7 Best Free Apps for Learning Chinese Mandarin in 2021. (2022)

Nowadays it is difficult to imagine our life without smartphones. They help us communicate with others through calls, messages, social networks and various apps. When we have a phone with us, we feel more secure. With a help of various apps we can do things more efficiently and get any needed information in just a few seconds.

What about learning Chinese? Are there any useful apps for studying this foreign language? The answer to these questions is definitely YES. The list of available apps for studying Chinese is extensive. Some apps are designed to learn grammar, writing while others concentrate on building new vocabulary. They are usually free to use and you only need to pay for more advanced studying features. In this article we provided a list of some of the best apps for learning Chinese.

1. Skritter.

7 Best Free Apps for Learning Chinese Mandarin in 2021. (1)Learners who are interested in learning Chinese writing and reading, should definitely consider trying Skritter app. This app features vocabulary lists from various textbooks. They are listed based on learning level, popularity and alphabet. In total Skritter covers hundreds of textbooks that feature up to 10 thousand characters and 400 thousand words. Both simplified and traditional characters are supported by Skritter.

When using Skritter users need to handwrite characters each time (from scratch). While it might seem as not very fun activity to do, it is necessary for practice. Also this app does a great job at teaching the right stroke order.

Some other useful features of Skritter app is ability hear pronunciation of words. Audio files are done by native Chinese speakers. Hence you can be sure that you will hear good pronunciation. The app also gives possibility to learn offline. Once you are connected to the internet again, all your activity will be synced.

Skritter app does a great job at keeping track of users progress. Users can check how many new characters were introduced, practiced and even memorized. By following your progress closely, you will be more motivated to study and improve your results.

It is possible to install and try Skritter app for free. Trial period is for the first week (7 days) and later on you will need to select one of paid plans. Monthly price of Skritter is 14.99 USD and you can get yearly subscription for 99.99 USD.

Skritter for iOS.

Skritter for Android.

2. Drops.

7 Best Free Apps for Learning Chinese Mandarin in 2021. (2)Drops app is designed to make foreign language learning a fun and effortless experience. Users of this app learn new content through mini-games and memorable graphics. At the moment Drops support up to 32 foreign langues and Chinese is one of them. It is also possible to choose from two dialectsMandarin and Cantonese.

The best use of Drops app is to learn new Chinese vocabulary. As it is possible to hear pronunciation of vocabulary, this app can improve speaking skills as well. Learners who intent to learn Chinese grammar or writing should look for alternative apps.

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Users of this app can expect to be introduced to approximately 100 different topics. Vocabulary covers food, numbers, drinks and various other topics. In overall Chinese learners can expect to learn up to 1700 new words.

Unlike most similar app, Drops uses clean illustrations (icons and animations) rather than images. This works quite well, because there are no distractions in the pictures. Consequently it not too difficult to determine the meaning of words.

Activities in this app are divided into short sessions of approximately 5 minutes. Hence a common excuses that there is no time for studying and etc. will not work for Drops app. By dedicating very limited time each day you will learn new vocabulary and be able to progress with Drops effectively.

Learners who don’t like typing will definitely enjoy studying via Drops. When completing different activities you will only need to swipe or tap. Hence there is no typing involved with this learning app.

Drops app is available for both Android and iOS devices. There is both free and paid version of this learning app. There are options to choose monthly, yearly and lifetime membership. Depending on the plan you will select, paid membership prices varies between 2.99 USD to 189.99 USD.

Drops for iOS.

Drops for Android.

3. LingoDeer.

7 Best Free Apps for Learning Chinese Mandarin in 2021. (3)LingoDeer is still quite new language learning app. So far the main focus of this app is Asian languages, hence it is available for Chinese. The app is available not only for English, but also for German, French and Spanish speakers. It includes mini courses that are aimed for fast learning. The app includes up to 150 short lessons. By completing them, learners can expect to learn up to 2000 Chinese words.

