Seven Free Online Resources for Learning Chinese Faster

by: Kah Joon Liow

Are you learning Chinese?

Chances are, you’ve already searched the internet for information that’ll help you learn Chinese. And what do you find? Lots of sites offering free information on learning Chinese.

I did an online search recently and realized that with all the information out there, it can be pretty confusing for a person who’s just beginning to learn Chinese to figure out what’s useful and what’s not.

Where should you start? Which are the sites that offer you, the beginning Chinese learner, practical advice and Chinese phrases you can use immediately?

I decided to put together a select list of useful, free online resources to jump start your learning of Chinese and help you get better results in less time. 🙂

Learn Chinese Resource #1:

**How to Learn Chinese with More Fun and in Less Time in Five Easy Steps

This step-by-step guide does two things: it gives you proven tips on how to approach the study of Chinese for better and faster results plus the 80% of listening, speaking, writing and reading basics you need to know when you’re at the beginning stage of learning Chinese. Sign up for this 5-part mini-course at

Learn Chinese Resource #2:

**Chinese Pod

Free, daily Chinese conversational audio mp3 lessons (called podcasts) based on real situations (ordering food, renting an apartment, talking about yourself etc.) you can download, listen and review on the go to start speaking Mandarin right away. Start with their New User Guide. Visit Chinese Pod at

Learn Chinese Resource#3

**Five Beginner Steps to Learning Chinese Faster

Real experiences of an American learning Chinese in China. This funny and useful “5 Beginner Steps to Learning Chinese Faster” free email course doesn’t teach you Chinese but describes a beginner’s strategy for how to get out into a real Chinese-speaking environment and learn it for yourself.

Sign up at

Learn Chinese Resource #4:

**BBC Real Chinese

For those who plan to travel to China, learn useful Chinese phrases (note: no Chinese characters, only in pinyin, the Romanized script) for introducing yourself, getting around, shopping, booking a hotel in China etc. in this interesting ten-part, online beginner’s Mandarin course in slideshow format with text, images and audio followed by a one-minute video shot in China and cultural notes. Learn BBC Real Chinese at

Learn Chinese Resource #5:

**Chinese Forums

Find like-minded, motivated Chinese learners to discuss topics related to learning Chinese and Chinese culture. is an online community of people with an interest in learning Chinese language and culture. When you’re just starting to learn Chinese, keeping yourself motivated is vital for getting results. This is where you’ll find other motivated Chinese learners of all skill levels to exchange tips and information whether it’s about overcoming difficulties in learning Chinese Mandarin or sharing your favorite Chinese movie or travel destination in China. Visit

Learn Chinese Resource #6:

**CRI Radio

A great site to read and listen to radio broadcasts in English and Chinese about China and life in China – China news, culture, sports, travel, entertainment etc. CRI Radio can be found at

Learn Chinese Resource #7:

**Chinese Fonts

If you’re not reading Chinese characters properly on your computer, like the chinese words for “learn Chinese” 学中文 follow the link to find out how to display and type Chinese fonts on your Windows or Mac computer:

There you have it — seven free online resources for learning Chinese faster.

If there’s any “secret” to learning Chinese faster and with better results, it’s this: learn a little, use a lot!

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, or fret about getting the pronunciation right.

Start by speaking Mandarin with Chinese friends whenever you can. There’ll be lots of slip-ups along the way, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you can accomplish in a short time!

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Learn Chinese Pronunciation: the 80/20 Guide, Part 1

by: Kah Joon Liow

“I want to learn Chinese but just give me the basics!”

That’s what this Chinese pronunciation guide is all about. It’s all that you need to know about the pinyin system of Chinese pronunciation to get by.

The 80% that’s important. (Spend 20% of time to learn the 80% that’s important.)

To speak Mandarin, the first thing is to learn Chinese pronunciation of words using the system known as pinyin.

Pinyin is the Romanized Chinese phonetic system and is the most effective aid to learn Chinese pronunciation today. (Romanized means using English alphabets.) Pinyin was invented in the 1950’s so that anyone, especially English speaking people, could learn Chinese pronunciation easily.

