Top 10 Applications for Learning Chinese

2013 May 23
by Myra

When searching the Apple store, you will be amazed by the amount and variety of Chinese learning apps. This article will give a brief introduction to 10 categories of them and recommend handy apps for all Chinese learners.

1. Flash Card

l  Fun Chinese (Listening practice)  Recommend: Yes ★★★

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Fun Chinese provides several different games in every topic for learning Chinese.

Memory game: matching the color in a different box.

Bubble game: eliminating color bubbles according to instructions.

Word bounce: matching colors according to characters.

 

2. Kids Mandarin

l  KidsMandarin  Recommend: Yes ★★

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KidsMandarin gives pinyin, characters and English translation. Students are expected to read out loud the numbers in Mandarin and then write the numbers.  Only when you repeat the word correctly can you move to the next one.

 

3. Survival Mandarin (adults)

l  My Chinese Library  Recommend: Yes ★★★

Five topics:At the airport, At the hotel, Meeting new people, Taking a taxi, and Travel destinations in China. There are 222 sentences total. Every sentence comes with Pinyin, English translation, and an audio track.

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 My Chinese Library                Learn Chinese

l  Learn Chinese   Recommend: Yes ★★

Mainly for survival Chinese phrase and sentences. Sentences are in English, click to reveal pinyin and the character.

4. Pinyin

Pinyin chart    Recommend: Yes ★★★★

The app gives a pinyin chart with all the possible combinations in Mandarin. For example, if you click fa, 5 choices will show up: fa,fā, fá, fǎ, fà. You can click to hear the difference in tones.

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Pinyin chart           

5. Character Writing

l  Writer       Recommend: Yes ★★★★★

The game is a Chinese Russian block game. Characters are falling from the top. Students need to click on the character and write it in the right stroke order to eliminate the character. When the character appears, the app reads it, and gives an English translation at the top. The best of Writer  is you can create your own character list to practice what you have learnt.

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l  Art Chinese       Recommend: Yes ★★★

Art Chinese focuses more on telling the story of each character. It introduces the development of the character alongside the pronunciation, stroke order and word phrases.

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6. Dictionary                 

l  Eudic欧路词典      Recommend: Yes ★★★★

When you type in one character in the Eudic dictionary, it will provide a variety of phrases and sentences. And you can also click to see the translation.

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7. Read Aloud

l  Little Red Riding Hood      Recommend: Yes ★★★★

It tells the story of little red riding hood. You can choose to read along or the let me read mode. In read along, the story stops at each page and lets students  repeat. In the let me read mode, students are expected to read the whole story alone. The first story is free, and you have to pay for more stories.

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     Little Red Riding Hood                     

8. Test

l  HSK Test    Recommend: Yes ★★★

It has three levels: HSK beginner、HSK intermediate、HSK advanced。Every level has 15 multiple choice questions. The questions and choices are all in characters. Students have to answer the questions correctly to move onto the next question. At the end of the app it gives a grade, but unfortunately it doesn’t provide a clear explanation for the grade.

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     HSK Test                                    

9. Textbooks

Interactive Chinese   Recommend: Yes ★★★★

Interactive Chinese can be used on the iPhone、iPad and even through the PC. The software has 6 levels and 180 lessons in total. Each unit has three parts:lessons, notes, and exercises. In lessons, there are three videos, with Chinese subtitles. In notes, the app provides new sentences, vocabulary and grammar points.

10. Others

l  China Radio  Recommend: Yes ★★★★★

Students can listen to 14 Chinese programs, such as Chinamerica Hit Radio, Washington Chinese Radio etc. Students are exposed to authentic Mandarin, and could learn news, popular culture.

l  Idioms     Recommend: Yes ★★★★

Specifically for learning idioms, very similar to quote of the day. Each idiom has pinyin and English translation, and a brief story.

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In conclusion, the Chinese learning apps that are available now mainly focus on practicing student listening skills. Lacking interaction is the major restriction for all language learning apps, but if you use them wisely during your studies,  you’ll definitely see the benefits. 

 

 

 

6 Responses leave one →
  1. waski permalink
    July 23, 2013

    I also recommend Pleko as a dictionary which is very useful. The other very good resource is
    Chinese Stories – Elementary
    https://itunes.apple.com/app/chinese-stories-elementary/id626627934?l=en&mt=8
    It has lots interesting stories, I like it a lot.

  2. August 11, 2013

    I have studied Chinese for about five years and continue to do so.

    The two apps I use on my iPad to learn Chinese are:

    1) eStroke: I have no affiliation with this application. The main reason I use this app is for the dictionary definitions and Chinese character stroke animation.
    Website: http://www.eon.com.hk/estroke/download.html
    2) nommoc: I am affiliated with this application. The main reason I use this app is for the Chinese character stroke animation and to practice writing Chinese characters.
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nommoc/id626158301?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

    There are so many apps for learning Chinese out there. I have tried so many. While using a million different apps is an option, in the end due to a desire for efficiency and budget, these two pretty much get it done for me.

  3. Cathy permalink
    October 3, 2013

    You should check this new app (supposed to come out this month in App store) and see if you can add it to your list! It’s called…. “Make Love in Chinese or English”! lol…
    Go here: http://www.appycode.com/makeloveapp/

    I found it through my friend’s Facebook feeds. It’s not like your typical language learning app, but it does have some interesting and ‘naughty’ phrases I must say!!! It’s got the English, Mandarin and also pinyin and funny images linked to the phrases/lines. I think it’s more suitable if you’re looking something that’s funny, catchy and has something that helps you to remember phrases/new words easily.

    Go to their Twitter/Facebook to check out some of their screenshots. See if it’s your cup of tea. I would definitly be interested to see what they offer. I really need an App that motivates me to learn!!!! PS: Seems like they’re going to give limited free downloads when they launch so make sure you get on their list.

    Hope this helps!!

  4. January 29, 2014

    Thanks so much for suggestion our Fun Chinese app. Very kind of you!

  5. April 27, 2014

    HelloTalk is the world’s biggest mobile language exchange social app, with more than 50,000 active Chinese users, with the following features:

    * Text to Speech
    * Transliteration
    * Voice to Text
    * Auto sentence correct by native users

    It’s really a dream app for people who want to practice Chinese because they will instantly find thousands of native Chinese dying to practice language with them.

    Here’s some reference article links:

    http://freelanguage.org/blog/travelinguist/apr/2014/the-worlds-first-language-exchange-social-networking-app-gets-an-update

    HelloTalk App on iFanr (Chinese article)
    http://www.ifanr.com/app/411472

    http://www.blcublog.net/2014/03/hellotalk-chinese-language-exchange-app.html

  6. johnny crane permalink
    October 11, 2014

    for memorizing chinese words in all the levels of hsk, there is this free app call HSK Locker in google play store you might want to check out.

    its a hard drill memorization that works for me

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