• Top 10 Best Chinese Learning Apps in 2021 (HelloChinese, Skritter, and More) 1
  • Top 10 Best Chinese Learning Apps in 2021 (HelloChinese, Skritter, and More) 2
  • Top 10 Best Chinese Learning Apps in 2021 (HelloChinese, Skritter, and More) 3
  • Top 10 Best Chinese Learning Apps in 2021 (HelloChinese, Skritter, and More) 4
  • Top 10 Best Chinese Learning Apps in 2021 (HelloChinese, Skritter, and More) 5

Top 10 Best Chinese Learning Apps in 2021 (HelloChinese, Skritter, and More)

If you love Chinese culture, watch a lot of C-dramas, or dream about visiting China, learning Chinese will come in handy for you one day! Whether you are a beginner or have some knowledge of Chinese, there are apps that are easily accessible that can help you grow in your Chinese language learning. This is why we have compiled a list of the top 10 best Chinese apps that can help you choose which one is the best suited for you.


Our top pick is HelloChinese. This is a great app for beginners because it includes fun activities and helps learners with the basics of writing and speaking until they gradually get to a casual conversational level. This is just one of the many apps available, so check out our other nine picks! We have also included a buying guide to help you know how to choose the right app for you!

  • Last updated: 06-23-2021
Table of Contents

Top 10 Best Chinese Learning Apps

There are many apps available where you can learn Chinese at your own pace. Here are our top choices to help you get started!

1
LanguageMandarin
FocusGrammar, listening, reading, speaking, vocabulary, writing,
In-app purchasesYes
2
LanguageSimplified and traditional characters
FocusReading, pronunciation, writing
In-app purchasesYes
3
LanguageMandarin
FocusGrammar, listening, speaking, writing
In-app purchasesYes
4
LanguageMandarin
FocusListening, reading, vocabulary
In-app purchasesYes
5
LanguageMandarin, Cantonese
FocusPronunciation, vocabulary, writing
In-app purchasesYes
6
LanguageMandarin
FocusGrammar, listening, reading, speaking, vocabulary
In-app purchasesYes
7
LanguageMandarin
FocusGrammar, listening, reading, speaking, vocabulary,
In-app purchasesYes
8
LanguageCantonese
FocusListening, speaking, vocabulary
In-app purchasesYes
9
LanguageHokkien
FocusListening, vocabulary
In-app purchasesYes
10
LanguageMandarin
FocusListening, speaking
In-app purchasesYes

Compare the Best Chinese Learning Apps

Image
1
Learn Chinese HelloChinese 1

Learn Chinese

2
Inkren Skritter: Write Chinese 1

Inkren

3
Learn Chinese Chinese Skill 1

Learn Chinese

4
The Chairman's Bao The Chairman's Bao 1

The Chairman's Bao

5
Pleco Pleco Chinese Dictionary 1

Pleco

6
Duolingo Duolingo 1

Duolingo

7
LingoDeer LingoDeer 1

LingoDeer

8
Language Drops Drops: Learn Cantonese 1

Language Drops

9
Simya Solutions Simply Learn Hokkien 1

Simya Solutions

10
FluentU FluentU 1

FluentU

Name

HelloChinese

Skritter: Write Chinese

Chinese Skill

The Chairman's Bao

Pleco Chinese Dictionary

Duolingo

LingoDeer

Drops: Learn Cantonese

Simply Learn Hokkien

FluentU

Features

A Well-Rounded Chinese Learning App for Beginners

A Writing-Centric Learning App

An Engaging Chinese Learning App

An App That Uses the News to Teach Chinese

A Dictionary and Vocab Builder

A Casual Language Learning App

A Well-Planned Language Learning App

A Bite-Sized Cantonese Learning App

A Flashcard-Style Hokkien Learning App

A Video-Based Learning App

Price$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00
LanguageMandarinSimplified and traditional charactersMandarinMandarinMandarin, CantoneseMandarinMandarinCantoneseHokkienMandarin
FocusGrammar, listening, reading, speaking, vocabulary, writing,Reading, pronunciation, writingGrammar, listening, speaking, writingListening, reading, vocabularyPronunciation, vocabulary, writingGrammar, listening, reading, speaking, vocabularyGrammar, listening, reading, speaking, vocabulary,Listening, speaking, vocabularyListening, vocabularyListening, speaking
In-app purchasesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Link

How to Choose a Chinese Learning App - Buying Guide

With over 50,000 characters that have different sounds and meanings, not to mention two ways of writing them and two ways to read them, choosing an app to help you learn Mandarin, Cantonese or another language spoken in China can seem really intimidating.


But don’t fret! Here is a guide to help you figure out which app can lead you to your language-learning goals.

Think About Which Language You Want to Learn

What we casually call "Chinese" is actually a group of languages that are spoken across the globe. In China, different regions speak different variations as well. Here are some of the main ones.

Learn Mandarin, One of the Oldest Surviving Languages in the World

Learn Mandarin, One of the Oldest Surviving Languages in the World

Also known as Northern Chinese or “putonghua” in China, Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in China. Its origins have been traced back to 1250 B.C., making it one of the oldest languages in the world. Over 15 percent of the world’s population are native speakers and billions of people around the world speak this language.


This is the language referred to as Chinese when used in Western media, for travel, business, and in international entertainment such as Chinese TV series and movies. Learning Mandarin is a good springboard to learning other East Asian languages because it has a heavy influence on them.


Mandarin is also the official state language of China, with more than 80 percent of China's population speaking this language. That means learning Mandarin will be handy when traveling to China or doing business there. 

Explore Other Chinese Languages

Explore Other Chinese Languages

Other languages are spoken in different regions of China. Learning these other Chinese languages can help you understand, explore, and converse with the locals from these regions. An example of this is Cantonese, which is spoken in the Chinese province of Guangdong as well as in Hong Kong. 