Most of the letters in pinyin have the same sounds as letters of the alphabet – with only a few exceptions. It’s really a very practical system that reduces the time it takes to learn Chinese words.

Can you imagine an English speaker trying to pronounce Chinese characters without pinyin?

First, “The Four Tones” of Chinese pronunciation

Chinese is a tonal language. This means each Chinese character is a syllable with a fixed tone. A different tone is a different Chinese character and hence a different meaning. To learn Chinese, you’ll have to learn Chinese characters individually.

Chinese pronunciation involves four tones, each indicated by a tone mark. The tone marks are placed over the vowels. (If the letter “i” has a tone mark over it, the dot is removed.”

First Tone: a high, level tone represented by “-“ as in mā 妈 “mother”

Second Tone: a rising, questioning tone represented by “/” as in má 麻 “to have pins and needles”

Third Tone: a drawling tone falling then rising represented by “v” as in mǎ 马 “horse”

Fourth Tone: a sharp falling tone represented by “\” as in mà 骂 “to scold”

Each syllable is written as a combination of consonants and vowels, plus the tone mark. Some syllables don’t start with consonants. And the only consonants that come after vowels are are the nasal “n” or “ng”.

(From here on, I’m just going to use 1, 2 3, 4 to represent the four tones in Chinese pronunciation.)

You can see the importance of getting the tones right when you learn Chinese pronunciation to avoid misunderstandings and comic situations.

A friend of mine just learnt the Chinese words for “secretary” “mi4 shu1” and instead said “mystery book” “mi2 shu1”. I bet you’ve heard stories like that of people.

It will take some time to get the tones right because they’re not “natural” to English speakers. Do your best when to pick up the tones when you learn Chinese, but don’t be deterred. Eventually you’ll get it. But just so you know, you don’t have to be perfect.

I have American friends living in Shanghai who get by fine with a flat tone. Of course, breakdowns in communication arise now and then, but the Chinese people can see you’re a foreigner learning the Chinese language (i.e. their language) and they’ll try hard to make sense of what you say.

So, they’re doing all the “hard work”!

Want to learn Chinese? Get more 80/20 rules and tips to help you learn Chinese at

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The Push to Learn Chinese

by: David Snape

Recently, a trend has developed in high schools and communities around the United States. Many people want to or are now learning the Chinese language. This could be a good turn of events, but it can also be problematic. This is particularly so for those who know nothing about Chinese culture, history and the state of affairs in China today.

In mainland China they no longer use the traditional Chinese characters that go hand in hand with Chinese history. For some reason, the Chinese Communist Party decided to alter the Chinese language and thereby change the vehicle for written communication.

Traditional Chinese characters evolved naturally over a period of time from pictographs or small drawings. By contrast the simplified Chinese created by the Chinese Communist Party has watered many of the traditional characters down to the point that they no longer are rooted in more ancient traditions.

Here is an example. The traditional Chinese character for the word ‘love’ contains a picture of a heart in it. This makes sense because love is closely associated to the heart. Not so in simplified Chinese. There is no heart in the word ‘love’ in simplified Chinese. One may ponder how you can love without a heart.

Just as this example shows, in many ways the Chinese Communist Party has removed the heart of the entire language, distorting and altering it into a water downed version of its former self. In Taiwan, however, they still use traditional characters.

So if your community or children’s school is planning to teach Chinese, you may wish to ensure that you are getting the traditional variety. It more fully encompasses the rich history of China and the Chinese people. By contrast, those who teach our children simplified Chinese are from mainland China and unfortunately, they will also be passing on the values and ideas of the Chinese Communist Party. Whether they do so on purpose or automatically as a result of growing up in that environment, the end result is the same. Only you can decide if you want the influence of the Chinese Communist Party imparted to your children.

Be sure to insist that our children are taught traditional Chinese and not the simplified version. This way the richness of traditional Chinese culture can be more fully enjoyed and appreciated. There will be a more solid foundation to understand the more ancient Chinese traditions.

