Chinese is essentially just like any other language, except that there's no tense, gender, conjugation, grammar, or logic, and all the words sound the same. Jonathan Walton (in John Cowan's Essentialist Explanations)

Since the turn of the century, and especially since the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Western interest in the Chinese language has significantly increased. The European Union has become one of the biggest markets for Chinese language courses, for example, those organised by the Confucius Institutes. (See China to improve standards of teaching Chinese as a foreign language, 04.08.2009; Chinese: a new Esperanto for the minority languages of Europe?, 15.07.2014; Chinesisch in der EU auf dem Vormarsch, 29.08.2014; Cultural exchanges between China, EU successful: EU commissioner, 23.06.2015; Master program on Chinese studies launched in Belgian university, 07.03.2015; Demand for Chinese language soars, 12.10.2015.)

This part of the Language Learning website focuses on Standard Chinese, which is often mistakenly called Mandarin.

6 Reasons Why You Should Learn Mandarin! (YouTube, 6 minutes).

General Information about the Chinese Languages

(There is no mistake in the above heading: Chinese is not a language but a language family.)

Websites and Blogs


Some sounds in Standard Chinese do not exist in many Western languages and often cause difficulties. Below are a few links to videos that cover such sounds.

Pronunciation: Tones

Some of the resources liste above already cover tones, but below are a few that specifically focus on this stumbling block.

YouTube Channels and Websites for Learning Chinese

Textbooks (and Companion Resources)

See also 5 Best Mandarin Chinese Textbooks for Chinese Learners on (November 2014).

New Practical Chinese Reader

New Practical Chinese Reader is a series of textbooks published by the Beijing Language and Culture University Press.

Matti Tukiainen's website has Practical Chinese Reader Vocabulary Lists. Practical Chinese Reader was the precursor of New Practical Chinese Reader.

Integrated Chinese

Integrated Chinese is a series of textbooks published by Cheng & Tsui. The companion website for the texbook at provides resources for learners (audio, vocabulary lists, flashcards, etc.) and teachers. Registration is required.
Some additional resources are available on other websites:

Specific Skills

Listening Comprehension

Reading Skills

Reading Chinese Newspapers

Many resources for learning Chinese focus on conversational Chinese. Transitioning to reading newspapers is not easy and there are a number of resources to help you read newspapers in Chinese.

Proficiency Tests

For learning materials for HSK, see the separate page HSK / 汉语水平考试.

Other Tips and Resources for Learning Chinese

Learning Tips

Learning Resources

Culture and Everyday Life

YouTube has many channels about life in China or Taiwan. Some of these contain interviews (including street interviews) with native speakers.

Writing System(s)

Learning Chinese Characters


Other resources:

How many characters can one learn in a week, a year, etc?

In The Chinese Language: Its History and Current Usage (2006), Daniel Kane wrote: The maximum rate for the absorption of characters, especially at the beginning, is about 30 a week. (Page 55.)
The question is also debated on many websites, often with a certain degree of vagueness. For example, what is working hard? (How many hours per day or per week?) What does it mean to “know” character? (Active or passive knowledge? How many meanings? How many words that use the character?)

Simplified and Traditional Chinese Characters

Transliteration Systems

There are many transliteration systems for Chinese, i.e. systems for the phonetic notation of Chinese. Some are based on the Latin alphabet and are therefore known as romanisation systems, while others are based on other writing systems. Today, the most important transliteration systems are Hanyu Pinyin and Zhuyin Fuhao.

Hanyu Pinyin

Hanyu Pinyin (usually known as pinyin) was developed in the People's Republic of China during the 1950s. Most modern translating dictionaries for Standard Chinese use pinyin; dictionary entries are typically ordered by pinyin syllables (i.e. not entirely alphabetic).

Zhuyin Fuhao (Bopomofo)

Zhuyin Fuhao is a transliteration system developed in the Republic of China in the early 20th century and is still the official transliteration system in Taiwan.

Input Methods Editors (IMEs) and Other Tools

Input methods are, strictly speaking, no learning resources, but every learner of the Chinese writing system needs them.

Forums & Q&A Sites


Language Schools in China and Taiwan

Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement.

Chinese Computing, Font Faces and Typography

Media in Chinese

The following programmes and media have subtitles in Chinese:

Teaching Chinese

Other Links

The section “Chinese Grammar” has moved to a separate page.