additional languages in the future.

Vocabulary, sentence structure, grammar, hearing, pronunciation, writing, and conversational skills are all thoroughly covered in the program. Ling is special in that it develops your reading abilities naturally as you move through the classes.

Ling rewards you with “bananas,” a virtual currency that can be used to buy exclusive products in the Ling Shop, as you advance in learning Mandarin Chinese.

Additionally, you can participate in friendly competition with users from other countries, giving your learning experience a competitive edge.

Ling also has a special section to track your progress and honor your language-learning successes if you thrive on reaching milestones.

I found the user interface of Ling slick and simple, making it easy for learners of all skill levels to utilize the program and take full advantage of its capabilities.

Who is the Ling App Best For?

All levels of language learners can use the Ling app. It is a great option for tourists or language lovers who want to have control over their learning process, and people looking for a fun and efficient way to learn Mandarin Chinese.

Ling’s extensive features, adaptability, and tailored approach will give you the tools you need to succeed in your language-learning objectives.

The chance to start learning Mandarin Chinese with Ling should not be missed.

Read my full Ling App review.

2. Rocket Chinese – Runner-up of the best Mandarin learning apps

Rocket Chinese - Runner-up of the best Mandarin learning apps.

Developed by Rocket Languages, the Rocket Chinese app is arguably one of the best options on the market.

The app is well-designed, comprehensible, and efficient.

But does it offer what you’re looking for?

Rocket Chinese Features

One of the best things about Rocket Chinese is definitely its well-rounded curriculum.

The app is focused on all main language skills: speaking, reading, listening, and writing. So, it will help you build a strong foundation.

In a nutshell, the app is a mix of audio tracks, interactive exercises, and study tools.

It doesn’t have too many game-like features, but you’ll be earning points and badges. And you can check your position on the Leaderboard.

Otherwise, the app is very straightforward and efficient. And yet it delivers its content with a rather relaxing (and at times humorous) approach.

All the apps’ functions are very useful. You can use flashcards, a Saved Vocab feature, the Benchmark tool (to check your level), and so on.

And Rocket Reinforcement activities will help you test and strengthen your knowledge.

But what will the app actually teach you?

Content and Benefits

With the Rocket Chinese app, you’ll learn everything you need to know to start a casual, fluid conversation in Mandarin.

The speech recognition software will give you feedback on your pronunciation.

Interactive Audio lessons cover natural dialogues that will teach you practical vocabulary.

Language & Culture lessons will tell you how the language works and give you interesting cultural insights.

And Writing lessons will introduce you to Hanzi. They contain videos that will show you how to write Chinese characters and useful notes with tricks to memorize a certain character.

All lessons are divided into 3 levels. They are created to be taken in a linear fashion, but you can also jump back and forth if you want to.

Overall, Rocket Chinese is a well-structured app that will take you from beginner to more advanced level.

It’s thorough, versatile, and user-friendly.

Who is Rocket Chinese Best For?

Rocket Chinese is the best app to learn Mandarin for anyone searching for a reliable, well-rounded online language course.

It’s audio-based, but it’s beneficial to all types of learners. Read my full Rocket Languages review.

3. ChineseClass101 – Best Mandarin app for aural learners

Do you want to learn Mandarin by listening to podcasts?

Well, ChineseClass101 offers podcast-style lessons that can help you learn conversational Mandarin.

ChineseClass101 Features

In essence, the ChineseClass101 app is a mix of short audio and video lessons.

Lessons are centered around conversations between native speakers. With slowed-down audio and line-by-line breakdowns, you’ll be able to understand everything.

The app also features slideshows, flashcards, word lists, and voice recording tools.

You’ll get detailed PDF notes as well.

And there’s a pathway feature that will add more structure to your learning. When lessons are grouped into modules, it’s easier to get around the app.

And if you opt for a Premium Plus subscription, you’ll also have the option to communicate with a real teacher via private messenger. You can get direct feedback, corrections, and answers to your questions.

Content and Benefits

ChineseClass101 is primarily focused on the development of listening and conversational skills.

And although the course isn’t heavy on grammar, it does offer grammar notes and explanations.

Read  Days Of The Week In Chinese & How to Say Them (Full Guide)

It will also give you some cultural facts.

However, this app is most beneficial to people who want to learn how to speak Mandarin in a conversational context.

