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If you're interested in the language, you're in good company: according to recent statistics, there are more than 25 million people worldwide learning Chinese as a second language, with over 200 million people outside of mainland China who speak it! A few decades ago, eager students had to find a college offering Chinese lessons in order to learn, but today Chinese can frequently be found in high schools, enrichment programs, and even dual language or immersion programs for elementary school children.
Not one of the lucky ones to have classes nearby? Don't worry! There are many different options for taking Chinese online now too. Whether you want traditional-style lessons with detailed grammar explanations, multiple choice quizzes, and lots of repetition with flash cards, or you prefer a more modern, game-like approach, you'll have no trouble finding something that fits your learning style and your available study time.
Saturday, October 1st
Taking Chinese lessons can be exciting and effective when you use Memrise. Whether you're just starting your language-learning adventure or you've had some experience with Chinese, you'll have more than enough to learn here - and native speaker video clips help you pick up on gestures, mannerisms and culture too! Create a free account to see how Memrise works, then choose from a low-cost membership to unlock all of the available features. Memrise earns our highest recommendation for Chinese lessons.
If your priority is speaking Chinese fluently, turn first to italki for your lessons. These are like nothing else out there: your instruction will be delivered through one-on-one sessions with the tutor(s) you select, and there are more than 2,500 instructors to choose from! This is also one of the only services that gives you access to more than just Mandarin, if you need to study Cantonese, Taiwanese, or Hokkien. These Chinese lessons are remarkably affordable, with most tutors charging from $10-$20 for a one-hour session, and trial lessons are available for less than $5. italki is one of our all-time favorite resources for well-rounded language learning, and we highly recommend it for students of all fluency levels in Chinese.
Rocket Chinese makes it easy and interesting for beginners to take Chinese lessons. This well-known program gives you a holistic approach to the language, with plenty of opportunities to read, write, listen and speak - all within a cultural context. Many people like only having to pay once instead of subscribing, though it's also possible to pay in six installments if you prefer. This isn't the right program for more advanced students, but Rocket Chinese is an excellent option for brand-new students looking for Chinese lessons.
Beginners and advanced students alike will find plenty to study with Chinese Class 101. Many of the lessons are available at no cost, and you can get a 7-day trial of all of the features included in these Chinese lessons. If you choose the highest membership level here, a professional teacher will develop a personalized study plan for you, offer feedback on homework and on your spoken Chinese, and track your progress. The sheer amount of Chinese content can be daunting, but it ensures that you'll always have something new to learn. Chinese Class 101 is one of our preferred programs for lessons across many fluency levels in one package.
Looking for official certification of your Chinese studies? Give Busuu a try. You can receive verification once you achieve A1-B2 fluency levels through a paid membership, or just use your free account for as long as you like if you just want to study the language. You can choose three levels of difficulty or focus your studies just on the Chinese you need for travel. There's not much speaking practice, though, unless you work with native speakers of Chinese who also use Busuu and offer you their help.
If you want a fun way to learn some basic Mandarin Chinese vocabulary, including conversational phrases you can use right away, Mondly isn't a bad option. You can easily switch between Pinyin and the actual characters, if you need to learn to read in Chinese, and there are fun features like Augmented Reality and Chatbot to have a back-and-forth interaction that closely mimics the real world. You won't get much explanation on what you're learning - no grammar lessons or information on culture, tones, and so on - but Mondly is still an amusing way to begin taking Chinese lessons (or to review what you have learned elsewhere).
Rosetta Stone teaches language through immersion: in other words, when learning Chinese, you won't get any English translation as you work through the lessons. That's easier said than done, especially when learning a language that uses characters instead of the Roman alphabet! You should take full advantage of the free three-day trial here, to see if learning Chinese by immersion is a good fit for you. Most students will feel more comfortable using a higher-ranked provider of Chinese lessons.
Fluenz helps you learn Mandarin Chinese more comfortably by always referencing back to English: no guesswork involved! There are a total of three levels of Chinese lessons here, starting with basics for travel and communication and going up to the language you'll need for "more personal and nuanced conversations in important situations" . You'll pay a one-time fee for the program, which is covered by a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. Unfortunately, there's no trial or sample lessons you can take advantage of, to see how well Fluenz will fit your learning style.
Of course, Chinese probably isn't going to come to you as easily as a Romance language like Spanish or French. Not only do you have a completely new writing system to comprehend - one that uses characters instead of letters, too - but the tonal aspect of Chinese is notoriously difficult for English-speakers to master. (For example, a single change in tone can make the difference between saying "to buy" or "to sell" , "flower" or "painting" , or "panda" and "chest hair" !) You'll want to choose Chinese lessons that help you learn what you need most - like travel phrases or everyday conversation - while teaching you the well-rounded basics too.
How can you tell which Chinese lessons are right for you? Here are several things to look for as you consider different programs:
To help you get the most out of your language studies, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best Chinese lessons available online today. We're confident that this information will help you pick a program that fits your unique learning style and fluency goals.
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