Chinese Learning that Works
Learn Chinese characters, Chinese words, pinyin, pronunciation and more with adaptive algorithms. HSK practice and HSK Test preparation. Business Chinese.
Read latest news from China in Chinese, different difficulty levels, 1000's of news-lessons
Listen to native Chinese speakers recording lessons at different speed levels
Speak and use our voice recorder, improve rapidly by comparing yourself to native speakers
Focus on your Chinese, smart algorithms track your progress, adapting your learning program

Why learn Mandarin Chinese?

Because it is useful, and because you can! Mandarin Chinese is the most common language and China the most populous nation in the world. Chinese is one of 6 official languages of the UN. China is the second largest economy today and by 2020 it will be the world’s largest. For virtually every country in the world China is one of the most important trading partners. Good learning methods take advantage of the simple grammar and the inherent logic and systematic structure of Chinese vocabulary, making learning Chinese much easier than is commonly thought!

How Gurulu helps you learn Mandarin Chinese

Gurulu makes Chinese learning work by making learning Chinese simple, focusing your Chinese studies on 3 essential elements: vocabulary, practice and targets. Vocabulary is the basis, the muscle, of Mandarin Chinese. Practice enables more and more fluent use of the vocab. Targets keep you motivated, challenged and focused. Features include intelligent language learning algorithms, VocabXpress, up-to-date news lessons each adapted to several difficulty levels with practice questions, audio podcasts and a voice recorder, and HSK Test Prep.

= person holding apart arms = big
= child sitting under roof = study

Chinese Characters and Vocabulary

Gurulu's VocabXpress is powered by very effective data-driven, intelligent, adaptive language-learn algorithms that recognize the inherent logic of Mandarin Chinese and the systematic relationships between Chinese characters, Chinese words and Chinese phrases. They constantly adapt to you and use what you already know to teach you related and new vocabulary. The VocabXpress maximizes your progress by challenging you in different learning modes at spaced repetition intervals: pronunciation, pinyin, translation, character and word recognition.

Xi Jin Ping refuses North Korean Diplomat
Oct 17, 2015

Xi Jin Ping refuses North Korean Diplomat
Oct 16, 2015

Xi Jin Ping refuses North Korean Diplomat
Oct 14, 2015

Xi Jin Ping refuses North Korean Diplomat
Oct 13, 2015

Xi Jin Ping refuses North Korean Diplomat
Oct 12, 2015

Mandarin Chinese Language Practice

1000s of News Lessons, added daily, form the basis of our students' Mandarin Chinese learning practice. Each is adapted from authentic Chinese business, entertainment or lifestyle news and has several difficulty levels. News lessons are suitable for novice, intermediate and advanced (HSK 2 - 6) students. They keep you up-to-date on China while you learn Mandarin Chinese. Podcasts, voice recorder and practice questions allow you to practice your reading, listening, speaking and writing skills.

New to learning Mandarin Chinese? Get a head-start by checking 'A Brief Introduction to Chinese‘ in Gurulu’s Beginners Fastlane. 3 sets of 10 lessons each get you started and advance you to the novice level. You will learn 300 basic Chinese words and begin to understand basic Chinese conversations. Learning Mandarin Chinese is easier than often portrayed! The grammar is simple and the vocabulary logical so the more you know, the faster you will improve. Learn More!


Having clear targets is crucial for any endeavour, whether athletic, business or educational, because it is very difficult to reach a goal if the goal in unknown. Gurulu sets clear weekly targets for you in 3 categories: vocabulary, practice and bonus. Progress towards targets is achieved via activity in the VocabXpress and in answering the questions in the lessons of the practice panel. Correct answers advance you even quicker. Reach your weekly targets and you maximize your Mandarin Chinese learning progress and also earn valuable bonustime to extend your user account for free!

Testimonials from students learning Mandarin Chinese and teachers teaching Mandarin

I like the news-lessons on Gurulu very much and always use them when I teach my students. The VocabXpress is a great way for myself to stay sharp with my Chinese characters, Chinese words and Chinese phrases.
Lelan, Texas, United States

Gurulu's VocabXpress is great. I also love the way Gurulu records my progress and encourages me to reach my targets and improve my performance rating. All this really helps me to learn new Chinese words and characters and also refresh the ones I already know. Excellent!
Kevin, Chengdu, China

My students like your lessons very much and I incorporate them regularly into my classes and into homework exercises. The two speed recordings in your HSK 2 lessons are very useful for my elementary stage students and I noted that most of my students have really improved their pronunciation due to your voice recording tool. Keep it up!
Yan, Chinese Teacher, Flint Hill School, Virginia, United States

Gurulu is a great site to study Mandarin! I really enjoy your site and its clever language learning algorithms.
Ole, Germany

More testimonials

HSK Preparation and HSK Practice

The Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) is the official Chinese proficiency test of the PR China. It has 6 levels. The HSK 1 is for beginners. The HSK 2, HSK 3 and HSK 4 are for novice to intermediate students. The HSK 5 and HSK 6 are for advanced students.

