There are dozens of websites dedicated to language learning, but most of them, at some point, require a little money. Fortunately, the internet is a big place and if you look hard enough you can find almost anything for free. If you’re interested in learning Mandarin Chinese there are several different websites you can rely on to help you along the way. Four quality websites stand out above the crowd.
Chinese Tools (chinese-tools.com)
Chinese Tools has been offering free online resources for the curious language learner since 2005. The site has several tools in its toolbox, including calligraphy training, a Chinese-English dictionary, the ability to convert Chinese characters from traditional to simplified, and input tool to let you enter pinyin characters through your English language keyboard. It even keeps visitors updated with the latest Chinese celebrity news so you can immerse yourself in the popular culture.
Clear Chinese (clearchinese.com)
Clear Chinese contains fifteen entire units of free Mandarin lessons, utilizing written materials and mp3s so you can study at your own pace. The courses are streamlined and easy to follow, focusing on necessary day-to-day conversation like time, work and weather. The site goes above and beyond many free language resources by offering free video lessons breaking down grammar, taught by expert language teachers and paced for the beginning learner.
FSI Language Courses (fsi-language-courses.org)
For the student of language looking for a no-frills approach, there’s FSI Language Courses. The FSI, or Foreign Service Institute, is the training institution of the U.S. Department of State. Naturally, language teaching is a key part of being a foreign service officer. The FSI offers courses for several languages online, including Mandarin Chinese. The training relies on recordings and downloadable supplemental materials so students can follow along. The website is very simple and straight-forward, so don’t look forward to a fun online learning environment. It’s all business at the FSI.
Study Blue (studyblue.com)
Study Blue isn’t explicitly a language learning site. It’s a free flash card service with hundreds of premade sets so people can study everything from medical terminology to — you guessed it — Mandarin Chinese. Sign up for a free account, grab some of the free Mandarin flash cards and practice your vocabulary at your convenience. Study Blue also offers free mobile support, so you can download their app and continue studying on the go. Repetition is a key element of language learning and flash cards are a must.