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snow flake

What is the most suitable Chinese text for beginners

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snow flake

hello everyone!

I want to learn Chinese but do not know how to start and which text book and apps to refer. can any one please suggest me a way?

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Hello and welcome to the forum.


Your question is a big one:) It depends on a lot of things. Have you decided what type of Chinese you want to learn - Mandarin with simplified characters or traditional, or maybe you want to learn Cantonese?


Why do you want to learn Chinese? for work? for social reasons? or just for pleasure as I do.


What age group are you? will you be taking classes or studying independently?


Are you goals fluency or a working knowledge or to read comics and watch films?


Sorry for all the questions but this is why I said your question was big. If you have decided all these things then it would helpful to share and people can guide to the most appropriate resources.


I study independently now but when I started I attended classes at my local university and had some small group lessons privately. After some 5 years or so I carried on by myself.


I use the text book New Practical Chinese Reader and so do a lot of people and courses. It has a textbook, workbook, audio available on CD or online and online videos. There is a lot of auxiliary learning materials to go with it, for example two of the more popular character practice apps have the NPCR as part of their ready made study lists - Skritter and TOFU . 


I really like the style of NPCR and the pace at which they go and how they integrate learning characters in the lessons. I am a firm believer in learning the characters almost immediately, this text book introduces them after the first 4 or 5 lessons, a good thing in my opinion.


If you would like some more information on my study methods then have a look at my blog (link below)


There are also online courses that can be quite good, have a look for them on edex or Coursera, there are quite a few that are free. I have an entry in my blog about one.


There are many textbooks and ways of learning, its hard to say what would be right for you. I am sure if you have a look around the forum you will find other peoples methods and resources to help you decide. 


But the one thing I can definitely recommend and in fact I think no student of Chinese should be without is Pleco - this is a dictionary platform and flashcard app for iOS or android. The basic package is free, I suggest you get the free one to try it out and when you have got further down the line with your studies you will know what you need and then you should buy the full app (not expensive) and any dictionaries or addons you might need or want. Have a look here https://www.pleco.com/


Hope this is of some help.





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snow flake


Thank you so much.

I have keen interest in learning new languages and I wish to study mandarin with simplified character independently. Presently i am doing my undergraduate course.


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