Gurulu helps students preparing for the HSK achieve higher scores with the following HSK Prep features:

-1000's of authentic, timed HSK practice questions
-Adaptive language algorithms for personalized learning
-HSK vocabulary training
-HSK score estimator
-Detailed performance statistics

Learn More

Examples of questions from HSK practice tests


HSK2 Qǐng _, zhè jiù shì wǒ de fángjiān.
请_,这 就 是 我 的 房间。

HSK3 先 菜单 我们 看看

HSK4 他在理发店。

How does Mandarin Chinese work?

To learn Mandarin Chinese can be easy! Chinese grammar is simple: no cases, no conjugation. Tenses are indicated by short words, particles. Sentence structure is similar to English: subject-verb-object. The reading system is based on simplified pictures, called characters, which combine logically. The difficulty is mainly due to Mandarin Chinese sounding different from most other languages. The beginning is hence the hardest part; you’ll need a few days until you can hold a basic conversation. Then it is mainly about adding words to your vocab and practicing regularly, easy!

About Gurulu

Gurulu was started to make learning Mandarin Chinese less difficult and to help people all over the world advance their Chinese as fast as possible. The Gurulu team consists of native Chinese speakers AND Chinese learners. We are passionate about Mandarin Chinese and helping people around the world learn this fascinating and incredibly useful language. Gurulu offers free trial premium accounts and affordable premium and HSK-Prep student accounts as well as a teacher account for Chinese teachers and tutors and their students. Learn More.

Frequently asked questions about learning Mandarin Chinese

Q: How hard is it to learn Mandarin Chinese?
A: Not as hard as is commonly thought. Brace yourself for a somewhat tough beginning, but once you have the basics, it is mostly about learning more words and practicing to read, listen and speak. Chinese grammar is very simple. The sounds are similar to English, even the tones, such as the rising tone, are present in English as well, e.g. when asking a question. The main point is: You can get fluent in Chinese in the same amount of time it would take you to get fuent in, for example, French or German. Don't believe the naysayers. It is true!

Q: What is the best way to learn Mandarin on your own?
A: Any endeavor requires targets and some perseverance. Vocabulary is the basis of any language so learn lots of words, repeat them, translate them, recognize their sound. Practice trains you to use your vocabulary fluenty and really engrain it into your brain. Read, listen, speak, type. In short, use Gurulu!

Q: How important is it to be able to write Chinese symbols?
A: Much less than it used to be. Today computers are mostly used for writing and in order to write on a computer you need to know the pinyin of the Chinese character or Chinese word (i.e. what it sounds like) and recognize it from a list of 5 to 10 options that the computer will pop up while you type. Even in the HSK, hand writing Chinese characters plays a relatively minor role. With the new computer-based test it is becoming less important still. Calligraphy is a beautiful art, but to advance fast we recommend forgetting about hand writing Chinese characters and focus on reading, listening and speaking.

Q: Does it really make sense to learn Chinese?
A: Yes. China is no fad! China's economy today is larger than Japan's ever was and it is still growing very fast. If you want to do business in or with China or work for a company that does, which means most companies, being able to communicate well in Mandarin gives you a real advantage!

