We find that it can be hard for our students to find the right online tools to learn Chinese. You can find many, but they can be expensive or just not so useful.
To help cut through all the noise and give everyone a set of tools to get going with Chinese learning we have put together a list (in no particular order) of some of our recommended tools to learn Chinese.
This tool is useful to memorize words in Chinese, it works showing you one word at a time, so you match the English word with its pronunciation in Chinese and vice versa. You can use word lists from your book or from the website itself, and you can study your lists from any computer easily.
It allows you to study at your own pace and always tests you on words you studied before so you do not forget them. The application is still in beta so it is constantly improving and anyone can join for free.
This popular Chinese online dictionary is a very complete resource that includes not only a dictionary, but thousands of examples, a community and Q&A section. One of the most useful features is the character recognition box which will let you input any character even without its pronunciation or correct stroke order.
This popular (but filled with ads) forum on Chinese subjects is very useful to get real practical advise from seasoned Chinese learners. Many of the forum participants live in China themselves so it is a very good resource, not only for language learning but to improve your cultural understanding and overall communication in China.
Although not online it is a very popular project to run virtual Chinese flashcards. It manages flashcards lists, displays stroke order and has a dictionary search function in English and Chinese. It is open source and completely free.
This website is organized as a virtual Chinese school. Its courses are “Textbooks”, which are very similar to real textbooks you could use in class. The textbooks have chapters about different topics and each chapter provides different sections: conversation, vocabulary, grammar, characters, exercises…
The discussion section will allow you to connect with your classmates in a forum. It also is an open Beta test so it is free for all students who want to join.
We hope that our introduction to free Chinese learning tools comes in handy for your own studies and you have found these resources useful. Enjoy your Chinese learning!