Ninchanese Blog

Tips and tricks to help you learn Chinese

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Our selected websites about China and the Chinese language

We have selected some of the best tools and websites we use every day or visit regularly. It’s just a few that we particularly appreciate, the real gems you can use to learn Chinese online or to explore China from the comfort of your home.

Let’s start this article with the apps (or websites) we use the most and then talk about websites and apps you don’t really need to visit every day but are still extremely interesting to explore and you’ll be glad to know about. We visit them from time to time, only, true, but they always impress us with their meaningful content. We are pretty sure you’ll visit some and discover great websites in this list.

Ninchanese

The Chinese learning app we’ve made. Of course, we use it every day, multiple times a day. And well, Ninchanese is a very well-rounded app. There is all you need: Chinese characters, grammar, dialogues, how to speak and write and so on. You’ll learn Chinese at your speed, step by step and with a game-like style. It’s a great way to practice your Chinese, a must-have for every learner.

iQiyi

On the web, we like spending time watching videos, and If you’re like us, then, this one’s for you. iQiyi streams Chinese videos. You’ll find crazy Chinese shows but the perfect Chinese drama. What’s great about this website? You’re seeing comments hovering over the footage. We love to read them and see how the Chinese speak IRL.

Video QQ

Video QQ is a website made by the giant Tencent. It’s a great website since the videos don’t lag even if you’re not in China. Some videos are really interesting to watch, others are just plain crazy or odd. There’s a lot to browse! It’s also a wonderful tool to discover what the Chinese like to watch and to explore the Chinese culture, especially with the selection they make each day of recently uploaded videos that had a lot of reactions!

See what’s popular each day!


“I love the app, and I have been using it for a while.
It helps a lot, even living in China doing my thesis!” 

 – Yantas, Ninchanese User

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Web search: Baidu

The most well-known search engine in China is certainly Baidu. You’ll find every Chinese website on Baidu, something Google is not good at since it’s blocked in the middle kingdom. It’s a to discover website but it’s not really easy. You’ll often come upon websites fully in Chinese – that’s kind of the goal -, but that also makes it hard to explore for beginner and intermediate Chinese learners.

Electronic commerce: AliExpress

There are quite a few huge Chinese websites for e-commerce to explore, such as 淘宝 Taobao, or JD or Alibaba. Outside of China, we recommend one we’ve used, by the really well-known group Alibaba, called AliExpress. It’s the electronic commerce center for everyone from the Alibaba BtoB electronic commerce giant. Products are sold at a generally great price on it, but beware, the time to receive your product can be long sometimes. Definitely worth exploring!

Social Networks: Weibo and Wechat

We really love Weibo, it’s a Twitter-like website, with a little of Facebook rolled into it. It’s really active and once you start writing on it, you can get a massive Chinese following coming to you. It’s free and easy to enter in contact with Chinese netizens that way. You can even learn Chinese by using weibo, check our guide to getting started here.

Another great social/messaging service is Wechat. Nearly every Chinese citizen (if not all :D) have Wechat and use it for, well nearly everything, from chatting to banking to buying movie tickets and more. It can be a little bit harder to find people to speak with, than on Weibo since it’s more private, but once you’ve got some Chinese friends, it’s quite a nice way to communicate with them. One thing that’s good to know is that the Western version you can download outside of China is really light in features compared to the one they have access to in China. This is a little frustrating but well, everyone is on it so it’s always good to know about Wechat and be on it.

Fanyi Translator

Fanyi is not really a dictionary like Ninchanese dictionary, it’s much more a translator, hence its name 翻译 Fanyi (fān yì), which means to translate in Chinese. It works like Google Translate, only with better results. It’s all in Chinese, so that might be daunting and make you think it’s for experts only. Don’t let that stop you, the design is nice and clean and makes it easy to use and find your way around. It gives you lots of example sentences and definitions in Chinese and in English, so it’s a good resource to bookmark.

Radio: Rfi

Rfi is one of the best radios we’ve found to listen to Chinese speaking and music. It’s not Chinese, it’s all in Mandarin Chinese.  And, like any classic national radio, you’ll get Chinese news, weather reports and so on but you’ll also get to listen to traditional and recent Chinese music. It’s great to practice hearing Chinese, even if you don’t understand everything. Your ears get accustomed to the language and it becomes far easier to understand the different sounds of the language.

Chinese grammar: Ninchanese lessons

When we started learning Chinese, years ago, only the Chinese grammar wiki was there for free, and so their nice collection of Chinese grammar lessons definitely deserves a mention. Since then, however, we’ve switched over from the Chinese grammar wiki to Ninchanese Grammar. Ninchanese Chinese grammar lessons are easy to understand and this page makes it really easy to navigate the lessons.


“I love the app, and I have been using it for a while.
It helps a lot, even living in China doing my thesis!” 

 – Yantas, Ninchanese User

🏮 We have developed an award-winning app to learn Chinese. 🏮
Try it out for free and start learning for real

We love our reader so we’d like to share the coupon BLOGNINCHA with you.
Get 10% on all plans when subscribing.

Start now

Google Translate pop up

This tool lets you read Chinese without learning it. Or look up for any character you don’t remember well. It’s pretty comfortable and convenient but not fair for your learning. Lots of people would say google translate is bad, but we like the pop-up app from google translate if you know its limitations (it’s not great with context, for instance). Its advantage is you can hover Chinese characters and play only the sound, which we love since we can focus on hearing it. Zhongwen cloze is also another good pop-up you can install.

Free books on China – Archive

China has always been a very secret country, right? There are a lot of stories about China and set in China, There’s also a lot to discover about what China was like before, and on plenty of themes, from superstition to educational manuals and more. They also have Chinese books in multiple languages so don’t wait anymore. Want a recommendation? Look for real Chinese books of the 1930s. You’ll find pretty exciting books to explore. Believe me!

Bilinguis: Not so old books for free in Chinese? With the translation side by side?

This website is a great way to practice your Chinese reading without any pinyin. You read each page, one by one, with the translation on the side, and everything is free. There are classics from the English literature and loads more. Plus: there are also other languages if you like! If it’s too hard, use one of the extensions above, it will be very cool.

Chinese Phrasebook from us

You’ll say that this article is completely biased and we’ve just put our products all over the article. That may be true, but, what can we do if they are great?! We’ve made that app so we know why it’s great, right?! First, all the content are based on real needs, from when we went to China and user requests. Second, everything is organized illustrated, and with sound. It’s also free with no ads. It’s just perfect. So you should have a go and give us five stars. Thank you! ;D.

Photography: Historical Photographs Of China website

Wish you could have visited China in the ’60s? Yes, now you can! Thanks to the Historical Photographs Of China website, maintained by the University of Bristol. You’ll find a lot of pictures, more than 19 000 in fact, about China. There’s pictures of old China, of rural China but also plenty of city like pictures and more modern ones too. It’s great to get to see pictures of olden times, where you see people wearing the traditional “Chinese Han” style, with their long hair, drinking some tea. Like in the movie, but from real photos.

Discover Traditional Chinese art with CoMuseum

On this cool website, called China Online Museum, you can view all the paintings from great Chinese artists from date to date. We like to have a cup of tea, relax, and watch a few of them. They send us off staring into space for too long, lost in memories. Love it.

 

That’s all for today, and we hope you enjoyed the sites shared here. Have you used some of these sites and tools? Which one are you going to try first?

If you like them, please share the article. There are tons of websites great for learning Chinese and practicing at home. I’m sure you know some other good ones, share them with us so we can discover more great resources!

The Nincha Team

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