Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.

Mondly Review

Sunday, December 5th

2021 Chinese Lesson Reviews

Mondly Review 3.5 Star Rating

Mondly

3.5 Star Rating
  • App-based Chinese lessons
  • Uses games, contests and leaderboards to keep you motivated
  • Can practice conversations with Chatbot and Augmented Reality
  • Has voice recognition for practicing your Chinese accent

Pimsleur is a household name among language learners. Originally made famous for its basic 30-minute audio lessons, Pimsleur has expanded its offerings to include software DVDs that include flashcards, games, and other more visual methods of instruction to accompany their audio lessons.

Vocabulary revolves around themes

You can create a free account with Mondly and try out the "Hello" introductory lesson for Chinese (or any of the other 40+ languages in their library). You'll set your learning level as beginner, intermediate or advanced, but keep in mind that even at the advanced level, the content is still pretty basic. You can use Mondly as an absolute newbie or as a more experienced student who needs to get some review in. There are usually six lessons in each vocabulary theme, like Family, Pets, and City Tour. Depending on the subject, you'll get anywhere from 60-200+ new words and 30-80 phrases per topic.

Gentle, entertaining way to start learning new words and phrases

How does Mondly work? Let's say you're just starting out with the "Hello" lesson for Mandarin Chinese. Your first exercises will be matching the words "father" , "mother" , "brother" and "sister" with pictures, and then with the Pinyin (the approximation of how it would be pronounced with the English spelling). You can also use the toggle button at the top of the page if you'd like to see how it's written in Chinese characters - though we suggest primarily using the Pinyin setting at first. We love how smoothly Mondly moves from simple words to phrases to sentences: we never felt like there was a "gotcha" where it was trying to trick us into choosing the wrong answer, and we were pretty excited to be able to imitate some basic sentences at the end of the "Hello" material.

Not a lot of grammar

If you like digging into the mechanics of how Chinese works, you'll be a little disappointed by Mondly. The focus here is definitely conversation, through memorization of important words and phrases. You can "look under the hood" , so to speak, by clicking on the little blue box next to the "Redo" button when you finish a lesson; for example, on the "Hello" lesson you'll find the conjugations of "to be" in the present tense. But, that's a far cry from actually teaching you how that grammar works - and how you might use it to make up your own sentences in the future.

Best Chinese Lessons

Subscription needed for most content, features

You'll need a paid membership to get the most out of Mondly, since your free account only includes the first lesson in each language. A subscription also gives you access to the Chatbot and Augmented Reality features unique to this service. You can try one Chatbot conversation for free: it lets you "talk" back and forth with a bot like you would an actual person, and it's a solid way to work on your skills. But don't worry: you'll get suggestions for how to respond and you can play the audio for how to pronounce it before you give it a go. There's no trial for the AR feature, but it essentially allows you to superimpose a digital person on your environment and interact with him or her - in Chinese! Cool or creepy, we're not sure, and yet you won't find anything like it with other Chinese lessons!

Costs

  • $9.99/month for 1 language
  • $47.99/year for 1 language
  • $89.99 one-time payment for lifetime access to all 41 languages

Prices vary but they're affordable

Want to know how much you'll pay to use all of Mondly's features? Us too! We're only halfway kidding: we've visited Mondly a lot, and every time it seems like the cost is a little different. More often than not, you'll see "regular" pricing at $9.99 for month-to-month access to Chinese, or $47.99 for a full year. Mondly also has a promotional offer we've seen more than once, giving you a year of access to all of their languages (which could be 33 or 41, depending on which part of the site you look at!) for that same cost of $47.99. Finally, once in a while we've been offered a super-deal of lifetime access to all Mondly languages for the bargain price of $89.99.

No satisfaction guarantee

Mondly is one of the few providers of Chinese lessons that has no refund policy. For that reason, we recommend that you start with a month-to-month plan. You can always upgrade if you really love the platform - or if you get offered one of those mega-discounts later on.

