In June 2023, statistics were published indicating that 30% of Gen Z regularly use Instagram. Using Instagram to enhance your Chinese language proficiency can be an effective way to reinforce the vocabulary and grammar points you are learning. According to a research article from 2023 analysing the benefits of using Instagram as a learning tool for English language learners, the study concluded, “Students find that learning English through Instagram is more enjoyable because it includes videos and other engaging content related to English learning.” This is partly because it introduces vocabulary and slang used in everyday life while also being cost-efficient and providing a more relaxed learning environment.
So why not apply the same learning techniques when studying Mandarin? Many Chinese teaching websites regularly share revision content on their official Instagram accounts. If you are unsure where to begin, check out the recommended accounts below:
- Chinese Class 101: 100K Followers
This account offers a variety of infographics and short presenter video reels to accompany followers in their Chinese studies. The content is primarily geared toward beginners, featuring colourful cartoon images, pinyin, and characters. The presenter reels are particularly helpful, as they demonstrate word pronunciation and usage in sentences. Additionally, they provide resources such as links to free downloadable PDFs of worksheets and printable flashcards, making it easier for more people to learn the language. While the posts primarily target beginners, the account also shares useful phrases, including those for organising meetings.
- HSK Level – Learn Chinese: 58K Followers
This account focuses on preparing Chinese learners for different levels of the official Chinese language exam, the HSK. Although it does not feature a presenter, it consistently shares videos or slideshows with audio to demonstrate word pronunciation. Each post breaks down the meaning of two-character words and specifies their corresponding HSK levels (there are six in total). Pinyin and sentence examples are also provided, along with traditional character versions of the words. This account caters to learners who are studying at a brisk pace, making it a valuable resource for those seeking to advance quickly in their language studies, but it may not be suitable for complete beginners.
- Dong Chinese: 1,252 Followers
This account focuses on the anatomy and background of Chinese characters, offering insights into how characters have evolved from ancient oracle bone script to their present-day forms. It also breaks down the meanings of two-character words, such as “flying” (飞) and “machine” (机), which combine to form the word “aeroplane” (飞机). While this account may not be very helpful for grammar points or beginners, it provides interesting historical context for Chinese characters.
- Live The Language Language School (LTL): 28.1K Followers
Unlike the previous examples, this account is associated with a language school, offering opportunities to study in various locations in Asia. The school shares a mix of video reels featuring two main presenters: a Chinese teacher and a Westerner. They cover a wide range of topics, making this account suitable for post-beginners and above. Notably, they introduce vocabulary while teaching about traditional holidays in China and their origins, such as the QiXi (七夕) Festival. Additionally, the school offers classes in China, and their Instagram posts include content teaching useful phrases and vocabulary, complete with pinyin and characters. They also share video reels about what to drink during the warmer months. Some posts provide sentences in traditional characters alongside simplified versions for comparison.
- Bite Size Chinese: 29.1K Followers
This account consistently shares various infographics, including short reading exercises with pinyin and translations, as well as explanations of the meanings of two-character words. For example, they explain how combining “rent” (出租) with “car” (车) forms the word for “taxi” (出租车). This account is particularly beneficial for beginners, as it includes the correct writing stroke order when featuring Chinese characters. Additionally, Bite Size Chinese focuses on key grammar points and provides example sentences. They also offer free printable PDF worksheets to support learners in their studies.
- Chinese Learning: 4,587 Followers
While this account is designed for lower-intermediate learners and above, it recently adopted a food-focused approach. Its content combines vocabulary with teaching various Chinese sayings, complete with pinyin and translations. Unlike many accounts aimed at complete beginners, Chinese Learning uses a more understated colour palette and offers intriguing historical facts about food vocabulary. Although the account lacks a presenter, each post with new vocabulary includes audio to guide learners on pronunciation. This account provides a more relaxed pace of learning while still offering valuable revision content.
In conclusion, Instagram can prove to be a valuable tool for reviewing content in any language, particularly Mandarin Chinese. With a diverse array of choices at your disposal, you can discover the appropriate account tailored to your proficiency level and language learning objectives. Moreover, other advantages encompass not only global-scale interaction but also the capability to bookmark material for future reference, thereby enriching your revision resources. For the younger generation, it can also act as a source of motivation for learning Chinese, making Chinese-language media like period costume dramas and Chinese pop music more accessible and captivating as well as creating more transparency between cultures among other benefits.