Across mainland China, the most widely spoken Chinese dialect is Mandarin. One of the best ways to have a rich experience in China is to learn to speak some of the language. Even being able to speak a few words goes a long way towards showing that you appreciate and respect the country and its culture.
TDE staff and teachers have spent countless hours studying and learning Mandarin Chinese and finding resources that work. Below you will find some of the best resources out there and the ones that have worked for us. This is by no means and exhaustive list and we will continue to update and provide references for the best learning materials out there.
This is one of the most widely used and recommended products for learning every day spoken Chinese. Lessons start with "Newbie", for those just starting out, and there are levels and progressions all the way up to "Advanced" level. This is one of the oldest and most popular apps out there, as it was one of the original podcasts teaching Chinese and has continued and improved over the years. There are now over 3,000 lessons, both audio and now video, and no matter what level you are at, there is something for you.
For those diehards that want to learn characters, Skritter is the best platform on the market. It gamifies the character learning and writing experience, and has a great community of users that import character lists from textbooks, create mnemonic devices to help with memorization, and share tips and tactics on mastering one of the most difficult aspects of learning Chinese.
FluentU is a brilliant platform that allows you to watch REAL videos in Chinese and dissect the language to learn new words and phrases. The emphasis with this platform is on immersion in the language and learning Mandarin the way it is naturally spoken.
leco is another indispensable tool for learning Mandarin. Pleco is one of the best Chinese dictionaries on the market, but there are add-ons that make it an even more valuable tool. You can buy extra dictionaries, audio plug-ins, handwriting tools for character look-up, optical character recognition (OCR) to scan text and instantly translate, a flashcard feature to conveniently add new words to study, and more!