August 2, 2009

best Chinese Learning Resources

Filed under: Uncategorized — ktetaichinh @ 9:30 am

ChinesePod is the best online service we’ve found for learning spoken Chinese. The core of ChinesePod is its large lesson archive. These are dialogues with explanations of words, grammar, and culture by Shanghai-based radio hosts. ChinesePod is great for getting additional context for the language you know at all skill levels, and the lessons have great audio quality.

ChinesePod also offers a host of other study methods, including lesson transcripts, flashcards, memory games, extra sentences, exercises, personal tutors, and listening tests. Some of these are quite nice, and most are reasonably priced, but they focus on recognition (reading) of characters only–there’s no writing practice. Fortunately, if you use Skritter, you won’t miss it at ChinesePod. We take advantage of the audio lessons, and recommend it to anyone. It might even be possible to substitute ChinesePod for classroom or immersion experience, were one motivated enough.

MDBG Chinese-English dictionary The MDBG Chinese-English dictionary is the best dictionary we’ve found. It’s got handwriting lookup, sentence lookup, translation, quick searching without having to specify whether you’re putting in English, pinyin, or simplified or traditional Chinese. It’s based on the free, open-source CC-CEDICT dictionary, which we love and use in Skritter.

nciku nciku is a large, free site for gathering dictionary definitions and example sentences, managing vocabulary, and testing yourself on words and characters. They have some good word-based pronunciations, which is quite useful. It has a different approach than Skritter for reviewing words, more test-based, which we can’t recommend, but the rest of the site is excellent. With its example sentences, it makes a great reference tool. is one of the best solutions we’ve found for getting one-on-one Chinese lessons. They hook up independent teachers with independent students via a web-based audio platform, with an emphasis on flexibility that we think is very cool: you get to pick your teachers at any time and are only billed for the time you actually use. It’s a great way to support independent teachers, and one-on-one lessons can’t be beat for efficiency or motivation.

AJATT All Japanase All The Time (AJATT) is a powerful site run by Khatzumoto, who taught himself to seriously rock Japanese and is also learning Mandarin and Cantonese. They All Laughed When He Learned 4280 Characters Before Any Words, But When He Started To Speak! The site is like a pool of motivation in which you should jump, regardless of which language you’re learning.

Popup Chinese Popup Chinese is another source of audio Chinese lessons, with a couple neat tools like Adsotrans and a Firefox dictionary plugin. Good at disambiguating words in sentences when doing translations.

Chinese Perapera-kunChinese Perapera-kun, which is based on Adsotrans, is a slick add-on for Firefox that gives instant character and word glosses on hover over any Chinese text in your browser. Nice. If you use Firefox, go get it. has example sentences in Chinese and English for words that you look up, which is useful.

HSK Flashcards HSK Flashcards, run by Jake Marble, provides several good downloadable/printable word lists, as well as an online flashcard tool. Jake provided some of our word lists; thanks Jake!

What if English was written like Chinese? An essay explaining some characteristics of Chinese based on their structure, via analogy with English. Whether you know Chinese or not, this is a fascinating read. Pīnyī has a lot of information about how to use pīnyīn, some of the rules for which can actually be pretty complex. is the online version of a good dictionary & mini-etymology of single traditional Chinese characters. Good radical-based lookup.

Mandarin Tools Mandarin Tools has a well-done Chinese to English dictionary based on CEDICT and a plethora of tools for learners. offers students the opportunity to learn chinese at one of their chinese language schools in China.

PABLO PABLO is a free dictionary lookup tool for Windows based on CEDICT, if you want offline character searching power.


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