Lessons are also downloadable, which is a big plus.

And the platform offers some free Chinese learning materials as well. For example, you can come across useful lessons and tutorials on their YouTube channel.

Who is ChineseClass101 Best For?

ChineseClass101 is one of the best apps to learn Chinese for aural learners and people who want to improve their conversational skills.

4. Hello Chinese – Best free Chinese learning app

 Hello Chinese - Best free Chinese learning app

Hello Chinese is a great Mandarin learning app for beginners.

It’s a versatile and gamified app designed to help you grasp the basics while having fun.

Hello Chinese Features

This Chinese app is free, but it has in-app purchases.

The app will teach you how to speak and write Mandarin.

It offers audio tracks to teach you pronunciation, and there’s a speech recognition system too.

You’ll also go through versatile exercises such as multiple choice and translation exercises.

Some games are part of the Premium version, and they are a nice extra touch.

Hello Chinese also has a blog and social media, but it doesn’t seem to be very active anymore, so hopefully, that will change in the future.

Content and Benefits

The Hello Chinese app provides bite-sized lessons. They are also organized by topics, and they include family, numbers, animals, food, questions, and so on.

Lessons are linear, but you can skip ahead if you want to.

They cover reading, writing, speaking, vocabulary, and grammar.

The app is very simple and user-friendly, and it allows you to study in a relaxed, game-like environment.

You can also tell the app to remind you when it’s time to study.

Who is Hello Chinese Best For?

If you’re looking for the best free Chinese learning app, Hello Chinese might be a good choice.

It’s best for beginners who want to focus on speaking, writing, listening, and reading Mandarin.

5. Pimsleur – Best app for learning Mandarin on the go

Pimsleur is one of the most popular (and well-structured) language-learning platforms.

Let’s see what the Pimsleur app for learning Mandarin has to offer.

Pimsleur Features

The Pimsleur Method is the foundation of every Pimsleur course.

It’s centered around organic learning and graduated interval recall.

To put it simply, the Pimsleur app will teach you Chinese vocabulary within the context of a conversation and with the help of spaced repetition.

The app also features a lot of useful study tools. It has Flashcards, Quick Match exercises, Speed Rounds, and so on.

Pimsleur currently offers five Premium packages to choose from. They cover different levels, so they’re suitable both for absolute beginners and intermediate learners.

Lessons are designed to be taken every day for 30 minutes, but there is no strict schedule so you can learn at your own pace.

Content and Benefits

Each Pimsleur package contains approximately 15 hours of lesson time. It consists of 30-minute core lessons, Speak Easy conversations, and accompanying travel photographs.

Pinyin reading lessons are also included.

So, you’ll learn how the language works, but you’ll also learn about Chinese culture and history.

Pimsleur is undeniably a well-structured app that can provide you with flexible learning. On the other hand, it will keep you focused and motivated.

Lessons are audio-based, and there’s also a hands-free mode. This is a huge advantage if you want to learn on the go – while you’re jogging, driving, or making dinner.

Besides Mandarin, Pimsleur also offers Cantonese classes. So, if you want to try something different when you master the basics of Mandarin, you’ll know where to look.  

Who is Pimsleur Best For?

Pimsleur is a reliable Mandarin language app that can take you from the beginner to an intermediate level quite quickly.

It’s great for people with a busy schedule who want to learn on the go. Read my full Pimsleur review.

6. Mondly – Best Mandarin app for game-like features

Mondly - Best Mandarin app for game-like features,

If you’re searching for the best way to learn Mandarin online, you can’t go wrong with Mondly.

It’s a popular and innovative app that can help you acquire solid conversational skills.

Mondly Features

Mondly is the first company to develop a virtual reality language app.

So, yes, you can learn Mandarin in virtual reality. Or, you can opt for the Mondly AR app or a standard version.

Regardless of what you choose, you’ll have an immersive learning experience.

You’ll work on your pronunciation, vocabulary, reading, and listening.

Mondly also offers free daily lessons. They are short and easy to follow.

The app also has a speech recognition engine and provides high-quality audio lessons with professional Chinese native speakers.

And it uses rapid language learning techniques to help you learn the language quickly and effectively.

Content and Benefits

Mondly is focused on teaching useful phrases for real situations.

You’ll learn the language through common Chinese phrases, not individual words.

And you can pick a topic you’re interested in and focus on all the words and phrases related to it.

