How to Learn Chinese Free? Is it Even Possible?

Learn a Language Free? Can I Do This?

How to learn Chinese free, is it even possible?

You’d be surprised!

With the amount of resources out there nowadays, you can absolutely learn Chinese free but you will always have your limitations and your drive and motivation will have to be high to push you over the line.

Learn Chinese with LTL
Flashcards – They will be your friend

The good thing is with the internet’s ever-expanding resources, it means we have more tools than ever to push our Chinese without actually leaving our living room.

REMEMBER THOUGH – We are learning Chinese here, you don’t just get fluent by just following the below tips, it’ll help you along, and you will learn Chinese, but becoming fluent, that requires a different level of learning that, we believe, requires an immersive environment.

Anyway, that said, let’s do what we can and help you kick on.

We wanted to create a blueprint for how to learn Chinese free, to get you started. In fact, you can apply these to learning any language free:

How to Learn Chinese Free Tip #1 – Podcasts

How to Learn Chinese Free Tip #2 – YouTube

How to Learn Chinese Free Tip #3 – Read, always

How to Learn Chinese Free Tip #4 – Apps

How to Learn Chinese Free Tip #5 – Instagram

How to Learn Chinese Free Tip #6 – Flashcards

How to Learn Chinese Free Tip #7 – Watch TV/Movies

Space in Chinese 🌍 70+ Words about The Solar System and Beyond Thumbnail

Space in Chinese 🌍 70+ Words about The Solar System and Beyond

Want to learn all about the Solar System in Chinese (太阳系). We teach you everything about our Solar System including the planets, moons and stars in Mandarin

Learn Chinese Free Tip #1 – Listen to Podcasts

Listening to podcasts is probably one of the most valuable bits of advice you can take from this article.

Want to learn a language free, listen to podcasts, the first thing you should do

In a day and age where podcasts are on fire, people are busier than ever, and use their voice online increasingly, this actually makes a lot of sense.

Think about it, do people text and walk? They are using their voice more and more because we are all “too busy” to stop and text!

The good thing is there are so many podcasts out there where you can sit and take it all in.

Podcasts can also be a lot of fun. Sure, sometimes you will come across a rather bland edition of “Learning Chinese Numbers”, but for every bad one, you are closer to digging out a gem.

To prove how podcasts are indeed a great way to learn Chinese free, we even started our own Chinese podcast, here’s one below, let us know what you think.
LTL Mandarin School Podcast

Of course, it’s not all in the name of self promotion, we also wrote another article on our ten favourite Chinese podcasts which stops you from having to filter through the rubbish to get to the gold.

So when someone asks you, “hey, how to learn Chinese free” – you know immediately that podcasts are your friend!

The good thing with podcasts also is there is something to suit everybody. Short and sweet, there’s plenty. How about something a bit more niche or in-depth, likewise, there are loads.

Spend a bit of time figuring out what suits you best, then subscribe and you are on the road…
Kick back and enjoy our 10 favourite Chinese podcasts

Learn Chinese Free Tip #2 – Watch YouTube

I cannot overstate how valuable this can be. YouTube is a super-power and guess what, it’s growing.

You can watch absolutely anything there, as you’ll already know. Included in that of course, is language learning.

Like with podcasts, there are MANY learn Chinese free opportunities on YouTube, again, even with LTL (see below)

You’ve got short, snappy vocab videos, humorous real-life exchanges, ways to prepare for the HSK exam… the list is endless.

Learn to count in Chinese

There is nothing not possible on YouTube, the hours will pass before your very eyes and it’s a brilliant way to absorb as much Chinese as possible, and it’s all free.

As with podcasts, there are many different styles as well. If you want straight up vocab, you are swimming in videos.

Or how about something a bit more interactive like a personal Vlog, where you follow a particular person’s journey around China as they learn Chinese? You learn together then.

There are even live videos you can partake in allowing you to get your questions, answered, immediately.

Learn Chinese Free Tip #3 – Read and Absorb

Read, read, read.

When you get to more advanced levels of Chinese this is something a lot of people will tell you to do, and they do that for a reason.

Reading is absolutely imperative to improve your vocabulary, your knowledge and exposure to Chinese.

16 Chinese Idiom Stories - Speak like a Native Thumbnail

16 Chinese Idiom Stories – Speak like a Native

16 of the Best Chinese Idioms – Our Favourites and the Stories behind them Learning Chinese idiom stories and proverbs is a brilliant way to get into higher level Chinese, and the great thing is, they aren’t that hard to…

Read Chinese, absorb it, immerse yourself into it.

It doesn’t just have to be books that you buy (that would not be free would it)?

Learn a language free - READ!
Learn a language free – READ!

This can be mobile phone apps (see below), books your friends own, library books, even TV subtitles which is actually another great way to learn Chinese free now we think about it… watching Chinese movies! Let’s come onto that one later.

A great tip we always tell our students to do at LTL (be brave), is to change your phone language to Chinese.

Yes, it sounds frightening, but it isn’t that bad and it’s a truly great way to pick up some super-useful terms in Chinese.

You discover how to register/log into your Social Media, you discover how to change useful settings on your phone that actually are very relative in day-to-day life and you discover how to use messaging apps in Chinese.

It is a lot more useful than you’d ever imagine.


Learn Chinese Free Tip #4 – Exploit Mobile Phone Apps

There are so brilliant apps for you to exploit, that although come with paid subscriptions, you can use free to a good level also.

Duolingo – How to learn Chinese free?