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How Is Learning Chinese Writing Different From Learning A Western Language?

by: Kah Joon Liow

In the modern Chinese writing system, each character is a form of its own, representing a particular sound and at least one meaning.

In other words, each Chinese symbol is a unity of form, sound and meaning.

To learn Chinese writing, you need to know each Chinese symbol or character individually.

You will need a vocabulary of at least 3,000 characters to understand 90% of what you read.
A vocabulary of 4-5,000 characters allows you to understand almost everything written in Chinese in the modern context.

Although there are more than 60,000 characters listed in the largest Chinese dictionaries most of them are ancient symbols and no longer in use.

Only a very small proportion of Chinese characters- some 300, perhaps- are simple representations of natural objects; all others are composite signs.

Each sign generally has two components:

a graphic component (which represent a man, woman, tree etc.)
and a phonetic component, which gives some idea of the pronunciation.

Learning Chinese writing is quite different from learning a Western language.

To learn a Western language like English, you need to know a whole series of sounds.

If you take an English word apart, separating it into its many phonetic syllables, it would lose its meaning altogether.

In learn Chinese writing, you first learn the characters and then you learn the word.

Take, for instance, the Chinese word da4 xue2 大学 which means “university”. First you learn da4 “big” and xue2 “school; learn” separately.

Although the meaning of da xue has to do with da and xue, it is not a simple case of da ”big” plus xue ”school”.

It does not mean “big school”.

If you were to take the English word “university” and try to figure out its meaning based on the meanings of the five syllabic components u/ni/ver/sit/ty, you would not understand anything because they mean nothing.

So, the Chinese character forms the basis in learning Chinese writing whereas the word or sentence forms the basis for learning a Western language.

In Chinese writing, the symbol is the unit carrier of meaning whereas in English it is the word which serves the same purpose.
Chinese characters are essentially pictures and they appeal to the eye.

In comparison, Western letters and words are based on sound rather than sight.

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The Challenge Of Learning The Chinese Language

by: John Davison

Chinese is a language, or a group of languages, spoken by 1.3 billion people worldwide. If you believe Chinese to be one language, rather than a grouping, it is the single most commonly spoken language on the planet. It is spoken in countries like China, Taiwan Singapore, and Malaysia. If you are interested in learning Chinese, it can be intimidating and challenging. But learning Chinese can also be rewarding, and knowing it can have benefits for your career, and help to improve your travels to Asia.

If you decide to learn the Chinese language, there a number of ways you can go about doing so. As a college student, you can study Mandarin Chinese and earn a degree in it. Earning a college degree in Chinese will provide you with a solid knowledge of formal, or Mandarin, Chinese. You will also be proficient in reading and writing the alphabet, which is a standard alphabet throughout the Chinese-speaking world. If you are established in your career, and find it necessary to learn Chinese for business dealings and /or business-associated travel, you can enroll in an accelerated Chinese language course online, or by purchasing audiotapes that teach quick techniques, which will help you to rapidly learn how to speak basic Mandarin Chinese. Learning to speak Chinese this way is convenient if you need to learn it before an important business trip. There are several learning centers that provide accelerated online programs in Chinese, and many lesson on tape available for purchase.

If you are a student majoring of minoring in Chinese, or if you are a tourist with a desire to travel to Asia, an ideal way to learn the Chinese language is through participation in an immersion program. By doing this, you will not only learn how to speak Chinese, but you will learn about and experience Chinese culture. By studying Chinese in a city like Beijing, where the language is natively spoken, you will become part of the life and culture, and you will find learning to speak the Chinese language is much easier than you thought. Since it is a total immersion into the Chinese world, you will learn all conversational and idiomatic styles of the language. You will interact everyday with people who are native speakers of Chinese, and who can’t or won’t speak English with you. You will be taken on guided tours of the famous landmarks, as well as the everyday places. You will grow to understand and recognize the value of the ancient Chinese culture: the history, the art, the architecture, the food, and the people. You will attend courses in which you will learn the complex Chinese alphabet, how to read it, and how to write it as well. Learning the Chinese language by attending an immersion program is an ideal way to go.