You’ll also get useful grammar exercises.

So, the app is focused on the development of all language skills.

Even though Mondly has a lot of content and it takes teaching Chinese seriously, it delivers content in a relaxed yet engaging environment. Learning a new language will almost feel like playing a game.

But one of Mondly’s unique highlights is definitely its Chinese Chatbot. It’s a computer program that will be your conversational partner. The Chatbot is designed to respond as a native speaker would.

While you’re chatting with your Chinese buddy, you’ll also get instant feedback if you get anything wrong. So, this is actually a great way to build conversational skills and feel more confident.

Who is Mondly Best For?

Mondly is the best Mandarin learning app for people who like game-like apps.

It’s great for beginners who want to focus on all elements of the Chinese language without feeling overwhelmed.

7. Zizzle

Zizzle is a Mandarin learning app focused on Chinese characters.

The app is well-designed and effective.

So, how does it work?

Zizzle Features

The Zizzle app is based on research-proven memorization techniques: visualization, the keyword method, and association.

So, if you like the visual learning style, you’ll definitely like studying with Zizzle.

There are several Zizzle Character Packs to choose from. Each Pack contains all the features: visual stories, words and phrases, audio, and quizzes.

There’s also a spaced repetition system to help you strengthen your knowledge even more.

Hanzi (Chinese writing system) can be quite challenging to learn, and this kind of app can be a really useful tool.

And learning Hanzi through visualization seems to be very effective.

Content and Benefits

Hanzi is a logographic writing system, so the characters represent words and ideas.

Altogether there are over 50,000 characters. Yes, a lot!

And the Zizzle app currently covers more than 850 Chinese characters. They are the most frequently used Chinese characters, and they will allow you to read basic texts and have an everyday conversation in Chinese.

But how does the app teach you the characters?

Well, by tackling the character’s shape, meaning, tone, and pronunciation, the app creates a two-part story. And each story is accompanied by an image.

All images and visual representations are unique, so you can really memorize everything you learn.

You’ll also see examples of sentences where a particular word is used in.

And there’s also a spaced repetition system and quizzes to help you test and internalize what you’ve learned.

Overall, Zizzle is a fantastic Chinese learning tool – and it works great as an additional learning resource.

Who is Zizzle Best For?

Zizzle is the best Mandarin app for anyone who wants to learn Chinese characters.

It would be a great supplemental learning tool.

6. Lingodeer

Lingodeer Chinese learning app.

And if you want to delve deeper into Chinese grammar, you should check out Lingodeer.

Lingodeer Features

The Lingodeer app combines high-quality audio tracks, exercises, and speaking practice.

It has a grammar-based curriculum, and it’s designed to make learning grammar fun and enjoyable.

Well, if you’re a language lover, that might very well be possible.

Either way, Lingodeer is a well-designed app that will offer you well-rounded, online classes.

It has an in-built flashcard function, downloadable Knowledge Cards, and a variety of exercises and quizzes.

And Target Training will allow you to pick a focus (vocabulary or grammar.)

The app is also very customizable, so you can pick a background color, the voice of a narrator, and so on.

Content and Benefits

In a nutshell, Lingodeer will teach you Chinese grammar, which will give you a good understanding of the language as a whole.

The app will give you clear, detailed explanations (you won’t have to guess anything.)

Also, you’ll learn Mandarin through context, which is always effective.

And the Lingodeer Story will introduce you to cultural facts while teaching you new vocabulary and useful expressions.

Moreover, the app has useful functionalities, which is always a big plus.

You can tell Lingodeer to remind you when you need to study.

You can challenge a friend who also uses Lingodeer.

And you can use the app in silent study mode, which is great if you want to study while you’re commuting.

All in all, Lingodeer is a well-structured, eye-catching app that can help you understand the Chinese language and all its essential elements.

Read  Best Language Learning Apps (Personally Tested)

Who is Lingodeer Best For?

Lingodeer is the best Mandarin language app for anyone who wants to focus on grammar.

7. Memrise

Memrise app to learn Mandarin.

Memrise is another popular app that can teach you Chinese.

And it offers a lot of free content.

Memrise Features

Memrise used to offer community-created courses, but they have been removed from the “Search” function.

These courses have not been removed or deleted from Memrise, but the app is now focused exclusively on official courses created by their team of linguists, translators, and language researchers.

