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What are the apps I’m using
to learn Chinese?

What are the apps I’m using
to learn Chinese?

After our fantastic two weeks of Chinese language immersion in Taipei, we returned home to Melbourne. I was armed with a plan to continue to progress my Chinese skills rather than plateau or regress. There are so many fantastic tools and resources out there to learn a new language.  One of the easiest and most portable ways to practice, revise and learn new words and phrases is by using apps on your phone.  While you are commuting to work, at the hairdresser or even while you wait for your coffee, you can pull out your phone and spend 5 minutes on one of these apps.

What are the best apps I recommend?

Apps are not the only way to learn a language of course. I use many other methods (TV, practice exams, texting in Chinese, reading kids books and lots more), but the convenience of these apps can’t be beaten!

Note: many of the resources I recommend below apply to all language learners, not just for Chinese language. 

The best apps I use to continue learning Chinese now I am back home:


Yoyo Chinese

Yoyo Chinese is an online Chinese course structured around a series of short videos. You can choose from a complete beginner course right through to upper intermediate level, plus there are separate Chinese character courses too.  It’s all self-paced so you can study as much as want when you can.

Check out the free videos here


When I was commuting to work on the train, I had a lot of downtime which is perfect for some quick Chinese games or revision on my phone.  I was doing classes with the Confucius Institute at the time, and my teacher used Quizlet app to upload vocabulary lists, and we could compete against our classmates in a bunch of different word games! Quizlet lets you create your own flashcard sets, search for other vocab sets made by others, or as a teacher you can upload vocab sets for your students.  They also have a new voice recording study section too. Quizlet is a free app, but Quizlet Plus is a paid version with more features.

Languages: Chinese + Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, French, Italian, Vietnamese and lots more

Quizlet app screen shot

Lingo Mama’s Quizlet class vocab set in Chinese

Click here to download Quizlet



I love my Pleco handwriting app for Chinese. It is a dictionary but also lets you handwrite the characters (perfect for signs, menus and difficult texts). You can add words to a flashcard storage for testing and review too. Pleco is a free app, but the handwriting tool is a purchased add-on. There are other add-ons to the app too. I have been using Pleco since I first moved to China five years ago and find it really useful.

Languages: Chinese only

Pleco app Chinese

Pleco app handwriting tool

Click here to download Pleco


The Chairman’s Bao

The Chairman’s Bao app is a great tool for all levels of readers and gives you access to Chinese current events too.  Articles are written for readers from HSK 1 – HSK6 + level.  You can read the articles in simplified or traditional Chinese. There is an audio accompaniment to the articles. They have sample articles available for free, but it is a paid subscription service.

Languages: Chinese only

The Chairman Bao sample HSK4 level article

The Chairman Bao sample HSK4 level article

Click here to subscribe to The Chairman’s Bao


Anki flashcards

Anki is the Japanese word for ‘memorisation’ and it is a flashcard app. You can use Anki for learning anything – languages, history facts, medical exams, memorising poems! I use the HSK Level 4 word list in a flashcard format. The Chinese characters display on front side, and then you can press ‘flip’ to display the pinyin and English meanings. You can keep track of your progress by self scoring your recall of the words.

Languages: Chinese + Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, French, Italian, Vietnamese and lots more

Anki flashcards Chinese

Anki flashcards in Chinese

Click here to download Anki



Clozemaster Is another app which is great for practising phrases and expressions, rather than stand-alone words. You can play ‘fill in the blank’ games. It would also be great to review prior to a trip to a country where you didn’t speak the language. The downside of this app is that the phrases are completely random. I do like the playback though, so I can hear the intonation in the phrase.

Languages: Chinese + Bahasa Indonesia, Welsh, Danish, German, Spanish, Esperanto, Dutch and just about any other language you can think of!

Clozemaster app in Chinese

Clozemaster app in Chinese

Click here to download Clozemaster



WeChat is a multiuse app that started off as a messaging app, but has developed into so much more!It’s not a language learning app, but it’s great for connecting with Chinese speakers and if you live in China you will use it constantly. I use WeChat as my everyday messaging app to communicate with my family and friends. It has video/voice call functionality, you can share ‘moments’ with your WeChat connections, and use WeChat to make payments. It really does do everything and everyone in China uses it on a daily basis.

Languages: Chinese + English

WeChat app

WeChat Visit Victoria post

Click here to download WeChat


There are so many other apps out there. Here are a few more to keep you going!



LingQ is an all-encompassing app for language learners with live conversations with native speakers, podcasts, audiobooks, e-books, flashcards and dictionary. They have an online language learners community. The functionality looks amazing and there are heaps of languages available.

Languages: Chinese + Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, French, Italian, Swedish, Dutch, Polish, Russian, English, Latin, Esperanto, Ukranian and Greek

Click here to subscribe to LingQ 


FluentU uploads video content that’s interesting and entertaining for language learners. The videos are captioned and subtitled so you can constantly learn new words and phrases. I haven’t tried FluentU yet but it is on my list to try! FluentU is a paid service.

Languages:  Chinese + Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, French, Italian and Russian.

Click here to subscribe to FluentU


Duolingo is a great, free and addictive app.

Languages: Chinese + Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, French, Italian, Dutch, Czech, Hebrew, Irish, Russian and heaps more.

Click here to download Duolingo


Memrise is a free app (there is a paid pro version too) with over 200 courses in language learning.

Languages: Chinese + Spanish, Arabic, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, French, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Turkish, Norwegian, Russian, Mongolian and more.

Click here to download Memrise


Skritter is a character handwriting tool designed for learners of Japanese and Chinese.

It’s a subscription-based app.

Languages: Chinese and Japanese

Click here to subscribe to Skritter


What apps do you use to help you learn a new language?


Are there any in particular that you just can’t live without?


Let me know!


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Lingo Mama


Melbourne, Australia




I occasionally use affiliate links, which give me a small commission if you purchase one of the products or services I talk about in my posts. This does not affect the price that you pay in any way.




Penelope Wilson

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