Language learning service Duolingo added a Chinese course to its platform earlier this month, with the program also being available through its Android app. Like all other Duolingo courses, the Chinese one is entirely free to use and has no content hidden behind any kind of paywalls. Instead, users looking to support the app can purchase a monthly subscription that allows them to skip through ads which occasionally appear between lessons. The service isn't monetized in an aggressive manner and is still largely focused on learning, with ads only showing sporadically to non-paying members of the online language learning community and previous comments from the company implying that it's set to continue pursuing that development strategy going forward.
The newly added Chinese course was designed to teach you over 1,000 words and features bonus skills dedicated to internet slang, food, business communication, and festivals, i.e. topics that you're likely to want to talk about with Chinese speakers. The program also ships with a new type of exercise meant to allow you to learn and practice tones, a crucial component of a tonal language like Chinese. The actual database of words was taken from HSK, China's standardized exam for determining the level of one's Chinese fluency, with the knowledge base spanning all words and grammar from the first three HSK levels and also encompassing some HSK 4 knowledge, Duolingo said, without elaborating on the matter.
The arrival of a Chinese course to Duolingo comes several months after the Android app was updated with a Japanese program, with the latest language addition presumably being its final one in 2017. Chinese support was rolled out following months of internal testing and should be largely bug and error-free, though you're encouraged to send feedback to the company if you suspect anything is amiss about the course. The Chinese programme was rolled out as part of the latest client-side update for Duolingo that can be downloaded by referring to the Google Play Store banner below. Some minor bug fixes are also understood to be part of the package, with the new build of the app coming with no additional software requirements and still being compatible with the vast majority of contemporary Android smartphones and tablets.