The main focus of this app is introduce learners to vocabulary, basic grammar and sentence structure. LingoDeer provides detailed notes on grammar. So you will be able to learn more efficiently and you will not need to do any guessing. Pronunciation of words is done by native speakers. Hence it is possible to learn correct Chinese accent and pronunciation via LigoDeer.

Different activities challenge users to match pictures with words, select from multiple choice answers, order a sentence, spell and etc. Variety of exercises is larger when compared with similar learning apps. Hence learning Chinese with LingoDeer is engaging and not monotonic experience.

Other useful features of this app is ability to study without WiFi. You can download some lessons and use them for learning offline. To test users, LigoDeer also has quizzes. There is also Target Training functionality, which revises questions you got wrong previously. Hence you can work on Chinese areas that were more difficult for you.

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The app is completely free to install and use. There is also an option to upgrade your account, which costs 11.99 USD (monthly) – 159.99 USD (lifetime).

LingoDeer for iOS.

LingoDeer for Android.

4. Hello Chinese.

7 Best Free Apps for Learning Chinese Mandarin in 2021. (4)Hello Chinese is beginner friendly app offering to learn Mandarin in engaging and effective way. Users of this app can expect to improve their pronunciation, learn new vocabulary, Pinyin, grammar basics and character stroke order. By completing all activities in Hello Chinese, users can expect to achieve conversational level in Mandarin.

This learning app can be particularly helpful for improving speaking skills. This is because it comes together with speech recognition feature. It works by recording learners pronunciation and later on it is being measured. Not only does it encourage users to speak out load, but also it corrects pronunciation. All recordings in the app are done by native speakers. So you will hear correct Chinese accent and pronunciation.

Hello Chinese focuses on daily life situations and topics. Hence it is possible to learn mostly essential Chinese vocabulary from this app. Also game type of activities in Hello Chinese are based on HSK levels. Usually it takes up to 10 minutes to finish one lesson. So it is not necessary to dedicate much time for this learning app daily.

This app supports both Pinyin and characters (simplified and traditional). Hence you can select which of these writing systems you prefer to be displayed. Hello Chinese also features advanced handwriting technology, which allows writing characters by using your finger. Furthermore this app explains components and radicals of each character. All this helps users to learn Chinese writing easier and more efficiently.

The main Hello Chinese course is free to use. Nevertheless there is an option to purchase premium membership. It provides users of this app with supplementary learning games. Paid membership price varies based on length – 3.99 EUR (monthly) or 154.99 EUR (lifetime).

For iOS.

For Android.

5. Pleco.

7 Best Free Apps for Learning Chinese Mandarin in 2021. (5)Pleco can be categorized as Chinese / English translator or dictionary. By using this app you can quickly look up the meaning of any Chinese word or character. Instead of using Pinyin, it is possible to simply hand-write the character and it will be recognized by the app.

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When using Pleco, it is possible to get the meaning of unknown Chinese word by using your camera. Hence this app can be especially useful when traveling to China. You can use this feature to translate menu when ordering food or understand written signs. The app can be used offline, which is useful when traveling in foreign country.

It has some useful features such as handwriting recognition, stroke order, example sentences and others. This dictionary also has audios with pronunciations. You can even select speakers genre (male or female). Hence by using Pleco you can learn how to say Chinese words correctly as well.

Pleco can also work as a text reader. You can copy any Chinese text and later on paste it to Pleco text reader. This way you will get translation and pronunciation of each word in this text.

Pleco also has flashcard functionality. You can make new flashcards by using dictionary entries or simply import lists of vocabulary. This way you can learn and repeat Chinese words that are essential for you.

This app can be installed and used for free. Nevertheless free version gives only limited functionality of some features. Hence for full experience, it might be worthwhile to consider paid version of Pleco.

Pleco for iOS.

Pleco for Android.

