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Free Chinese Learning Online

Learning one of the world’s hardest languages can be daunting.   Here are the Top 4 free Chinese learning tools available on the web.

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1) FluentU
A new way to learn Chinese through authentic video content such as music videos, movie trailers, news, and inspiring talks. Each video features interactive subtitles allowing you to get more information about individual characters, create vocabulary lists, and review content from the videos you’ve watched. Visit at: http://www.fluentu.com.

Pros Cons
Unique approach to learning with engaging and comprehensive video content Videos are sourced from YouTube, posing a problem for users in mainland China
Learn the language while also exploring the diversity and vibrancy of modern Chinese culture Relatively new website that’s still improving and working out the kinks
Interactive captions allow you to get more from the videos and create your own vocabulary lists There is no mobile app currently available
Learn from authentic content that you’ll be able to use in today’s society

2) Anki
Anki is a flashcard application for your computer or mobile device that uses a spaced repetition program to help you learn more effectively. The program supports various types of content, including text, images, audio, and videos. Download at: http://ankisrs.net.

Pros Cons
Allows you to create your own flashcards or download user-created lists Can be a bit complicated at first; takes time to learn how it works
Operates based on your prior performance, allowing you to learn more effectively Some of the more advanced features aren’t very user-friendly
Flexible and customizable iOS app costs $25, though AnkiWeb is free
Available on practically all devices Geared toward more serious studiers
Allows you to sync with AnkiWeb for web-based study

3) Lang-8
Lang-8 focuses on writing in a foreign language. It is a social website that lets you write journal entries in the language you’re learning and then get those journal entries corrected by native speakers of that language. You can also help others learn your native language by correcting their writing. Visit at: http://lang-8.com.

Pros Cons
Provides a free platform for practicing writing Geared toward more advanced students
Offers a two-way learning environment with a very friendly and helpful community Beginning students might not understand the corrections/grammar
If you help others out, your entries will get corrected very quickly Requires a commitment to writing on a frequent basis to get the full effect
A great way to meet other Chinese learners

4) Livemocha
Livemocha focuses on learning a foreign language through courses and communications. To learn Chinese online, you can start a Chinese course, submit your answers, and chat with the members whose native language is Chinese. Visit at: http://livemocha.com.

Pros Cons
Free access to native speakers, language tools, and exercises You need to review others’ submissions in exchange for more detailed courses
Includes a variety of courses for studying as well as outlets for practicing the language Some of the grammar isn’t explained very well
Offers a chat function to talk with native speakers around the world

 

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