Nevertheless, it’s a very helpful and nicely designed app.

It offers video examples of Chinese used in real life, courses led by native speakers, and gamified tests.

The program is based on immersive learning. According to Memrise creators, immersion means getting to know the language including its natural rhythms, emotional tone, body language, and cultural habits.

In other words, Memrise will allow you to surround yourself with the Chinese language and help you learn everything that comes with it.

Content and Benefits

If you’re a beginner, you’ll learn all the basics of Mandarin; from greetings to ordering food in a restaurant.

All lessons are designed to teach what’s relevant to daily life, and you can also choose a topic you’re interested in.

Lessons are simple and easy to digest, especially because the app’s smart learning engine adapts them to your individual needs.

All things considered, this Mandarin app will prepare you for potential real-life situations.

The Memrise app is free to download, and that’s definitely an advantage. But the premium subscription will give you access to additional features and extra content.

Also, there’s an active blog and forum, so you can stay updated, join a conversation or meet fellow learners.

Who is Memrise Best For?

If you’re looking for an easy way to improve your Chinese comprehension and expand your vocabulary, you should give Memrise a try.

It’s best for beginners looking for Chinese free apps.

10. Duolingo

Duolingo Mandarin language app.

Duolingo is arguably the most popular language learning app.

But is it also a good option for learning Mandarin?

Well, if you like simple lessons and game-like apps, it might be.

Duolingo Features

One of the best things about Duolingo is definitely its simplicity.

It’s very practical and easy to use.

And it’s completely free! Unless you want to use it offline and have some extra features. In that case, you can opt for Duolingo Plus.

The Duolingo Chinese app is based on translation and repetition.

But there are also games, challenges, exercises, visual cues, and useful tools (for example the goal-setting tool.)

Duolingo also uses smart technology to try to create lessons appropriate for your level and pace.

Content and Benefits

The Duolingo app will help you improve your speaking, listening, and reading skills.

But for the most part, you’ll work on expanding your vocabulary.

Lessons are linear, and you’ll be unlocking new levels as you progress.

That said, the app is best for beginners, because if you’re familiar with the language you’ll probably want to skip ahead and learn from a more advanced-appropriate material.

Either way, it seems like Duolingo is successfully keeping up with its competitors. It looks fresh and it’s very convenient.

On the other, it didn’t change its appearance and some characteristics that made it charming and popular in the first place.

Overall, Duolingo can introduce you to the Chinese language in a fun and easy way, but you’ll have to find extra learning resources if you want to eventually become a fluent speaker.

Who is Duolingo Best For?

Duolingo is a great additional learning source. But it’s also convenient for anyone who wants to learn the basics and expand their vocabulary. Read my full Duolingo review.

11. TutorMing

Tutorming Chinese learning app.

Now I want to show you a different kind of Chinese learning app.

If you’re interested in virtual one-on-one lessons, let us tell you all about TutorMing.

TutorMing Features

TutorMing is a platform that connects learners and teachers.

So, this is a chance to learn from certified native Chinese teachers.

And since it’s an app, you can learn anywhere, anytime.

You can take private lessons or join a group class – it all depends on your goals and preferences.

During your lesson, you’ll be able to pull up images, write on the screen, and so on.

After each class, you’ll get a video recording of your lesson, lesson slides, and probably some simple homework.

So, using TutorMing feels like going to a virtual school! But with less pressure, of course.

Content and Benefits

When it comes to content, your TutorMing instructor will create a study plan based on your current skill level.

You don’t have to worry about the curriculum: it’s interesting and dynamic, and it has a lot of cultural information as well.

And tutors will adjust their speaking speed and vocabulary as you progress.

You can have a free trial lesson first to see what everything looks like.

But learning in their TutorMing virtual classroom can be really productive, especially because you become a part of a live lesson and listen to a real teacher.

Lessons are available 24 hours per day, and you can easily schedule them. In fact, you can schedule your class one day in advance.

So, TutorMing is like a blend of an app and an online language course.

And if you want to improve your Mandarin, you should try it out.

Who is TutorMing Best For?

TutorMing is a great Mandarin learning program for learners of all levels and ages.

It’s ideal for people who want to take live online classes.

How to Choose the Best App to Learn Mandarin?

As you can see, there are many great options on the market. And learning Chinese Mandarin has never been easier.

