1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Chinese
  4. >
  5. Mandarin tips, sites, notes?


Mandarin tips, sites, notes?

I've recently started Mandarin and I am really enjoying it. To my surprise the grammar is pretty simple so far, the tones aren't too hard and I'm not afraid of learning tons of characters. Were other people pleasantly surprised like I was? I'm taking into consideration that I'm only beginning and it could get really complex - but everything I've read says not to listen to people talking about difficulty of languages, as everyone is different. What are some intriguing and helpful apps, websites for language acquisition, for music, or anything pretty informative regarding this Chinese language. Anybody here get pretty far with this course? Do you acquire enough information to read a newspaper, or understand most of a song or do you feel that you haven't gotten enough exposure to the symbols? What do you pair the Duolingo course with in helping with Mandarin?

Specifically... tones aren't to hard but I could use some method to remember other than the one presented in the Tips & Notes. Basic grammar, apps to learn characters, stuff like that.

Thanks! It's been a while since I've been this excited about a new language. I'm hoping to be able to navigate through Chinese media and be able to skype with someone in Chinese when I'm toward the end of the course or so.

June 8, 2019



Hi Neo,

Welcome to Duolingo Chinese Course.

I too was also pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of Chinese grammar. I'm almost done with the Chinese Tree (84/88 skills, all 84 golden) and can tell it does not get much harder later in the course. I found this website (link) of great use for a few gammar points throughout the course or to refine my understanding of specific points; you will notice that questions about these points often recur in the forums, e.g. when to use/drop 的 or 会 vs 能 vs 可以.

Pleco is a must have Android App.

Anki is considered a good app for spaced repetition and I think the deck I use is the one linked on this reddit thread.

I've also bought a few graded reader series of Chinese Breeze edition tho it seems the Mandarin Companion ones are more recommended.

As to shows, I'm kind of fond of Chinese Cuisine and I find beautiful landscapes soothing, so I very much liked A Bite of China which has probably over 15h of content (YouTube links: Season 1, Season 2, Chinese New Year) and I am currently watching Last Train Home but it's pretty sad.

Various websites state that reading a Chinese newspaper would require knowing 2000 to 3000 characters (source). The course will teach you something in the vicinity of 1200 characters tho take this with a grain of salt, it's a guesstimate. I haven't tried reading a newspaper but will try to report back here whenever I do it one of these days. For what it's worth, HSK 6 uses 2500 characters and my goal is to try HSK 3 next fall and, should I succeed, HSK 4 by winter. HSK 5 will probably be in many, many more months; and HSK6 will be years from now.

Feel free to ask other questions and again welcome! :-)


June 8, 2019


Wow, thank you! This is really helpful. I'm about to check out A bit of China

June 9, 2019


Hahaha :P

June 8, 2019


ChineseSkill app.

June 8, 2019



June 9, 2019


I also find Chinese grammar simple and easy to understand. The biggest hurdle to overcome is perhaps the writing. There doesn't seem to be any rules on how to construct a character. The fact that there is literally a unique character for each and everything means you have to memorize tens of thousands of "drawings," and that's kinda scary.

June 12, 2019


There is a set of rules to stroke order but I never really memorized though because when I learned the stroke order to each new character I learned.

I recommend YellowBridge to see the step-by-step stroke order for each character in Chinese that you learn. https://www.yellowbridge.com/

June 13, 2019


Glad that you aren't intimidated by the language!

Here are some resources:

Pandanese Learn the radicals of Chinese and how to write Chinese characters, especially stroke order. Great structured way to build vocabulary. https://www.pandanese.com/

HelloChinese A great app to immerse yourself in Chinese lessons (similar to Duolingo), stories, and really interactive. Available for both iOS and Android devices. http://hellochinese.cc/

LingoDeer App to learn Chinese but they cater to a variety of languages. They've expanded to a lot of languages recently and I can't really attest to their quality besides the three that I've tried: Japanese, Korean, and Chinese https://www.lingodeer.com/

Free Workbooks Disclaimer, I made these. But they're good for learning vocabulary if you need that and have short little grammar notes. They're free to download and print but you can purchase the print copies on Amazon :) -- I recommend using YellowBridge for stroke order. https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/26714217

YellowBridge Learn how to write characters in Chinese correctly with stroke order. A little clunky and out of date but still a useful tool! https://www.yellowbridge.com/

That's all I could think of for now. Happy learning!

June 13, 2019
Learn Chinese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.