If you are fluent in the Chinese language, not only could it help you if are established in a career, but it could also open doors to new careers for you. For example, you could take a job as a foreign language translator, where you would be responsible for translating websites, training documents, and other important business documents, while helping to bridge the communication gap between two very different cultures. You might also consider a career as a teacher if English as a second language. You have the opportunity to relocate to a Chinese-speaking nation, and teach the English language to Chinese students. Being fluent in Chinese will definitely make your relocation less stressful.

Learning how to speak, read, and write the Chinese language has many advantages. It gives you the potential to enhance you career by working and/or traveling abroad, or you would have opportunities to embark on new careers as a translator or a teacher. If you plan to travel to Asia, learning Chinese will make your journeys less stressful and more enjoyable. Taking the time to learning the Chinese language will open your eyes to a new and often misunderstood culture, and is an achievement that can be personally and professionally fulfilling.

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Integrating The Authentic Martial Arts Experience From China In Your Study Chinese Program

by: Kevin Young

Bruce Lee, Jacky Chan and Jet Li are the probably among the most popular faces of Chinese culture to the outer world than any others. The reason is simple – Chinese martial arts or more specifically Kung Fu and Tai Chi has been enjoying a steady popularity in the West since the 1980s. The whole range external martial arts or Shaolin Kung Fu and internal martial arts or Taijiquan aim not only at self defense but in building physical health and strength.

Kungfu and other Chinese martial arts are regarded as one of China’s most prominent cultural symbols. It is an indispensable medium of entertainment in grand ceremonies hosted by China displayed for an international audience. You must be recalling the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics.

Because of the charm and prominence that this form of martial art enjoys, a lot of people who like Chinese culture are drawn to study abroad in China. Martial arts are a door to introduce you into a grander Chinese culture; they not only offer fascinating insights into body mechanics but offer training for physical well-being; all of which is a good inspiration for you to study Chinese.

Most Chinese language programs would have their students learn Taichi boxing (shadow boxing), probably one of the most well-known martial arts. Learning and practicing Taich can inspire your Chinese language study a lot if you could really dig into the philosophy behind it. Based on the thoughts and ideas of Taoism, Taichi teaches the doctrine of harmony and balance not only between nature and mankind but also between men. Of course the details of it are far more profound and appealing to be discussed in a small article like this. Together with other oriental practices, Taichi is being regarded as one of the great tools of the New Age Movement and such other spiritual, self-cultivating or self-help workshops. Learning Mandarin in China will earn you great advantage for this purpose. So next time when you get chance to learn Taichi while participating in any programs for study abroad in China, try finding out more about this ancient art.

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Where To Study Chinese?

by: Kevin Young

Proficiency in speaking and writing a foreign language is always an added professional asset. It also opens your eyes to a different culture, language being the key to the life and culture of any particular country. People are realizing the importance of investing money for learning foreign languages. Professional advantage is the basic reason encouraging students to explore foreign language programs. Among foreign languages used in business, Spanish, French and German have been enjoying a steady market for years. The relatively unsaturated language like Japanese and Mandarin is now on their rise in popularity. People from around the world are noticeably getting engaged in learning Chinese and Japanese culture and their languages. Every year a satisfactory number of foreign nationals are visiting China for studying Mandarin, the official speaking language in China. A significant section of these students are from the US.

If you were thinking of taking up a foreign language course, you should choose an immersion program in that country. A lot of people are recognizing the great importance of learning Mandarin and are becoming conscious of the positive outcome of study abroad in China( Nearly 1.3 billion people speak Chinese languages, the largest group of spoken languages in the world. Mandarin is the biggest and most important dialect among the group. What could be better than learn Mandarin in China( You’ll be surrounded by people who speak Chinese; the environment and culture itself will force you to learn their language accurately.

Learning to utilize you skills in a practical field is of utmost importance. For Chinese this is particularly true. Learning characters and utilizing them properly within a given context needs thorough understanding and practice. There is also the need of training your ears to the language spoken by a native speaker. For all this, proper guidance is the prime key. Teachers experienced with organized curriculum for international students can help your Chinese language learning. Study the language in its cultural environment and gain the advantage of taking up foreign language exchange programs with local students.