But choosing the right app for learning Chinese doesn’t seem so easy.

However, there are a couple of things that you need to consider if you want to make the right decision.

First of all, it’s good to know that there’s a difference between Chinese and Mandarin. 

Yes, these two words seem almost interchangeable.

However, the Chinese language has a variety of regional dialects, and Mandarin is one of them. Other forms/dialects include Cantonese, Hakka, Shanghainese, and so on.

But Mandarin is also known as standard Chinese (Pǔtōnghuà), and perhaps that’s where the confusion comes from.

Mandarin is the most widely spoken, it’s the official language in any school.

And that’s why most of the online Chinese courses and language-learning apps are focused on Mandarin. And some apps also offer other dialects such as Cantonese.

How to Choose the Best App to Learn Mandarin?

Now that you know what Chinese dialect you wish to learn, let’s look at the other important factors.

Firstly, your learn Mandarin app should fit your goals and needs.

If you’re planning to visit China soon, you might want to choose an app that will help you build basic conversational skills.

And if you want to learn Mandarin to have more job opportunities, you’ll want an app that won’t rush you and that will give you professional, well-rounded online classes.

Every app is created with a specific user in mind, so you probably won’t have any problems with finding an app that will meet your needs.

Furthermore, make sure the app fits your learning style. Are you a visual learner? Or do you prefer learning a new language by listening and repeating the words?

And find a well-designed app. It’s not only about looking aesthetically pleasing; the app should be neat, practical, and easy to use.

All of this will make your learning sessions more enjoyable and productive.

What Are the Benefits of Using an App to Learn Mandarin?

Mandarin is one of the most popular languages to learn.

However, some parts of the world still don’t have many Chinese learning options.

And apps for learning Mandarin allow you to take Mandarin lessons regardless of where you live.

In fact, with app-based lessons, you can learn Mandarin anytime, anywhere. Some of them even have hands-free or car modes, so you can learn while you’re commuting, jogging, or driving.

Practicality is definitely one of the biggest benefits of using an app to learn Mandarin.

What Are the Benefits of Using an App to Learn Mandarin?

Moreover, Chinese learning apps use cutting-edge technology and modern online study tools. All of that will make your learning process much easier.

It’s challenging to master Chinese writing systems, but with different kinds of interactive exercises and game-like activities, you’ll learn how to write in Chinese without feeling stressed.

And since many of these apps use visual cues to present you with new words or phrases, you’ll memorize them more easily. That’s a much more effective way than simply listening to someone explain them to you.

On the other hand, if you’re an aural learner, you can also benefit a lot from using an app.

In most cases, audio lessons are interactive, and most of the apps use spaced repetition systems to help you internalize everything properly.

In other words, the best apps for learning Chinese are highly effective and innovative.

And they are designed to keep you motivated. They are flexible, but they will also provide you with structure.

On top of that, some of them offer a personalized learning experience, so you’ll get lessons based on your level, time commitment, and unique learning habits.

You’ll learn in a relaxed yet productive environment, and you will feel amazing every time you realize you’re making progress.

Learning Mandarin

After all, learning any new language is very rewarding.

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And speaking Mandarin is also incredibly useful. China is an economic superpower, and learning Chinese will undoubtedly open up new job opportunities.

So, whether you want to stand out from other candidates when you apply for a job or you simply want to get to know another language and culture, learning Mandarin can only be beneficial.

How to Use Apps to Learn Mandarin

Here’s my simplified guide on how to use apps to learn Mandarin:

  1. Choose the Right App: Begin by selecting an app tailored to your learning style. Some apps focus on vocabulary, others on grammar, and some integrate culture and context into lessons. Research and read reviews to find the best fit.
  2. Start with Basics: Most apps will begin with essential vocabulary and Pinyin – the Romanized system for Chinese pronunciation. Familiarize yourself with Pinyin first, as it will help you with pronunciation.
  3. Incorporate Tones: Mandarin is a tonal language with four distinct tones. Use apps that offer audio playback to practice and perfect your tonal pronunciation.
  4. Engage Daily: Consistency is key in language learning. Dedicate time each day to practice, even if it’s just a few minutes.
  5. Practice Listening: Find apps that offer audio or video content. This will help you understand spoken Mandarin and improve your listening skills.
  6. Interactive Learning: Opt for apps that use gamified lessons, quizzes, or interactive stories. These methods can make learning more enjoyable and improve retention.
  7. Use Flashcards: Many apps incorporate a Spaced Repetition System (SRS) for vocabulary. This system reintroduces words at intervals to ensure long-term retention.
  8. Connect with Native Speakers: Some apps connect learners with native Mandarin speakers for practice. Use these to improve your conversational skills.
  9. Incorporate Culture: Mandarin is closely tied to Chinese culture. Some apps offer cultural lessons or context, which can enhance understanding and make the language more meaningful.
  10. Track Progress: Use apps that offer progress tracking. This will help you understand areas of strength and where you need to focus more.
  11. Expand Resources: As you advance, consider using apps that cater to intermediate and advanced learners. These can offer more complex vocabulary, grammar structures, and cultural nuances.