6. Hello Talk.

7 Best Free Apps for Learning Chinese Mandarin in 2021. (6)Looking for a way to practice your Chinese speaking skills? Hello Talk can be very useful learning app for this purpose. With Hello Talk you will not find any lessons or flashcards. Instead it works like exchange app, helping learners to find language partners from millions of users.

When using this app you will be paired with native Chinese speakers. Of course in exchange you will be helping other users who want to learn English or other foreign language. Communication with other users happens through audio, voice or text messages.

When communicating with native Chinese speaker, you can use the app to translate all received text into English. This can be a useful feature when you don’t understand something. There is also a transliteration option available. What it means is that you can use Hello Talk app to convert Chinese characters into Pinyin.

One quite useful feature in Hello Talk is called moments. It allows users to post public question that will be visible to all native speakers of your target language. Hence you can find out more about language, culture and even get some traveling tips directly from native speakers.

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Without any Chinese knowledge, communication with native speakers might be not very effective. Hence it is best to consider installing Hello Talk once you get familiar with Chinese language. The app is free to install and use. Nevertheless users who want more features can choose to upgrade their account for a small additional price.

For iOS.

For Android.

7. Memrise.

Whenever discussing language learning apps, Memrise is one of the most commonly mentioned apps. It is available for many foreign languages, including Chinese. The app can be suitable learning tool for complete beginners and also intermediate learners.

When using Memrise app, users can expect to do various different activities. These include learning games, grammar lessons, practice conversational Chinese, listen to pronunciation audios, do quizzes and etc. Hence Memrise is useful app for practicing different areas of Chinese.

Most mini courses in this app are created by users themselves. Due to this you can expect a large variety of topics from this app. Some lessons might tech you characters, while others might introduce colors or even slang words. The fact that majority of learning content is created by users, means that it was made by someone who already learned this. Hence the content is presented in a way to make learning Chinese easier and more efficient.

Memrise can be used both online and offline. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices. Also it is completely free to install and use. Paid version with more content and learning features is available as well. The price for monthly subscription is 8.99 USD and yearly – 59.99 USD. From paid version of Memrise users can expect more learning modules, ability to practice with native Chinese speakers, more personalisation and etc.

For iOS.

For Android.

(Video) Best Apps for Learning Chinese 2022 (FREE Study Resources)


How can I learn Mandarin Chinese for free? ›

The 12 Best Free Resources to Learn Chinese Online in 2022
  1. Duolingo.
  2. FluentU.
  3. Skritter.
  4. YouTube. Lost in Translation. Krysti Naaa. Mamahuhu.
  5. AsianCrush.
  6. Spotify.
  7. Arch Chinese.
  8. WordSwing.
30 Jun 2022

Is there a free app to learn Chinese? ›

HelloChinese is my favorite of the free apps for learning Chinese. The lessons are organized similarly to apps like ChineseSkill and LingoDeer, but they go into a bit more detail with everything. There are also lots of speaking exercises which I really like, as they force you to take an active role in your learning.

What is the best way to self study Mandarin? ›

Self-study Chinese reading
  1. Duolingo is a popular app option for beginners. ...
  2. Memrise is another useful app. ...
  3. If games help you learn, try Quizlet, a free flashcard-making website. ...
  4. Practice reading stories on the Du Chinese app, which has short Chinese stories at a range of levels complete with English translations.
6 Sept 2021

Is Duolingo Chinese mandarin good? ›

Even though Duolingo might not be the best app to learn Chinese from scratch, it's still a good option if you want to review your knowledge of Chinese while having fun with games that are, for the most part, well designed. Also, if you wish to learn new characters about specific topics, Duolingo can help you do that.

