Sussex Centre for Language Studies

Chinese language links

Learning resources

  • Oxford Dictionaries - the University Library subscribes to the full, unabridged bilingual Oxford dictionaries in Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
  • Chinese Multimedia Course - 22 lessons in simplified characters at elementary-intermediate level, suitable for students who have already learned Chinese for at least 3 months. Good use of video files with transcripts, interactive character writing exercises, interactive grammar drills, multiple choice vocabulary tests, and indexes for grammar and vocabulary. From the Centre for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, University of Oxford.
    • Amongst much other material, they also have some colourful pages on Pinyin Pronunciation and 7 lessons of Basic Spoken Mandarin with audio and transcripts, plus sound files for the Practical Chinese Reader book.
  • Confucius Institute Online has some useful materials for self-study, including situational dialogues and News Chinese.
  • MDBG Chinese-English dictionary.
  • nciku is a free Chinese<->English online dictionary with some excellent learning tools: audio pronunciation not just of characters but whole phrases, and handwriting recognition so you can search by stroke. Sign up to create vocab lists, to test yourself, and to use the Q&A forum.
  • POPjisyo.com allows you to view any Chinese website with popups that give the pinyin reading and English definition of each word. Alternatively, you can enter a text - either way, words can be added to your own study list. Impressive.
  • Learning Chinese Online - Dr. Tianwei Xie has collected links to a great many websites for learning online, plus some lessons of his own. Probably the best place to start.
  • Writing Chinese - see stroke order animated, alongside the pinyin, audio pronunciation and English definition. Can be viewed alphabetically rather than in the University of Southern California's proprietary lesson order.
  • Chinese Tools - online tools to learn Chinese, including a Mandarin course, annotation tools, dictionaries, songs, poems, proverbs and converters for pinyin, unicode, traditional and simplified Chinese.
  • Hanzi Quiz is an online flashcard program which randomly generates multiple-choice questions, by showing one hanzi and letting you guess the correct pinyin out of 5 randomly selected from the deck. Or you can see the English and guess the hanzi; any combination of categories is possible. You can even download the program to your own computer and edit the vocabulary.
  • Chinese Pod - daily audio lessons on Mandarin. Look in the archive for hundreds of previous lessons, searchable by level and keyword. There are transcripts and other backup materials too, but many have to be paid for.
  • On-line Chinese tools from Erik Peterson include a dictionary, a useful program to add pinyin to a file on your computer and one to display graphical characters from encoded text which you input. There's more for Java-capable browsers, such as flashcards and a romanisation converter.
  • BBC Real Chinese - basic phrases to complement the TV series (available in the Language Learning Centre here at Sussex).
  • Learning Chinese from the Online Confucius Institute.
  • Audio Tutorial of Survival Chinese by Haiwang Yuan of Western Kentucky University - essential phrases (with audio) for shopping, dining, travelling and greetings.
  • Zhongwen Zipu is an etymological Chinese-English dictionary showing the genealogy of around 12,000 words using 4,000 characters.
  • Learn Cantonese - lots of printer-friendly reference sheets, tests and revision aids, aimed to help you speak, read and write Hong Kong Chinese (pronunciation given is Cantonese 'jyutping' instead of Mandarin 'pinyin' but plenty of the content is useful for both).
  • Carlos McEvilly maintains a Chinese Language Information page.
  • Add tone marks to pinyin

News and journals on-line

Sources for further research...

There are many different formats for Chinese text on the Internet. The most common are GuoBiao (GB) for Simplified text commonly used in mainland China, Malaysia and Singapore, and Big5 for the Traditional characters common in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Although some of the sites listed below provide a graphical version (no special software needed), many do not. Fontboard has lots of useful information about using Chinese with English Windows, including outlines of common input methods.