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Best Mandarin Chinese Learning Apps  by sharakarasic

Sharakarasic
sharakarasic says: I lived in Taiwan for a year, and ever since then have been interested in maintaining and improving my Mandarin. Studying Chinese on my iPhone while waiting in line makes me feel superproductive. Serious language learning students, please add your suggestions in the comments.
sharakarasic's picks
  1. Learn Chinese FREE - AccelaStudy®
    Learn Chinese FREE - AccelaStudy® The free version of AccelaStudy Chinese teaches vocabulary words in a variety of subject areas and plays audio files of words which really helps with the tonal pronunciation. Quizzes included.
  2. Chinese Flashcards
    Chinese Flashcards Kind of barebones, pure character flashcards with no audio, but great for flipping through and testing yourself on reading Mandarin when you're in a boring meeting. Pinyin Romanization.
  3. KTdict C-E (Chinese-English dictionary)
    KTdict C-E (Chinese-English dictionary) traditional and simplified complex character styles. Try typing in "xie xie" which means "thank you." Be warned the search is not very forgiving - typing in "xiexie" shows no results.
  4. iCED Chinese Dictionary
    iCED Chinese Dictionary After you find the entry that you're searching for, it continues to search for compound or component entries to complement your search.
  5. Mandarin Chinese Free
    Mandarin Chinese Free A delightful app to get you started with Chinese phrases. Just push a button to hear "How are you?" in perfect Mandarin. Phrases are a bit limited, but this is a free version...
  6. Lost in China
    Lost in China ($3.99) It's not free - but this app just came out and it fulfills a dream I've had for awhile - to just be able to take a picture of a Chinese character and get a translation. I am going to need to upgrade my 3G because this app requires autofocus, but that should be soon, and then I'll review!
  7. Pleco Chinese Dictionary
    Pleco Chinese Dictionary Free but you can pay for various upgrades. Pleco is a Chinese dictionary that supports a wide array of free and paid add-on dictionary databases, full-screen handwriting, and Chinese word document search. There is also a radical index (radicals are kind of like the roots of Chinese characters) so you can look up character by radicals. Other advanced features include handwriting input, mixed character+pinyin searches, wildcard / full-text searches, stroke order diagrams, audio pronunciation, and flashcards. If you are a serious student of Mandarin and have used this app extensively, would love your review. I definitely need to play with this a lot more but it looks amazing.
  8. Chinese Learner
    Chinese Learner ($3.99) Learn how to write Chinese characters (Traditional or Simplified). The app will tell you if you've written it correctly - kind of. What happens is after you enter the keystrokes for the character you are attempting to copy, you get a selection of characters to choose from based on what you've drawn. You then choose the correct character - you must draw it correctly for it to appear. You must enable the Chinese keyboard in your phone's settings for this to work. Good writing practice and decent review of basic vocabulary. But I sorely missed audio here - that would really enhance this app.
  9. iSayHello English - Chinese
    iSayHello English - Chinese ($3.99) A decently-organized audio phrasebook that does a good job of with basic phrases for customs, greetings, small talk, hotel, shopping, eating, flirting, and emergencies. A little buggy for an app that costs $3.99. The UI could be tweaked a bit and occasionally phrases didn't play correctly. For a long running advanced beginner like me, it's cool to play through all the phrases to improve my pronunciation, which believe me needs improving. Is Lections a word or is that Engrish for Sections? Could be useful in action from "I have nothing to declare" to "Do you have a boyfriend?"
  10. uTalk Classic Learn Chinese (Mandarin)
    uTalk Classic Learn Chinese (Mandarin) ($7.99) Useful for beginners to learn basic vocabulary and some basic phrases through a series of progressively harder games on the topics First Words, Food, Colors, Phrases, Body, Numbers, Time, Shopping, and Countries. The basic game is thus: images representing key vocabulary words are presented and you listen to audio for one of the words and have to select the correct image. Harder games cement your vocabulary by timing correct images selection and by using a memory game. The UI and audio are crisp and clear, and a neat feature is that you can hear each word being pronounced by both a man and a woman. The only thing that could become an issue is that after you master basic vocabulary and the few basic phrases offered, this app becomes pretty useless, unless you will be able to upgrade to new sets of words (maybe that is in the plan?). Also, more intermediate and advanced users need practice not just with individual vocabulary words, but need to learn how to put together individual words into phrases as well as how to respond to common queries - so I'd like to see more of that either as upgrades or a sequel to this app.
Discussion