Beijing and Shanghai has a whole number of language schools. But if you want study inexpensively in China while traveling some of China’s most scenic destinations, there is no alternative to Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan also known as ‘spring city’ in China for it’s wonderful climate throughout the year. Like all of China’s rapidly modernizing cities, Kunming has nearly all the modern comforts we have come to expect in the West. The city has diverse ethnic composition. Minds Abroad, a Chinese language school in Kunming is dedicated to provide top quality Mandarin Chinese courses at a very low cost. With a class size of maximum 5 students receive individual attention from teachers, all of who are university professors with several years of experience in international students. At a very competitive cost; small classes, experienced faculty with and scientifically organized course materials in Chinese cultural environment will be an excellent recipe for studying abroad.

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At First For Learning Mandarin Chinese Language

At First For Learning Mandarin Chinese Language

by: Wang Liguang

In the business world needless to say, speaking and listening are the most important skills in order to share your idea.
Let me put my concept straight if you know what you want to converse and you know lots of Chinese words, then you can easily create sentences in Chinese!

Well that’s what you will be getting from this website
Free learning more with sound at
You might be asking yourself this question How can I read and learn Chinese without knowing any Chinese’s letter? My answer is “You can start by reading PIN YIN language. PIN YIN is the language which is used by people who learn Chinese around the world.
My piece of advice is First of all, you should know about 3 things in Chinese. They are Grammar, Alphabet, and Vowel and Pitch Tone.

Somehow, if you’re bored out of your brain with the Grammar, you can just pass the step and get straight to the conversations. By clicking the sound buttons which will show you every word, you can try memorizing them all. This way is the easiest and most enjoyable way to learn Chinese. And at any certain time in the future where you feel that you want to learn it profoundly, you can come back to the Beginning. Make your own choice of learning! learning Mandarin Chinese free at

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Confucius Says

Quote from the Chinese philosopher Confucius who lived from 551 BC to 479 BC
Study the past if you would define the future.

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Ten Reasons To Start Learning Chinese

by: Frank Middleton

Learn Chinese Reason 1.

Chinese, is one of the Sino-Tibetan languages, or more accurately it is a group of different dialects of which Mandarin (Putonghua) is one. Taken together there are more native speakers of Chinese than any other language. To put this in perspective there are approximately 915 million speakers of Mandarin (without including any of the other dialects such as Cantonese), compared to Spanish, the fourth most widely spoken language in the world with around 400 million speakers.

2. You don’t have to learn Chinese characters to learn to speak Chinese. Pinyin is a method of writing Chinese in the roman alphabet. Hanyu pinyin spells the sound, and includes tone marks to help give the correct pronunciation.

3. Chinese literature. The dialects are not mutually intelligible but the written language is shared between them all. Although you do not need to learn to read Chinese characters to speak the language, by doing so you open the door to an enormously diverse and rich literature. In fact, the earliest record of writing was in Chinese characters although very different in form from modern characters (of which there are many thousand).

3. The Chinese economy is the fastest growing economy in the world, and so in the work environment even speaking a little Chinese will give you a competitive edge, if your company invests in China or is considering doing so.

4. Language and culture are linked and learning something of the Chinese language will help give an appreciation of the cultural heritage of China.

5. China is accessible to the foreign visitor in a way that it has not been in the past and travel to and within China is becoming easier, but to make the most of this opportunity for travel, language at a basic level is important. Mandarin is spoken throughout China.

7. China is becoming increasingly important in the world and may be the dominant economic power in the not so distant future.

8. Food. You can eat in the tourist restaurants in hotels but if you want to see more of China it is more better to try the food and experience the culture in local restaurants.

9. In 2008 the Olympics are being held in Beijing. In 2008 many foreign visitors will descend on China to watch the Olympics. It is an ideal opportunity, if you are lucky enough to be going, to stand out from the crowd by being one of the few who has learnt at least a few words of Mandarin.

10. Like any other language, it is possible to learn a few words and phrases in Mandarin, enough to be polite without spending years in further education. Linguata would help.

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