You can learn a lot more than you might think using mobile phone apps and below I want to suggest a few where you will make some significant progress:

  • Du Chinesea brilliant app for reading where you have access to all articles published in the last two weeks but more significantly, you can save as many words as you like to a deck of flashcards which you can build as large as you want, a brilliant way to nail down those characters you always forget.
  • Duolingo better for the beginner/intermediate level but still, a great way to kick start your learning or nail down some of the basics. It’s all free and very comprehensive. There are reading, listening and writing exercises which helps your all round Chinese game.
  • HSK Online – must admit I really do love this app. Whether you want to study for HSK or not, it’s incredibly extensive and you get access to a lot of stuff on the free version. Build up your vocab and learn the key sentence structures and grammar patterns.

There are a shed load of language learning apps out there.

Like with most of our pointers so far it’s a bit of a minefield so we’ve actually made a section on our main website dedicated to reviewing loads of different Chinese apps, all of which have at least a free part to them.

Learn Chinese Free Tip #5 – Exploit Instagram

Instagram is the home of influencers galore.

Learn Chinese Free - Use Instagram
Learn a language free on Instagram

Everyone wants to crack the code to becoming “Instagram-famous” and as language learners that plays right into our hands, because there are increasingly more “language-influencers” battling it out to be the best.

Create an account (maybe separate to your personal one) and just follow a tonne of Chinese language learning accounts, some can just be based around flashcards, others around short videos where you can learn a new word and a sentence.

Spend a good amount of time on it everyday and you’ll notice a vast difference in the long run. The keyword in that previous sentence, EVERYDAY.

There are accounts solely dedicated to teaching you a language free which we recommend just following until you have your favourites.

We actually have two Instagram accounts at LTL. Our main account is a mixture of everything LTL – social life, our cities, learning Chinese, promotional images and also learn Chinese images.

Our 2nd account @LTLLearn is based around the HSK vocabulary. It’s aim is to be aesthetically pleasing, as well as very useful.

Check it out, hopefully, it proves useful 👇👇👇

Learn Chinese Free Tip #6 – Flashcards

Flashcards are your friend, plain and simple.

Whether it’s in a digital format on your computer/phone, or stuck around your bedroom, they can make a huge difference in making things stick (excuse the pun).

In Chinese, you come across an incredible amount of complex characters, or characters that look the same and it’s so easy to forget them or muddle them. Every Chinese learner can relate to this.

怎么办?(this means what’s to be done)

FLASHCARDS – pin them up, remember them, use them.

We cannot overstate how important they will become in your journey of learning Chinese.

In truth though flashcards can relate to learning any language, or anything in fact. They are versatile, can be as personalized as you want, and you can even get creative by making your own as we did above!

Learn Chinese Free Tip #7 – Watch TV/Movies

Want to learn Chinese free but not a fan of hitting the books or even watching a formal video?

Solution – WATCH TV

It does sound rather odd but what better way to take in a language than by actually listening to it and absorbing it with a cuppa on your sofa?

Learn Chinese Free - Home with Kids
Home with Kids, an easy watch

Make sure you put subtitles on so you can read as you go. Of course, if you are at a more basic level and you are sat there watching the news, nothing will stick and it might just lead to your becoming frustrated.

Be aware of your current level and what that allows you to watch.

Do you want English or Chinese subtitles? Do you want to watch something fast paced, or perhaps a little slower, or maybe less formal… have a think what suits you best.

There are loads of things to watch on live TV, or you can even head back to your friend, YouTube, and watch some Chinese TV there.

One recommendation from that is something I’ve watched, and read before. It’s called Home with Kids, very light-hearted, very easy to follow and a great free learning tool for your Mandarin

That said, we’ve got a whole other blog dedicated to movies, TV, drama’s and music in Chinese so we’ve spolit you for content:

Seven invaluable tips right there to help you not just learn Chinese free, but learn a language free!

As we stated above, it won’t get you from zero to fluency like that. With every language you have to grind your way there, stay focused, dedicated and DO.NOT.GIVE.UP.

Got any more tips we may have missed? Comment below and share them with us.

Learn a Language Free – FAQ’s

Can I be fluent in a language if I just study by myself?

Although it’s always possible to make a lot of positive progress with self-study there will always be an element of language learning that needs physical interaction and formal study.

Even if it’s just making friends, speaking with people in public situations or having a video teacher. These things make a big difference long term.

Is YouTube a good study tool?

YouTube is a fantastic study tool. With the number of influencers, subscribers and users going up daily, we highly recommend using YouTube to learn any language due to the fact there are so many resources for you.

Are flashcards a good way to learn Chinese free?

Yes, we strongly recommend flashcards for learning Chinese characters.

Are all learn Chinese apps paid?

Some are and some are not. Most apps, however, do have a free area where you can access content which is still very useful and worth taking time to play with.

Want more from LTL?

Check out our free Chinese group classes which are live on Facebook every week

If you wish to hear more from LTL Mandarin School why not join our mailing list. We give plenty of handy information on learning Chinese, useful apps to learn the language and everything going on at our LTL schools! Sign up below and become part of our ever growing community!



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  1. Stinky Chinese Food - The Worst Ones You Must Beware Of

    […] wish to hear more from LTL Mandarin School why not join our mailing list. We give plenty of handy information on learning Chinese, useful apps to learn the language and everything going on at our LTL […]

  2. Didn’t know there were so many ways to learn Chinese for free. Definitely going to recommend this to my friends and colleagues! Thank you for this.