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

Hard-core Mandarin students who know the best paid apps - we'd love you to create your own list on Appolicious!

Thanks,
Shara

Reply to comment Posted February 09, 2010

ChinaPanda

Missing

I think you are wrong. You should update this list.The best Mandarin App should be: 10,000 Mandarin Chinese. It contains around 10,000 most practical and authentic sentences that are widely used in the daily communication in China. this software and (or) voice-dictionary covers China's most vivid expression. Whether you're sightseeing, travelling, studying or communicating with Chinese, it will become your indispensable assistant in all aspects.

Reply to comment Posted August 31, 2013

imajoj

Img-20120414-00635

Shara, Hi! I would also suggest Pleco Chinese Dictionary it has downloadable free dictionaries as well as paid dictionaries that you can download from within the app, and they plan to include a flashcard system early this year.

Associated Apps:  Pleco Chinese Dictionary

Reply to comment Posted February 09, 2010

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

@imajoj - thank you so much for suggesting Pleco. I added it to the list!

Associated Apps:  Pleco Chinese Dictionary

Reply to comment Posted June 07, 2010

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

Also see my new list Language Learning Games, which has two really cool Chinese learning game apps -- Language Master Mandarin and Chinese Word Search Pro (audio edition) -- as well as other language learning apps.

http://www.appolicious.com/curated-apps/869-best-language-learning-games

Reply to comment Posted July 09, 2010

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

I need to start a "Part II" for more than 10 apps - but in the meantime, really enjoying 5000 Chinese Audio Flashcards (linked below). My review: It does the basics right. This is not a Chinese phrasebook for a traveler on a 2-week stint to Shanghai. This is for serious students of Mandarin looking to solidify their vocabulary. Learn the 5000 most frequent characters through repetitive drills. First you see a character, then you choose the correct pinyin (which represents the sounds of the character), and then you choose the proper definition to get the character correct. You can also download custom decks from www.flashcardfu.com, or share your decks and browse other's decks.

Associated Apps:  5000 Chinese Audio Flashcards

Reply to comment Posted August 29, 2010

Lalalatravel

Missing

Hi sharakarasic!

Another great app for learning and practicing your Mandarin is i-You: http://www.yocoy.com/i-You/
They also have a speech output function if you are not sure if your pronunciation is correct.
Basically i-You, is a Mandarin phrasebook app that is a cool travel companion helping you to translate all you want to say into Mandarin. You can order a taxi, ask for directions, bargain and do your shopping and chitchat with the Chinese.

Reply to comment Posted October 08, 2010

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

Thanks, Lalalatravel - I'll have to check out i-You!

Reply to comment Posted January 21, 2011

SarahVW

Missing

Shara, love the app suggestions - just started learning and have downloaded a bunch...will come back with comments in a few weeks!

Reply to comment Posted November 12, 2010

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

Hi Sarah - enjoy - would love to hear about your progress!

Reply to comment Posted January 21, 2011

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

This is not iPhone only, but I found a great thread on Quora about Chinese learning resources: http://www.quora.com/What-are-the-best-online-services-tools-to-efficiently-learn-Mandarin-Chinese?q=What+are+the+best+online+Chinese+video+tutoring+services%3F

Reply to comment Posted January 22, 2011

Crossover

Missing

I highly recommend this interactive Mandarin learning with contents from the best China/Hk publisher !