In Chinese - How to say important things in Mandarin Chinese - Survival Chinese

How to sayChinese CharactersPinyin
Hello, How are you?你 好。Nǐ hǎo.
What's your name?你 叫 什么?Nǐ jiào shénmē?
My name is Susan. My name is Dawei.我 叫 Susan。 我 叫 Dawei。Wǒ jiào Susan. Wǒ jiào Dawei.
Very happy to know you.很 高兴 认识 你。Hěn gāoxìng rènshí nǐ.
What's your phone number?你的 电话 是 多少。Nǐ de diànhuà shì duōshǎo.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10.一 二 三 四 五 六 七 八 九 十。Yī èr sān sì wǔ liù qī bā jiǔ shí.
I want to buy. How much money does it cost?我 想 买。多少钱?Wǒ xiǎng mǎi. Duō shǎo qián?
4 RMB / pound. 19 RMB / ticket. 150 RMB / day.四 快 一 近。 十九 一 票。 一百五十 快 一天。Sì kuài yī jìn. Shíjiǔ yī piào. Yībǎiwǔshí kuài yī tiān.
Where is the Beijing Hotel?北京 饭店 在 哪儿?Běijīng fàndiàn zài nǎer?
At Mid-North-West Street, near the airport.在 中 北 西 路。机场 的 附近。Zài zhōng běi xī lù. Jīchǎng de fùjìn.
How to go there?怎么 去?Zěn me qù?
Take bus 12, or, take a taxi.等 公共汽车 十二, 还是 开 出租车。Děng gōnggòngqìchē shíèr, háishì kāi chūzūchē.
Thank you! Good bye.谢谢。 再见。Xièxiè. Zàijiàn.
Hello (on the phone), is Susan there?喂。Susan 在吗?Wèi. Susan zài ma?
No. She will return Monday. Sorry. Tuesday.不在。她 星期一 回来。 对不起。 星期二。Bù zài. Tā xīngqīyī huílái. Duìbùqǐ. Xīngqīèr.

How to learn Mandarin Chinese - Tips for effectively and efficiently learning Mandarin Chinese

Tip 1 – A bumpy start, a smooth ride
When you start learning Mandarin Chinese, expect some bumps in the road. Mandarin, although not fundamentally difficult, is very different from languages such as English, German, French or Spanish. This will hit you in the beginning. None of the Chinese words you learn will sound much like words you know from your native language. The Chinese tones take some getting used to. And the writing/reading system is not based on a phonetic alphabet, but on pictures. However, because Mandarin Chinese is very logical and systematic, your learning speed increases very quickly. As soon as you have learned the first 300, 200, or even just 100 Chinese characters and words, you develop the ability to make connections. You will start accurately guessing unknown and new vocabulary and thereby vastly increase your learning speed. Chinese grammar is very simple; once you got the basics there is not that much more to learn, no conjugation, no cases, and no complicated tenses.

Tip 2 – No handwriting Chinese characters and words
There is much discussion about handwriting Chinese characters. Traditional teaching methods emphasize handwriting to a great extent. Gurulu’s team consists of native Chinese speakers AND Chinese learners. According to our data, practicing handwriting is not a very efficient use of your time when you learn Mandarin Chinese. Typing pinyin (pinyin is the Romanization of Chinese characters and words) on a computer is far easier than handwriting. You don’t have to remember every last detail of a character, rather you have to be able to recognize it when you see it, and pick it out from a list of 10 or 20 characters that sound similar. This is a much easier task than memorizing a character to such an extent that you can write down on a blank sheet of paper and it saves you an inordinate amount of time when you learn Mandarin Chinese.

How to learn Mandarin Chinese - Part 2

Tip 3 – Use the logical structure of Mandarin
Unlike most other languages, Mandarin Chinese has a very logical and systematic structure; everything is connected. This means that it is possible to acquire vocabulary much faster when learning Mandarin Chinese than when learning other languages, simply by making reference to known words. Gurulu's intelligent language algorithms which under the hood drive the VocabXpress and the Look-Up tool use what you have already learnt to make connections in the Chinese vocabulary network. This way you will increase your Chinese vocabulary much faster than by using a list or a box of flash cards. Since vocabulary, words, form the basis of any language, this means that in some aspects Mandarin is easier to learn than many other languages. The start is usually slow because everything sounds so different, but this changes as you go along, having formed a vocabulary basis with which to work.

Tip 4 – Practice, practice, practice
While the more formal aspect of learning Mandarin Chinese is in acquiring vocabulary, it is equally important to immerse yourself in the language. Read, listen, speak and write (type) an equal amount of time as you learn vocabulary. This complements and strengthens your Chinese vocabulary study because using the Chinese words and Chinese characters you have learnt in context, recognizing them in a text, hearing them in a podcast, writing them on a computer, diversifies and deepens your memory. When you learn Mandarin Chinese, just like in any other language, your brain has to be able to call up a word from memory quickly in order for you to be able to follow a conversation or read a text at reasonable speed. Language practice, such as it is offered in Gurulu's News Lessons and Beginners Fastlane, trains your brain and shortens your recall times significantly.

Gurulu News

23 Sep 2014 - Gurulu in the press

Gurulu was mentioned in Lioness Magazine. Read here.

10 May 2014 - Gurulu featured on radio show

Gurulu was recently featured on another radio show, Eric Dye's Entrepreneur Podcast Network. Listen here.

30 April 2014 - Gurulu featured on radio show

Gurulu was recently featured in Jim Beach's radio show "School for Startups". Listen here.

Learn More

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