Remember, while apps are a powerful tool for learning Mandarin, they should be part of a broader learning strategy.

Incorporate other resources like textbooks, online courses, and real-world practice to fully immerse yourself in the language.

Tips for Learning Mandarin

Here are some of my top tips for learning Mandarin:

  1. Start with Pinyin: Pinyin is the Romanization of Chinese characters based on their pronunciation. It provides a foundation to learn the correct pronunciation of words.
  2. Understand the Tones: Mandarin is a tonal language with four primary tones. Each tone has a distinct pitch contour, which can change the meaning of a word.
  3. Use Flashcards: Create or use apps that have flashcards to memorize characters and vocabulary. The Spaced Repetition System (SRS) is particularly effective for this.
  4. Consistent Practice: Dedicate time daily to study and practice. Regular short sessions are more effective than occasional lengthy ones.
  5. Listen Actively: Immerse yourself in Mandarin through songs, podcasts, movies, and news. This will improve your listening skills and expose you to different accents and slang.
  6. Engage in Conversation: Practice speaking as much as possible. Language exchange platforms can connect you with native Mandarin speakers to practice.
  7. Learn Characters with Stories: Mnemonic devices and stories can make learning Chinese characters easier and more enjoyable.
  8. Incorporate Culture: Learn about Chinese history, traditions, and customs. This cultural context will enrich your understanding of the language.
  9. Use Tech Tools: Use apps, online courses, and language learning platforms tailored for Mandarin learners. Many of them offer interactive exercises and real-world scenarios.
  10. Join a Community: Engage with fellow learners through forums, online groups, or local language clubs. Sharing experiences can provide motivation and new insights.
  11. Set Clear Goals: Whether it’s being able to hold a basic conversation, watching a movie without subtitles, or passing a proficiency test, having clear objectives will guide your learning journey.
  12. Travel or Study Abroad: If possible, spend time in a Mandarin-speaking country. Immersion is one of the most effective ways to learn.
  13. Stay Patient and Persistent: Mandarin is considered one of the more challenging languages for English speakers. Expect plateaus in your learning journey, and remember that persistence is key.

Embracing the beauty and complexity of Mandarin can make the learning process more rewarding.

Celebrate small achievements and remember that every step brings you closer to fluency.

Best Apps to Learn Mandarin – Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article encourages you to give Mandarin learning apps a try.

Apart from being useful, learning Mandarin will help you immerse yourself in Chinese culture and learn about different traditions, customs, and people. And that’s valuable knowledge.

And although learning Mandarin might seem challenging at first, these apps will ensure you a comfortable learning experience.

They are created to be efficient, practical, and fun.

But most importantly, they will allow you to focus on your needs and interests.

And without a doubt, they will help you develop a learning habit and eventually achieve your goals!


Best app to learn Mandarin for free?

Duolingo stands out as a popular free app for learning Mandarin. The platform offers a gamified learning experience, breaking down the language into bite-sized lessons. It covers essential vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation, while also introducing users to Chinese characters. The progression system and daily streaks provide motivation, ensuring consistent practice. While it’s beneficial for beginners and intermediate learners, it’s always a good idea to supplement app learning with other resources for a comprehensive grasp of Mandarin.

Best app to learn conversational Mandarin?

HelloTalk offers an immersive experience for those aiming to learn conversational Mandarin. It connects learners with native Mandarin speakers for language exchange, allowing users to practice real-time conversations, text chats, voice messages, and even video calls. By directly interacting with native speakers, users can refine their pronunciation, expand their vocabulary, and get acquainted with colloquial expressions, making it one of the most practical tools for attaining conversational fluency.

