6 top Learning Chinese websites: There is more out there than just Chinesepod!

6 top Learning Chinese websites: There is more out there than just Chinesepod!

chinese-the-fastest-growing2Years ago it was hard to find Mandarin books.  Years ago it was hard to find books with actual PINYIN.  Years ago it was hard to even get Chinese on your computer.  Heck it was hard years ago to even distinguish between Japanese and Chinese!

Amazing how things change in a few short years on this INTERNET.

Now, there are numerous places across the web that anyone can study Chinese.  That means everyone CAN study Chinese if you really want to.  Chinese is no longer an elusive language.  That means no more book and no more workbooks if that is the way you learn.  But the sites out there are really really fun and very informative.

I put a list together to introduce the 6 websites that I use or have used or you can use to study Chinese.  Go ahead and take a look.

6.  World Learner Chinese: I believe this website is based in Taiwan.  A long introduction and some of the programs are pretty good.  They often go on tangents.  Their higher level lessons are usually split into two shows.  When I posted comments they were quick to respond.  Recently they took a long break.  Now it’s somewhat difficult to even enter into the website without having to sign in.

5.  iMandarinPod: These people are from Tianjin and their podcasts are pretty good if you have some knowledge of Chinese.  If you are a beginner, don’t bother because it will only be frustrating.  Some of the programs are really long but I prefer the shorter ones.  I do like the fact that many of their programs introduce phrases that are not necessarily useful in everyday spoken Chinese but that all Chinese know and give you insight into the language and culture.

4.  CSL POD: Chinese as a Second Language podcast. They’ve got a nice new site design and upgrade I believe these people are from Beijing and their programs are a standard beginner, intermediate and advanced.  Advanced is just an article that they read, short and sweet.  Their intermediate is pretty good since they only speak Chinese to explain Chinese.  So if you are an intermediate or want to get there you should listen to these.  Their beginner lessons have both English and Japanese so I’ve actually learned a few words in Japanese from their beginner level.

3.  Melynks.com: I can’t tell if this guy is in the mainland China or from Taiwan.  Plus I can’t make out this guy’s accent in English.  I don’t know where Serge Melynks is from and I don’t think he tells us.  Even though his website numbering system is all messed up he makes a pretty good program.  He challenges you and his topics are always interesting.  MX says that his Chinese is really good even though his English leaves something to be desired.  The comments on his YOUTUBE videos are pretty hilarious but you feel sympathy for him.  But he doesn’t care because his Chinese is much better than yours!!  I enjoy listening to his programs especially the practical ones.

2.  Pop up Chinese: This is a new one that I’ve recently found.  I think I found it on a GOOGLE ad, which is pretty funny.  They are from Beijing I believe and the two foreign hosts are very knowledgeable about Chinese.  One American guy and one Canadian guy plus a Chinese girl named ECHO create a really good show.  Their education is pretty good and sometimes the foreigner tells the Chinese girl something about China or Chinese that SHE DOESN’T KNOW!!!  Hilarious!  They have a variety of levels, a story podcast, and HSK listening podcasts which is pretty cool.  If you want to feel really discouraged, try out the HSK Beginner level listening activity and found out how bad your listening really is!!

1.  Chinesepod: Everyone knows Chinesepod.  If you don’t, and I find people here and there who don’t know about it, than just click and go find out yourself.  They have a lot of money and a lot of people.  If you are lucky to have an account then you are good.  If you don’t want to pay money, then there’s not much for you.  Chinesepod is part of Praxis Language which also creates a plethora of other languages podcasts.  MX enjoys the Frenchpod but I try to focus only on Chinese… since learning one language is enough for me.  Recently they switched to taking most of their programs off the free area and you have to pay if you are elementary or higher.  There are some programs that are free here and there but the bulk is a pay for service.  The community area is quite active and interesting to look into now and then.  Recently their most popular show, THE AMBER SHOW and one of my favorites, was stopped because the host up and moved away.  Nothing really is filling the gap that the show created.  Chinesepod seems to start and stop with many ideas.  They did a cooperation with Shanghaist.com where they were doing a quick 4-5 minute show about current events in China and giving us the words in Chinese.  It suddenly stopped.  They started videos which promptly ended.  Then they started a RADICAL show which again promptly ended.  Now they have a show about Chinese Poems which most foriegners learning Chinese are not ready for.