How do I start learning Mandarin Chinese? ›

How to Start Learning Chinese: Your Comprehensive Guide
  1. Step 1: Learn Pinyin and the 5 Tones. ...
  2. Step 2: Gather Your Resources. ...
  3. Step 3: Practice a Little Each Day. ...
  4. Step 4: Use Spaced Repetition to Never Forget a Word. ...
  5. Step 5: Listen to Chinese a Lot. ...
  6. Step 6: Learn Basic Sentence Structure.
18 Jul 2022

What is my name in Chinese? ›

我的名字叫。。。 (Wǒ De Míng Zi Jiào…) — My Name Is… Another common way to introduce yourself is to extend 我叫… into 我的名字叫…

What app should I use to learn Chinese? ›

ChineseSkill is the must-have app for all Mandarin Chinese beginners. This app includes 500+ fun and engaging mini-lessons that will teach you everything from Pinyin to Chinese grammar and train your listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.

Is HelloChinese app free? ›

HelloChinese is available for both Android and iOS devices. It's free to download but features ads, and there are in-app purchases available.

What is a good app for learning Chinese? ›

HelloChinese is the best Mandarin Chinese learning app for beginners! Featured on the App Store in New Apps We Love and Notable Education Apps! Designed in a fun and highly effective way, it helps you learn Chinese Mandarin fast from zero to a conversational level.

How do I practice Mandarin? ›

10 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Chinese Right Now
  1. Do 5 minutes of Chinese flashcards. ...
  2. Read Chinese for 5 minutes. ...
  3. Get some listening going. ...
  4. Chat online in Chinese. ...
  5. Do 听写 for 5 minutes. ...
  6. Learn a Chinese song. ...
  7. Write 10 Chinese characters from memory. ...
  8. Call some Chinese customer service numbers.

How long does it take to self learn Mandarin? ›

It takes about 4-7 years (roughly 2200 to 4000 hours) to become fluent in every aspect of the language, if you spend at least an hour and a half to study every day. However, it's quite common for learners to become more fluent in some areas than others depending on how they allotted their study time.

How long does it take to learn Mandarin? ›

It turns out that it takes 2,200 class hours to learn Mandarin for English speakers. If you put the rest of your life on hold and focused only on studying Chinese – at 5 hours of practice a day, it would take you 88 weeks.

What level of Chinese does Duolingo teach? ›

Our Chinese course teaches more than 1,000 words and nearly 1,000 characters, covering all vocabulary and grammar points necessary to pass levels 1 through 3 of the HSK (the official Chinese proficiency test), as well as almost half of the content of level 4.

Can Duolingo make you fluent in Mandarin? ›

Though this can provide you with some useful phrases, it will not help you to become fluent. To learn Chinese, you really need to get a good grasp of the grammar principles, so for this reason Duolingo alone will not help you (especially at the higher levels).

Can you learn Chinese just from Duolingo? ›

Learn Chinese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.

Learn Chinese in just 5 minutes a day with our game-like lessons. Whether you're a beginner starting with the basics or looking to practice your reading, writing, and speaking, Duolingo is scientifically proven to work.

What should I learn first when learning Mandarin? ›

I suggest beginning to learn characters once you are confident you have Chinese basics like pinyin down. Once you start learning characters, start with the goal of understanding how Chinese characters work as a system rather than rote memorization.

What should I learn first in Chinese? ›

The first step is learning basic Mandarin sentence Structures. For a beginner-level Mandarin student, it is also important to know how to ask questions in Chinese because asking questions is the best way to learn about a language and a culture.

Is Mandarin Chinese easy to learn? ›

Mandarin Chinese

Interestingly, the hardest language to learn is also the most widely spoken native language in the world. Mandarin Chinese is challenging for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the writing system is extremely difficult for English speakers (and anyone else) accustomed to the Latin alphabet.

How do you introduce yourself in Chinese? ›

The most common and simple way to introduce yourself in Chinese is to say “我叫(Wǒ jiào)” followed by your name. Alternatives include “我的名字叫(Wǒ de míngzi jiào)”, “我是(Wǒ shì)” or “我的名字是(Wǒ de míngzi shì)” followed by your name.

Is Jade a Chinese name? ›

The word's origin stories include Portuguese traders in Asia and Spanish conquistadores in Mesoamerica, while its English form comes from an erroneous spelling. For the Chinese, the Stone of Heaven – more precious than gold – is juhk (Cantonese), yù (Mandarin), or jade.