Best app to learn Chinese offline?

Rocket Chinese offers a robust platform for learners seeking to study Chinese offline. With its interactive audio lessons, cultural insights, and voice recognition technology, users can immerse themselves in the language without the constant need for an internet connection. Its comprehensive approach, combined with the convenience of offline access, makes Rocket Chinese a top choice for those wanting to maintain their study momentum anywhere, anytime.

What is the most effective way to learn Mandarin?

The most effective way to learn Mandarin is through a combination of immersive experiences and structured lessons. Engaging with native speakers, either in-person or through language exchange platforms, provides real-world context and improves listening and speaking skills. Additionally, using structured learning tools like textbooks or reputable language apps can solidify grammar and vocabulary knowledge. Consistent practice, exposure to various media in Mandarin, and periodic self-assessments further enhance proficiency.

Is Duolingo Mandarin worth it?

Duolingo Mandarin offers a gamified approach to language learning, making it engaging for beginners. It provides a solid foundation in vocabulary and basic grammar. However, while it’s beneficial as a supplementary tool, relying solely on Duolingo may not lead to full fluency. Combining it with other resources, especially those focused on conversation and listening skills, would yield the best results.

Which is better Duolingo or Hello Chinese?

Both Duolingo and Hello Chinese offer effective platforms for learning Mandarin. Duolingo utilizes a gamified approach, appealing to a broad audience with diverse lessons. Hello Chinese, on the other hand, is specifically tailored for Mandarin learners, incorporating native pronunciation, stroke order for characters, and more targeted exercises. While Duolingo provides a broad foundation, Hello Chinese offers a more specialized Mandarin learning experience. The best choice depends on individual preferences and learning goals.

Is it possible to learn Mandarin by yourself?

Yes, it’s possible to learn Mandarin by yourself. With the plethora of online resources, apps, and books available, self-learners have ample tools at their disposal. Motivation, discipline, and regular practice are key. While self-study can provide a strong foundation, interacting with native speakers and seeking feedback can further enhance fluency and understanding. The journey may be challenging, but it is certainly achievable with dedication.

How long does it take to learn Mandarin Chinese?

The time it takes to learn Mandarin Chinese varies depending on individual dedication, learning methods, and prior language experience. The Foreign Service Institute estimates that an average English speaker would need about 2,200 class hours to reach “Professional Working Proficiency.” This translates to roughly 88 weeks or almost two years of full-time study. However, achieving basic conversational skills can be done in a shorter timeframe with consistent practice and immersion. Remember, the journey to fluency is a marathon, not a sprint.

Can you learn Mandarin in 6 months?

While achieving full fluency in Mandarin in 6 months is ambitious, it is possible to gain a basic conversational level within this timeframe, especially with intensive study and immersion. Factors like daily practice, interactive learning, exposure to native speakers, and strong motivation can expedite the learning process. However, deeper aspects of the language, such as mastering tonal pronunciation and recognizing a broad range of characters, will likely take longer.

What is the best Chinese learning app?

Among the myriad of apps available for learning Chinese, Rocket Chinese stands out as one of the best. It provides comprehensive lessons that cover reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The interactive audio lessons and cultural insights ensure a holistic learning experience. For those aiming for a well-structured and effective approach to mastering Mandarin, Rocket Chinese is a top recommendation.

Why you should use apps to learn Chinese?

Utilizing apps to learn Chinese offers a modern, flexible, and interactive approach. They provide instant feedback, allow for on-the-go learning, and often gamify the process, making it engaging. Many apps cater to visual and auditory learners, incorporating images, sounds, and interactive exercises. This multi-sensory approach can accelerate comprehension and retention. Furthermore, apps can adjust to individual learning paces and offer personalized reviews, making them a versatile tool for mastering the Chinese language.

What is the fastest way to learn Chinese?

Accelerating Chinese language learning involves a multi-faceted approach. Engage in daily practice to maintain consistency. Combine listening, speaking, reading, and writing exercises for a holistic grasp. Utilize language apps, such as Rocket Chinese, for structured lessons and instant feedback. Engage in real conversations with native speakers whenever possible. Lastly, immerse yourself in Chinese media like movies, music, and books to internalize the language’s rhythm and nuances. Dedication and a blended learning approach can expedite your proficiency.

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