0.  Shanghaihua: I had to put this one in because we are unique.  M and MX provides a little hobby for all of you.  Our FREE weekly podcast teaches you simple Shanghainese.  We speak both English and Chinese on the podcast so no matter who you are you can learn Shanghainese!  It’s one of a kind!

Now it’s easy to find Mandarin books.  Now it’s easy to find books with actual PINYIN.  Now it’s easy to get Chinese on your computer.  Now it’s easy to differentiate Japanese and Chinese.  Amazing how things change in a few short years on this INTERNET.

SO get studying and listening and speaking the fastest growing language on planet earth!!!

What is your favorite Chinese learning website?

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  1. Henning

    Hm. I wonder where you got that piece of information from: ” They have a lot of money […]. “. I just hope you are right. The current crisis currently massacres companies without a stable cash flow and proper financial reserves. It will be interesting to see which of those 6 companies will be still around 3 years from now.

    BTW: Did you know that PopupChinese is founded by the David – yes, the one who brought us among others the CPod-dict or the traditional-plugin. And also the Canadian businessman who got eventually killed by Ninjas.

    Popup is definately a nice complement to CPod. Allthough I currently have learning material beyond my capacity already.

  2. ChinesePod in the Asia Times

    […] – Ida who? I’m not trying to be facetious but these things are proliferating like crazy. This blog post fom yesterday mentions others I have never heard […]

  3. admin

    Henning, I meant that Chinesepod has a lot more money than other websites… it’s obvious. Just look at the website and listen to the quality of their podcasts.

    About the economy… I am sure there will be very few in a few years.

    Oh I didn’t know that POP UP is a CPOD take off… no wonder they have ADSO TRANS on their site too!!

  4. Alex

    Serge Melnyks seems to be of Russian origin. He lives in Canada and China. His lessons may be not so entertaining as e.g. ChinesePod’s, but you can learn a lot from these lessons! The systematic approach is well done, and his pronouciation is very good. For me the best value for money.

    You forgot CLO (ChineseLearnOnline), which offers a progressive approach as well with great PDFs, videos, Java vocab trainer and even an iPhone App.

    ChinesePod lacks grammar, writing, HSK testing – only fun lessons, which are mostly conversations. It’s a good start, but you are advised to use other ressources as well. CPod’s forum is horrible to use. Traditional support is poor, too.

  5. admin

    Alex, Thanks for your comments. I’ve never heard of CLO…thanks, I’ll take a look. Interesting ideas about ChinesePod. Have you told them??

  6. James

    Hello, I’m James!
    I’m one of the co-host at World Learner Chinese..yes..in Taipei, Taiwan. We,at WLC, focus more on the understanding of the usage of Mandarin Chinese. Correct, our lessons are long because we take the time to explain in detail. Not just gloss over the content of our lessons. In fact, our audiocasts and transcripts explain in detail about tonal and grammar usage than any other show of our type. All of our announcers are professional radio and TV announcers who love teaching Chinese! I feel very lucky to be able to work with such a wonderful team.

    We have been spending a lot of time with our physical school the pass few months and just reopened the public site. We are currently trying to build public forums.

    Thanks for the mention!

    World Learner Chinese Host

  7. Kevin

    Not only is there more than ChinesePod, there’s more than podcast sites as well. There are a few very useful sites that you missed:

    – nciku dictionary (www.nciku.com) which also has pronunciation, handwriting recognition, conversations, vocabulary lists, memorization tests etc

    – smart.fm (formerly iKnow), which has great flashcard-type exercises

    – Skritter (www.skritter.com), which helps you learn how to write Chinese characters

    – LiveMocha (www.livemocha.com), which puts you in touch with native speakers for language exchange and practice

  8. M and MX

    Hey kevin, yes, I love NCIKU. One day for some reason it wasn’t working so I scrambled to find another dictionary… i found a few others…but NONE, absolutely NONE were as good as NCIKU. Love it. Go there often.

  9. peter jiang-learn mandarin

    You have done a really very good job. Your introduction about 6 Chinese language learning sites are very helpful for those who want to learn Chinese. Keep introducing more. Thank you.