Another type of Chinese is Hokkien, which is mainly spoken in the south-eastern provinces of China. It originated in the Minnan region which is located in the Fujian Province in China. Hokkien is also spoken in Southeast Asian countries.

Consider Your Goals in Learning Chinese

In learning languages, you always have to have a goal in mind. Align what your goals are with your choice of learning app.

Study Writing to Get Acquainted With the Language

Study Writing to Get Acquainted With the Language

There may be different spoken dialects in China but mainly the same characters are used in all of them. This means that if two different speakers who would not understand each other if they were to communicate orally were to communicate through writing, they could understand each other.


There are two ways to write Chinese characters: traditional and simplified. The traditional way has more strokes, is more complex, and is more pictographic than simplified Chinese. The traditional way of writing is for people who are interested in the history of Chinese languages.

Study Writing to Get Acquainted With the Language

The simplified way is traditional characters made more efficient. In the 1950s, the Chinese government reformed the writing system to require fewer strokes to write the characters.


Some apps make you choose which type of writing style you would want to learn. In Taiwan, Macau, and Hong Kong, you'll find traditional more useful. For mainland China and Singapore, simplified writing will be more widely used.

Learn How to Read Phonetics for Better Pronunciation

Learn How to Read Phonetics for Better Pronunciation

In Mandarin, there are two ways to read Chinese characters through phonetic letters. The first is through Mandarin’s bopomofo or zhuyin, which are the traditional phonetic letters in Chinese. This focuses on the sound and makes for accurate pronunciation when you've learned how to read them.


The other way is by pinyin, which is the romanization of zhuyinAlthough pinyin does not give the most accurate pronunciation, it makes learning how to read and pronounce Chinese characters easier for English speakers. Some apps make you choose between bopomofo or pinyin to appear beside the characters you are learning.

Check Apps That Focus on Conversation for Listening and Speaking Skills

Check Apps That Focus on Conversation for Listening and Speaking Skills

Choose apps that include audio or video clips of conversations as part of the lesson. Listening and watching native speakers can help you improve your pronunciation and intonation, as well as comprehension. Some apps have activities where you listen then verbally repeat the phrases that you hear.

Try Holistic Learning Apps if Your Goal Is to Be Fluent

Try Holistic Learning Apps if Your Goal Is to Be Fluent

Some apps apply reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills at the same time. They have activities and lessons that incorporate all of these skills to help improve your learning in all aspects.


If you're looking to really utilize the language, for example for travel or business, studying all skills will be the best. If your goal is more limited, like passing a written test, you may want an app to focus only on specific skills.

Choose the Situations You Want to Practice

Choose the Situations You Want to Practice

Various apps have different focuses and content. Some apps include lessons on business such as the app Learn Chinese–Business Chinese.


Others focus on vocabulary that is used when traveling. Duolingo is an example of an app that includes travel vocabulary. Other apps focus on casual conversation and teach you the basics of conversing in daily life.

Know What Type of Learner You Are

Different types of people learn languages in various ways. According to some, there are four kinds of language learners: visual, aural, verbal, and kinesthetic learners.

Video-Heavy Apps for Visual Learners

Video-Heavy Apps for Visual Learners

Visual learners may learn best from videos or images that accompany audio lessons. Apps like FluentU use videos from YouTube or short clips from movies to teach learners basic phrases. Some apps also feature flashcard-style lessons that can help visual learners build their vocabulary.

Audio-Centric Apps for Aural Learners

Audio-Centric Apps for Aural Learners

Aural learners are said to have an easier time picking up a language through audio lessons. Some apps offer short stories or podcasts to help accompany the main lessons. Apps like Duolingo give audio recordings where learners have to listen and type out what they hear.

Interactive Apps for Verbal Learners

Interactive Apps for Verbal Learners

Some apps teach lessons by making you repeat the words. This type of method is one of the ways that can help verbal learners quickly learn a language.


Apps that help language learners interact with other people learning the same language are great for these types of learners. There are apps like Hello Talk that connect language learners worldwide.

Immersive Apps for Kinesthetic Learners

Immersive Apps for Kinesthetic Learners

Kinesthetic learners are said to pick up language easier when they are actively and directly applying the lesson. Immersive apps that include games, writing activities, and having the entire lesson taught in the language being learned may be best for kinesthetic learners.


HelloChinese is a good example. It has application-based learning, which is provided through games and exercises.

Choose Apps That Fit Your Schedule

Choose Apps That Fit Your Schedule

Some of us have busy days and can only allot a certain time each day to learning Chinese. There are apps like Duolingo and HelloChinese that give lessons that can be completed within five to 15 minutes


These apps also track your progress and give notifications regularly to remind you to open the app and start your Chinese lessons for the day.

Look for Apps That Can Test Your Level

Look for Apps That Can Test Your Level

Some applications give you a test to help you determine your level in Chinese if you're not a complete beginner. After taking the test, these apps will curate the lessons according to your knowledge of the language. 


Apps such as Duolingo test you first to help gauge where you are before it starts the lessons.

Looking for Other Languages to Learn?

Looking for Other Languages to Learn?

Learning another language is a challenging but highly rewarding experience. Read some of our other articles to discover great ways to learn the different languages of the world.

Summary

Chinese languages are complex and has their own unique qualities. It is important to know what kind of Chinese you want to learn before you begin your lessons. Also, keep your goals in mind while choosing a Chinese learning app. 


Know what type of learner you are. This will help you choose the app that is best suited for you. It may get difficult at times, but with the right tools, you will be able to learn smoothly. Good luck on your journey in exploring the Chinese language!


Author: Samantha Isabela S. Castro


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