Business Travel Mandarin (Chinese-English Edition

http://itunes.apple.com/hk/app/business-travel-mandarin-chinese/id414623477?mt=8

Reply to comment Posted February 02, 2011

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

Hi @Crossover, here's the Appolicious page for Business Travel Mandarin. Thanks for letting us know. I'll check it out.

Reply to comment Posted November 30, 2011

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

Hi @Crossover, thanks for letting us know about Business Travel Mandarin. I'll check it out!

Reply to comment Posted November 30, 2011

Sisi2008

Missing

I would recommend Shi Zi: A Primer of Chinese Characters 识字启蒙 at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shi-zi-a-primer-chinese-characters/id406376025?mt=8&ls=1. My child loves it. The animations are very helpful to her to associate the meaning with shape. She also loves getting Chinese art as awards for memorizing the characters.

Reply to comment Posted May 02, 2011

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

Hi Sisi2008, I just downloaded and tried Shi Zi! It's fantastic. I gave it 5 out of 5. I would love to be in touch with the developers...

Reply to comment Posted June 14, 2011

georgetan71

Missing

Is there an iPhone app similar to the Pimsleur Mandarin audio course? Pimsleur is great for just listening to Mandarin phrases, sentences, and dialogue. You can let it run for an hour straight through without having to press any buttons etc.

Reply to comment Posted September 09, 2011

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

Hi @georgetan71, I just tweeted Pimsleur (http://twitter.com/#!/pimsleur) asking if they have an iPhone app.

Reply to comment Posted October 14, 2011

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

Unfortunately, Pimsleur doesn't have a Chinese learning app. Too bad.

Posted November 30, 2011

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

My 8-year-old is now studying Chinese and learning the BoPoMoFo pronunciation symbols used to teach character pronounciation. My friend Albert showed me the BoPoMo Help app. It's a great way to review the BoPoMoFo.

Associated Apps:  BoPoMo Help - Zhuyin Pinyin Aid

Reply to comment Posted October 14, 2011

difint

Logot

One app you may be interested in is our upcoming app Hanzi Warrior for iPhone and iPod Touch. This is a language adventure game for both students and native speakers alike. One of its features is a Bopomofo game play mode (in addition to Simplified and Traditional words and characters). Check out the homepage http://dfnt.tv/hanzi and the YouTube video http://youtu.be/9BHYAWFUxBs and look for it soon on the app store.

Reply to comment Posted November 05, 2011

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

@difint I am so excited to try out Hanzi Warrior! Downloading it now.

Associated Apps:  Hanzi Warrior

Posted November 30, 2011

jlverbie

Missing

Has anyone checked out the trainchinese flashcard program or the chinese writer program? I am part of the team that works on these programs and I would love to know what other Mandarin learners think!

Great article, I think mobile devices are really underrated as study tools!

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/trainchinese-dictionary-flash/id333830076?mt=8
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/trainchinese-chinese-writer/id422248993?mt=8

Reply to comment Posted November 15, 2011

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

Hi @jlverbie, I will put the trainchinese apps on my list of Chinese learning apps to try.

Reply to comment Posted November 30, 2011

jlverbie

Missing

Great, I hope you like them!

Posted December 05, 2011

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

Today I just tried two flashcard apps great for intermediate Chinese learners - Chinese Radicals Audio Flashcards, which teaches you the 214 base radicals for Chinese characters, and WCC Chinese Flashcards (Bigram) with Audio Lite, which drills you on the most common two-character phrases. I'll read a newspaper in Mandarin yet!

Reply to comment Posted November 30, 2011

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

@difint I tried Hanzi Warrior last night with my son! What a fun way to bone up on BoPoMoFo. My 8-year-old son who studies Chinse kept trying to steal it away from me...I let him. See my review by clicking the app name below.

Associated Apps:  Hanzi Warrior

Reply to comment Posted December 01, 2011

difint

Logot

Glad to see all the positive reviews of Hanzi Warrior coming in. @sharakarasic Thanks for the encouraging remarks. We look forward to continuing the dialog with our fans as we work on new and upcoming releases in this series. Visit the comment page or send us an email http://dfnt.tv/hanzi/comments also find Hanzi Warrior on Google+ and @hanziwarrior on Twitter.

