Do you want to learn Traditional Chinese characters on your phone with convenient and free apps?
We’ve scoured the app stores to find the best apps for you to learn Traditional Chinese!
But first…what is Traditional Chinese?
While we commonly think “Chinese” is just one language, there are actually many different dialects spoken by Chinese people around the world. The main spoken language is Mandarin Chinese, or Putonghua 普通话. This is the language you should learn as a foreigner since it is the most-spoken language.
However, there are two different ways to write Mandarin Chinese…
- Simplified Chinese: the written form of Mandarin used mostly in mainland China (the PRC).
- Traditional Chinese: the written form of Mandarin used mostly in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Even though Traditional Characters may look “harder” than their Simplified counterparts, this is really not the case. The characters follow logical rules, and not every character is different between the two scripts.
You can learn more about the differences between the two written forms in our article here, or watch this video:
If you want to learn Simplified characters or prep for the HSK, click here.
Since you’ve decided to learn Traditional Chinese characters, here are the best apps to learn Traditional Chinese!
Best Apps to Learn Traditional Chinese Characters
This app is developed by the National Taiwan Normal University Mandarin Training Center. Only the first three lessons are free, and the cost to continue using the app is the same as buying the NTNU textbook itself. The app will take you to an intermediate level in Traditional Chinese characters.
2. Learn This! BoPoMoFo (Android)
If you want to study Traditional Characters, it’s a good idea to learn the pronunciation system known as Zhuyin 注音. This was the pronunciation system used to learn Chinese before Pinyin, and it’s still used in Taiwan. This is a fairly simple game to get to know the Zhuyin alphabet, also known as bopomofo.
3. Bopomofo – pinyin to zhuyin training game (Apple)
This one is very similar to the above, but only available for iPad/iPhone. It is a bit more detailed by showing you how you can combine different Zhuyin sounds with tone marks to make the sound of a Chinese character.
This app is geared mostly towards total beginners and children, especially those who are living in Hong Kong. Through pictures and stories, the app introduces vocabulary used in daily life scenarios like going to the store or the library.
Quizlet is a free flashcard app. You can search the flashcard sets made by other users, or make your own. You can easily review Traditional Chinese characters with games and tests.
This app is available in both Simplified and Traditional Chinese scripts. You can improve your Chinese reading ability by seeing and hearing words in context!
Additionally, they use the bopomofo/Zhuyin system of pronunciation, which is an alternative to pinyin.
As you learn Traditional Chinese characters, don’t forget…there is no difference in the spoken language of Mandarin Chinese! You’re just learning to write in a different script. Grammar patterns are still the same.
If you are already an intermediate or advanced reader of Traditional characters, you can turn on a Hong Kongese or Taiwanese drama and put the subtitles to Traditional Chinese. You can also practice reading Taiwanese or Hong Kong news sites or blogs!
Do you have any more suggestions for the best apps to learn Traditional Chinese? Let us know in a comment!
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