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Sunday, December 5th
For over a decade, Memrise has helped more than 60 million people in nearly 200 countries to learn a new language. Their Chinese lessons do a fantastic job of helping you remember what you learn, but without the stress and pressure you might feel when using other instructional platforms.
Fun and memorable native speaker video clips
One of the biggest ways Memrise stands out from other language programs is their native speaker video snippets. For instance, if you start with Memrise Mandarin Chinese 1 - The Basics 1, your very first lesson will consist of learning how to say hello, yes, and no: in Pinyin, with the characters, and with short video clips in authentic Chinese settings (factories, tourist destinations, random public streets, you name it).
Will you top the leaderboard?
As you master each word, you'll see a little plant icon on the page start to "grow" to represent your progress. At the end of each lesson, Memrise tells you how many points you earned, the time spent towards any daily study goals you've set, and where you rank on the leaderboard. You can ignore that if it doesn't inspire you, but lots of people find it motivating to do just one more lesson if it means beating their nemesis for that day or week.
Full of "aha!" moments
We absolutely love how Memrise shows you so much about each thing you learn: how it sounds in real life, the Pinyin for pronunciation help, the characters in Chinese, and both literal and figurative translations. (For example, most people learn early on that "nǐ hǎo" means "hello" , but Memrise is the only program we found that took the time to explain that the literal meaning is "you good" .) Plus, with the video clips, you get the opportunity to see how native speakers look when they're speaking: what gestures they use, the expressions on their faces, and so on. Big points to Memrise for teaching that from the start!
Lots to learn for beginners and advanced students alike
It's almost impossible to "finish" the Chinese lessons on Memrise. There are three main courses, Chinese 1-3, with 22 levels in the first two and a whopping 89 in the third! And, if for some reason that's not enough, Memrise also allows users to submit their own courses for others to enjoy. Interested in Useful Cantonese for Hong Kong? Chinese Emperors? Dim Sum? How to read a Chinese menu? These are just a few of the user-created courses offered through Memrise's Chinese lessons.
Free to sign up, pay to get all features
You can do a LOT with Memrise's free account, but if you want everything it has to offer it will require a subscription. A paid account lets you have much more control over how you practice what you've learned, like speed reviews or working on your listening skills alone. Each set of words and phrases finishes with review options, but most of them will be locked until you subscribe to Memrise.
Won't cost an arm and a leg
If you choose to subscribe to Memrise Pro, you'll usually pay $8.99/month, $90/year, or $139.99 for a lifetime membership. But, there's almost always a promotion on offer if you're patient. You might get a discount in your email once you've used the free platform for a while. We've also seen annual plans at a 50% discount as we've returned to the Memrise site over time. Best of all, some students have scored a half-off discount on lifetime access through a special holiday promotion. Any paid plans on Memrise are backed by a 30-day refund policy, in the event that you change your mind.
First-place winner for Chinese lessons
Memrise is the best all-around option for studying Chinese. Learn with authentic videos? Absolutely. Get content that grows with you as you advance in fluency? That too. Easy and fun to use? For sure. Add "affordable" , "popular" , and "satisfaction guaranteed" to the list and you'll see why Memrise is the obvious choice among Chinese lessons in our review. This program earns our highest recommendation.
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.
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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