Associated Apps:  Hanzi Warrior

Reply to comment Posted December 02, 2011

unquiet

Missing

You should also check out Chinese Flash, it’s a flashcard based study tool with an integrated dictionary, 150+ word sets and native speaker audio of tone pronunciation.

Chinese Flash is newly released, but it’s sister program, Japanese Flash has 80+ 5 star reviews.

More info: http://www.chineseflashapp.com

Full Disclosure: I’m one of the developers.

Reply to comment Posted January 19, 2012

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

Hi @unquiet, thanks for letting us know about Chinese Flash - I'll definitely check it out.

Reply to comment Posted February 07, 2012

nathanielnuby

Missing

I'm really surprised that it's not on here but I'm going to rec chinesepod.com It's a really cool podcast learning system that's interactive and fresh. They also have the ChinesePod app (Free) that came out a couple of years back. To get it to work though, you need to be a paid subsciber to chinesepod.com - Thus being for serious Mandarin learners. The premium subscription cost is $29 per month - Bargain for a really professional but fun way of learning and developing your Chinese. 加油!!

Associated Apps:  ChinesePod Subscriber Edition

Reply to comment Posted February 03, 2012

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

Hi @nathanielnuby, thanks for letting us know about ChinesePod Subscriber Edition - I know a lot of serious Chinese learners use ChinesePod, so great that there is an app for it!

Reply to comment Posted February 07, 2012

juri

Missing

Nice list! I also own quite a few of your recommendations!

I myself definitely recommend "Sounds like Chinese", I have to tribute all my pronunciation skills to this one. I had a chance to download it during a free promo, just gave it a try. It looked very beautiful, but simple and I didn't expect much. But boy did it boost my tone skills :-)

Associated Apps:  Sounds like Chinese

Reply to comment Posted February 09, 2012

jollibee

Missing

Anyone who has learned a foreign language knows just how useful flashcards can be. I highly recommend this chinese flashcards (http://www.gflashcards.com/categories/508-chinese) for you. It's loud sync, study on Web, Mac, iPhone and iPad.

Associated Apps:  gFlashcards, gFlashcards Lite

Reply to comment Posted March 01, 2012

rNest_

Missing

Hello, my Mandarin teacher recommended me this, and I found it very helpful : http://nciku.com

Reply to comment Posted March 29, 2012

AnkiBlank

Ankiblank_2xpaid

Hi there,
Let me introduce brand-new flashcards app. You can freely blank out parts you want to memorize in the text. Tapping on the blanked out parts will display the hidden words.
http://ankiblank.com

You can learn Chinese with this app. And some users are using with pinyin (http://pinyin.info).

If you like it, I can send a promo-code! Feel free to ask me! @AnkiBlank_en

Associated Apps:  New Flashcards - AnkiBlank

Reply to comment Posted April 30, 2012

OzApps

Missing

Hi Shara, we have just released new iOS app called ChinesePop which is a fun game that helps you learn Chinese Hanzi characters.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on the app!

Reply to comment Posted May 02, 2012

OzApps

Missing

Sorry, here is the link:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chinesepop/id516027142?mt=8

Reply to comment Posted May 02, 2012

OzApps

Missing

I should add that ChinesePop is free! Please rate it if you enjoy it and are learning by using it

Posted June 18, 2012

sharakarasic

Sharakarasic

Hi OzApps, thanks for letting me know - I'll check out ChinesePop!

Associated Apps:  ChinesePop

Reply to comment Posted June 27, 2012

uwritechinese

Missing

Hello Sharakarasic,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFEI-dQZrQk
This is a Chinese Writing app targeted at kids around 2-5 years old. Would you be interested?

It will be only available on the app store in late july. I can provide the app with the adhoc mobile prov file via email if you have an email I can contact you with.