What is your last name in Chinese? ›

你姓什么? Nǐ xìng shénme? What's your family name?

Is Mandarin Chinese easy to learn? ›

Mandarin Chinese

Interestingly, the hardest language to learn is also the most widely spoken native language in the world. Mandarin Chinese is challenging for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the writing system is extremely difficult for English speakers (and anyone else) accustomed to the Latin alphabet.

How many years does it take to learn Mandarin? ›

If you want to be fully fluent in Mandarin, you'd better plan to spend about 230 weeks, which is about 4 years.

How long does it take to learn basic Mandarin? ›

According to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) scale, it will take English speakers 88 weeks (2,200 hours of active learning) to reach native/bilingual Chinese proficiency.

What is the best website to learn Chinese? ›

The 16 Best Websites for Learning Chinese to Bookmark in 2022
  • Pimsleur.
  • Rocket Languages.
  • Chinese-Tools' Chengyu Story Database.
  • Chinese Boost Grammar Page.
  • Arch Chinese.
  • Udemy.
  • MandarinX.
  • Mandarin Chinese 1: Chinese for Beginners.
3 Sept 2022

What is the 2nd hardest language to learn? ›

2. Arabic. Arabic is the queen of poetic languages, the 6th official language of the UN and second on our list of toughest languages to learn.

Can I learn Chinese in 3 months? ›

With the right work and attitude, you can make massive progress in your Chinese learning in three months. And if having a conversation in Mandarin Chinese is your primary goal, it can be achievable with just three months of study, even if you're starting from zero.

What is the 20 hardest language to learn? ›

The Hardest Languages in the World to Learn
  • Arabic.
  • Russian.
  • Korean.
  • Navajo.
  • Finnish.
  • Vietnamese.
  • Mongolian.
  • Hungarian.

How many hours a day should I study Chinese? ›

I suggest you spend at least two hours a day studying, which will ensure you can achieve the intermediate level within three years. These two hours should be spent effectively, studying all aspects of the language: active reading, listening, speaking, and writing.

Can I learn Mandarin in 6 months? ›

Can you become fluent in Chinese after 6 months? Simply put, no. It's not possible. You can make great progress for sure, but fluency is a broad term, and you'd need a minimum of a year to get even close to spoken fluency in Chinese.

How many letters are there in Mandarin? ›

A modern Chinese dictionary has around 20,000 characters.

Some say more, some say less, but around 2,000 characters are enough for you so socialize taking into consideration the fact that you need to know 2,633 Chinese characters and 5,000 Chinese words to pass the HSK6 exam.

Can you learn Mandarin in 2 years? ›

FSI says you will need 88 weeks, somewhere between 1.5–2 years. Another yardstick is the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK)—the standard proficiency test for Mandarin Chinese.

Is Japanese easier than Chinese? ›

Japanese is slightly easier to learn. But, Chinese is much more widely spoken. Both languages have their pros and cons.

How can I learn Chinese in 2022? ›

Best Resources for learning Mandarin Chinese on YouTube
  1. Yoyo Chinese – beginner / intermediate.
  2. Everyday Chinese – beginner / intermediate.
  3. ChinesePod – beginner / intermediate.
  4. Mandarin Corner – beginner / intermediate / advanced.
  5. ChineseFor.Us – beginner / intermediate.
  6. Learn Chinese with Yi Zhao – beginner.
13 Jan 2022

Can I learn Mandarin online? ›

The world's most popular way to learn Chinese online

Whether you're a beginner starting with the basics or looking to practice your reading, writing, and speaking, Duolingo is scientifically proven to work.

Is Yoyo Chinese free? ›

Yoyo Chinese Review: Summary

Price: Subscription (to all courses) is $29/month, $149/6 months or $249/year. Lifetime access to everything is $399. Description: An online Chinese language learning company that focuses on quality video production to teach Chinese to students around the world.


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