Fun, inexpensive way to learn some basics in Chinese

It's true that Mondly isn't the most robust way to learn Chinese. There are other services out there that go much more in-depth to teach grammar, tones, and cultural context. And, we wish that this platform came with some kind of refund policy, especially since it's hard to see how far their content advances later on and whether it's appropriate for more advanced students. However, if you're just looking for a fun way to start speaking basic Chinese and you're on a budget, Mondly's a decent option.

Where Can You Find the Best Chinese Lessons?

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.

The Best Chinese Lessons Compare Chinese Lessons Compare Chinese Lesson Reviews What are the best Chinese Lessons Best Chinese Lesson Reviews

Chinese Lesson FAQ

With China being the most populated country in the world, it will come as no surprise that an estimated 1.31 billion people speak Chinese - approximately 16% of everyone on the planet! And, that only includes those whose first or native language is Chinese, not those who are learning it as a second (or third!) language.
There are seven primary dialect groups in Chinese: Mandarin, Yue (or Cantonese), Min, Kejia, Gan, Xiang and Wu. Mandarin is the most widely used and is the dialect you'll most likely use if you travel to Taiwan, Singapore, or China, particularly in the northern regions. Most Chinese lessons are based on Mandarin.
Chinese is one of four languages ranked as a Category IV by the State Department's Foreign Service Institute: a designation that means that, for native English speakers, Chinese is "exceptionally difficult" (along with Arabic, Japanese, and Korean). However, if you're patient and hard-working, you can learn to speak and write in Chinese!
Many experts recommend focusing first on learning how to speak Chinese. The written language is extremely complex, because it's based on pictographs and not a phonetic alphabet, and most learners have a bigger need to communicate orally than in writing. Chinese is a tonal language, where shifting the "shape" of one's voice can change a syllable into a different word. (In Mandarin, for example, the syllable "ma" can mean everything from "mother" to "horse" and even "to scold" depending on the tone!) That can be very tricky for non-Asian learners to master, making it a great place to start.
There's no way to study Chinese that's more convenient than online lessons. You don't have to worry about making it to class on time, being able to register for a course, or turning in homework! Studying Chinese online is also much more affordable, and it lets you take things at your own pace.
Depending on whether you're using a Mac or PC (or an iPhone or Android), there are different steps you can take to enable a Chinese keyboard. Your best bet is to do a search based on the operating system you've got and follow the steps to turn on the Chinese language functionality.
No! You can choose classes with one-time fees for a complete course or a monthly subscription for continuous access, but both types of Chinese lessons are very affordable. For example, one popular program has a 12-month membership for just $16.66 per month, and another offers two levels of Chinese lessons for $249.90. You'll have a hard time finding an in-person class for less than that!
Sometimes. If you've subscribed to a monthly plan, you'll probably be able to cancel future recurring payments. If you've paid for a package of Chinese lessons, some platforms will allow you to request a refund within the first 30-60 days of use. However, your best option is to use any free lessons or resources that the language program offers prior to purchase: many sites have partial or full lessons you can try before you buy, or a 7-day trial you can use before your payments kick in. That's a great way to find out if the Chinese lessons you're considering are a good match for how you learn and what you want to get out of your studies.
Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

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:

  • Pricing Structure. Will you be locked into a monthly membership fee, or is it a one-time cost? A recurring subscription might keep you motivated to learn, or it might go to waste if you're not diligent in your studies.
  • Approach to Teaching. Some lessons are very traditional, while others immerse you directly into Chinese with no grammar lessons at all. There is Chinese instruction that focuses mostly on conversation through memorizing important words and phrases, as well as programs that teach you how to read, write, understand and speak the language.
  • Difficulty Level. Almost all Chinese lessons are suitable for beginners. What if you've already studied the language for a while? Be sure any program you're considering has enough material for you to make progress, and take advantage of the sample lessons or free trial that may be offered so you can see for yourself.
  • Satisfaction Guarantee. Once you've paid for your Chinese lessons, can you get your money back for any reason? Not every provider offers a refund policy, making it even more important to see if there's a way to try it out before you commit.

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.

The Best Reviews of Chinese Lessons