Christopher
uwritechinese

Reply to comment Posted July 03, 2012

Susu

Missing

Dear Sharakarasic,
I have been learning Chinese on and off for several years now and have recently released an app that tries to make real life Chinese news and magazines accessible to learners. The idea is to make practising reading interesting and easy. The app comes with a selection of real life articles with an instant dictionary and audio.

It is available on iOS and Android. Please take a look www.decipherchinese.com - if you're interested in doing a review please do let me know.

Reply to comment Posted July 17, 2012

Wanglaoshi

Missing

Hello, there,

I'm a certified Mandarin Chinese teacher and have taught the language in America for the past three years. Currently, I'm back to Taiwan and is going to teach some exchange students Mandarin Chinese. In states, I've used iPads in my classroom. According to my experience, Chinese writer and Mind snacks are pretty good apps, too! :)

The school I am working at is going to purchase some iPads. Thus, I was looking for some new apps which I could use for high school students.

Reply to comment Posted August 19, 2012

Chinese_Acolyte

Missing

My name is Erich (施瑞昇), and I’ve been studying Chinese in Taiwan for the past 5 years. I recently released Chinese UP, a FREE iPhone / iTouch game designed to help students review their Chinese characters through a fun and challenging puzzle gameplay. The app works with traditional as well as simplified characters.

Please try it out at http://www.chineseupgame.com !

If you like playing Chinese UP, please help me promote the app by liking it on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ChineseUpGame

Have fun playing ;) Erich

Associated Apps:  Chinese UP

Reply to comment Posted August 22, 2012

ChiefGrumpypants

Missing

Hi Shara,
I recently created an app for learning Mandarin Chinese via the use of the Diglot Weave. The Diglot Weave is a natural language learning technique that simulates language immersion through "weaving" the user's native language with the foreign language. It's an app for children and I would love if you could take a look at it.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/learn-chinese-chandler-little/id562671553?mt=8&uo=4

Reply to comment Posted September 27, 2012

peanutbananachips

Missing

Hi Sharakasic:

I recently created a mandarin game for my two boys age 5 who are learning mandarin in their kindergarten. Would love to see your feedback.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mandarin-in-space/id650497413?mt=8Andrea

Reply to comment Posted May 28, 2013

ChinaPanda

Missing

The best Mandarin App : 10,000 Mandarin Chinese. It contains around 10,000 most practical and authentic sentences that are widely used in the daily communication in China. Both normal reading rate and slow reading rate.
Blog: http://chinapandaedu.blogspot.com/
Itunes : https://itunes.apple.com/app/10-000-mandarin-chinese-free/id588688058?ls=1&mt=8

Reply to comment Posted June 20, 2013

waski

Missing

Thanks for the list, it's really helpful. I also use this app to improve reading skill.
Chinese Stories - Elementary
https://itunes.apple.com/app/chinese-stories-elementary/id626627934?l=en&mt=8

There are some free stories and can easily memorise the vocabularies I don't know before.

Reply to comment Posted July 24, 2013

ChinaPanda

Missing

I think you are wrong. The best Mandarin App should be: 10,000 Mandarin Chinese. It contains around 10,000 most practical and authentic sentences that are widely used in the daily communication in China. this software and (or) voice-dictionary covers China's most vivid expression. Whether you're sightseeing, travelling, studying or communicating with Chinese, we hope it will become your indispensable assistant in all aspects.

Reply to comment Posted August 31, 2013

ivanparo

Missing

Check those guys, they are building a nice system, i backed for mandarim and will have mobile app soon.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1823029873/papora-online-and-mobile-foreign-language-courses

Reply to comment Posted February 07, 2014

evolapp

Missing

Pinyin Beginner: A very effective way to learn basic pinyin.
# Loop listening on items on screen or single pinyin. ## Hide items that you become familiar. # Random Quiz on listening. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-dDjwNbm58

Reply to comment Posted February 21, 2014