1. Memrise (Android & IOS)
Has in-app purchases, to go pro opening other features. You can sign up for $9 a month or $60 for a whole year.
This is one of the best apps to learn Chinese because of the layout. It’s simple, clean and colorful. You start off on Earth and go further into space with each lesson. You learn 10 to 15 words on each level, and when you’re learning the characters, about seven.
Memrise starts off with learningnew words, you hear them and learn how to spell them. When you’ve fully learned the word a flower on the screen goes into full bloom. There are classic reviews which give you random words you’ve learned through the course of using the app. The speed review is pretty fun. During the speed session, it gives you lives and puts you on a timer to choose the right answer.
Memrise is on our list of best apps because it’s fun and easy to use. You get points and can invite your friends to join you. Battling to be number one on the leaderboards each week. This app makes learning fun which is always the problem. Memrise also gives you other languages to learn and different courses.
2. Hello Chinese (Android & IOS)
Quick tip: There are a few apps that are called Hello Chinese, but make sure to get the one with the little old man as the icon.
Hello Chinese has to be on any list of best apps because this one has it all. First of all, no in-app purchases. Everything is free, which is what you want when it comes to learning a new language. You don’t want to have just a beginner’s lesson only to stop once you start getting the hang of it.
This is another game based learning app. Getting points while working your way through. You can also get reminder notifications to practice every day. Learn pin yin, grammar, stroke order and vocabulary. This is seriously one of the best apps.
The first couple of lessons are about pronunciation and gives you a walkthrough and a quick lesson before you begin to sound like you’re speaking for the first time again. Each lesson stage comes with a handful of stages ending it with a quiz before you open up the next step.
When learning vocabulary, it uses the failsafe picture method, matching the word with a photo. It uses the Rosetta Stone method when it comes to grammar, giving you a couple of basic sentences and then builds upon particles. The app also gives you pronunciation stages so you can practice out loud, just don’t be shy about it. It teaches you the stroke order of certain characters then gives you the space to try it out yourself.
Download it and see for yourself that this is one of the best apps to learn Chinese.
3. Pleco (Android & IOS)
Various app purchases ranging from $10 to $30
This isn’t an app that teaches you Chinese through lessons, but it makes a hell of a translation dictionary which is why it’s one of our best apps. It’s not just any normal dictionary because it has so many cool features.
First, for looking a word up you can either enter it in Chinese or English. It will give you every version of the word since words can have different translations. When you click on the word it gives you the definition, a play of the strokes, the characters used, along with words and sentences that contain the chosen word. One of my favorites is that they have audio for each word if you’re still having issues with the accent marks.
You can even search for words in various ways, told you this one of the best apps. If you’re looking something up in English, you can use the keyboard or microphone. But when it comes to Chinese, you do the same thing, but wait there’s more. You can look up a word by using the strokes in the character. There’s a grid that starts from one stroke all the way to seventeen. You can also draw the character on the screen, and no matter how sloppy, it’ll catch your handwriting and match it to the character.
With the low, low price of a free download, you also get vocabulary quizzes. You can download bundles of words, and they’ll be categorized in flash cards. The actual flash cards are an add-on. It’s not a small list, it’s more of what they teach in grade schools in China, so it’ll be around 50 words or so in each bundle. But with all these features, you can see why this is one of the best apps to download once you start learning Chinese.
4. Chillingo (Android & IOS)
Features in-app purchases for coins used to unlock classes. Ten coins are equivalent to $1. So it may get pricey depending on how many free courses are offered.
Don’t scroll past this one. This is part of a new trend people are doing to teach languages. Chillingo uses real Chinese teachers! Let me explain; certified teachers are chosen and host different courses to teach you Chinese every day. You’re in a classroom on your phone. There’s even a comments section where you can upload audio and discuss with your classmates.
Each class has lessons teaching you grammar and vocabulary. There are quizzes at the end of each one to test out your test out your skills. Also, there’s a bilingual cultural article given out every day. So this is the best app to have if you want the whole classroom feel in the palm of your hand. A new feature is the one on one live class you can sign up for.
5. Learn Chinese Mandarin (Android)
Quick tip: Make sure to get the one with the cute blue elephant that’s wearing the Chinese flag band
In-app purchases are starting from $0.99 to $8.
This one is a good one that gets mixed in with other apps sharing the same name. But believe in the little blue elephant, he’ll teach you Chinese the best way she knows how. First, the voice that’s saying the phrases and words in this app is a native Chinese girl. So you get the real deal. But this is one reason why this is one of the best apps.
Everything is divided into categories, from greetings to health and some useful romance phrases. There’s an extensive library of words and phrases to learn through different lessons. This isn’t in a game style as a couple of others on the list. But don’t let that keep you away.
This one comes with flashcards, so you can study without having to take on a new lesson. There are quizzes to refresh and test your Chinese skills. You can even save words and phrases in a folder, which comes in handy when you’re trying to remember something.
The little blue elephant helps you in one other particular way. She tries to teach you useful travel phrases, so this app is best for those planning on going to China soon. The design of the app is clean and simple to use, and even has a search feature. This is one of the best apps for its simplicity, but it’s effectiveness in teaching Chinese.
Hope this article helps you choose which app to use to begin your journey in learning Chinese. Remember just to keep practicing every day, and learn to love the language. Good luck!