How to use HiNative to learn Chinese

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have native Chinese speakers who can assist you with your Chinese pronunciation, answer your questions about Chinese vocabulary and grammar, and even correct your mistakes when writing sentences or diaries in Chinese? I mean, who wouldn’t want that kind of support when learning a foreign language? Well, here’s some great news: there’s already a fantastic language learning app available that caters to over 113 languages.

Hi Native’s adventages

And the best part? About 90% of its functions are completely free! The name of this incredible app is HiNative.

As someone who is a native Chinese speaker living in mainland China, I can’t help but wish I had access to HiNative when I was learning English. I didn’t have many opportunities to interact with native English speakers, let alone ask them questions about their mother tongue.

If you’re interested in learning a language and having the opportunity to connect with native speakers for free, I highly recommend watching this video until the end. It could be a game-changer for your language learning journey.

How to use Hi Native Apps

Let me show you how the HiNative app works, and we’ll explore the responses from native Chinese speakers.

Where to download HiNative

I’ve downloaded HiNative on my Android phone, but you can also get it on your iPhone or computer browser. Let’s open the app and sign up. You can use your email address or sign up with your other accounts. Signing up with Google is an option too.

Google Play download HiNative

AppStore download HiNative

HiNative’s interface

Now we’re on the homepage, and wow, there are so many questions posted here, mostly about English. If we swipe right and tap on questions about simplified Chinese, we can find even more. Just tap the big “Q” in the lower right corner to access the question formats. The app makes it easy to ask questions, even if you’re a total beginner.

what the app offers

Before we dive in, let’s take a quick look at what the app offers. You can ask about grammar or vocabulary using formats like “How do you say this?” or “What does this mean?” There’s also the option to ask for example sentences or inquire about pronunciation. You can even ask questions about countries or regions without using a specific format.

All the templates are free, except for “Does this sound natural?” and “Foreign Language Diary.” However, you can upgrade your account to premium for free for seven days to try out the premium question formats.

Example of how HiNative works

Let’s give it a try and see how it works. Tap on the first format, “How do you say this in Chinese?” We can start with “I love you.” Tap “Next” and then “Post.” In just a moment, someone will answer our question. Let’s see. Ah, the answer is in characters. Tap “Show translation” and “Show pinyin” to see the translation and the pronunciation in pinyin. It says “Wǒ ài nǐ.” Fantastic!

Now, let’s try the format “What does this mean?” We’ll write “我很开心” (I am happy), and post it. Look, we’ve already received an answer in just a minute! It means “I am happy.” That’s great!

Next, let’s explore the format “What’s the difference?” We’ll write “知道” (to know) and “认识” (to be acquainted with) because many students ask about the difference between these two. After posting, we have an answer. It says that “知道” means knowing something more extensively, while “认识” means having some knowledge but not as in-depth. The answer is okay, but we have another response in Chinese characters. To see it in pinyin, tap “Show translation.” It provides example sentences to help us understand the difference.

Now, let’s try the format “Please show me example sentences with.” We’ll use the word “漂亮” (beautiful or pretty) in Chinese. After posting, we get an answer with example sentences. Tap “Show translation” and “Show pinyin” to see the translation and pronunciation in pinyin. The examples from native speakers are simple and colloquial, better than most dictionaries.

Moving on to “Please show me how to pronounce.” We’ll use the phrase “今天很热” (Today is hot) and post it. We quickly receive an answer, and by tapping the play button, we can listen to the pronunciation.

Lastly, we’ll try “How’s my pronunciation?” Let me imitate how my students speak. I’ll say “Nihao” and “wo xihuan Zhongwen” (I like Chinese). After posting, we receive an answer, and we can play it to listen. The person even points out the words I didn’t pronounce well, like “好” (hǎo).

Hey there! Let’s try out the premium question format and see how it goes. Don’t forget, you can upgrade your account to premium for free and enjoy all the benefits for a whole week. So, why not give it a shot?

Now, let’s test out the question format “Does this sound natural?” I’ll write down a typical sentence that many of my students tend to construct. Here it is: “我的朋友工作在中国” (My friend works in China). Next, I’ll post it and see what response we get.

Wow! This lovely girl has answered my question once again. She points out that the sentence sounds a little unnatural. And you know what? I did it on purpose! I wanted to demonstrate the natural sentence structure, which should be “我的朋友在中国工作” (My friend works in China). Great catch!

See, it’s really fun and exciting to receive answers from native speakers. Plus, here’s a neat tip: if you ask questions about your own native language and your answers get likes, you’ll earn quick points. The more quick points you accumulate, the higher your questions will show up, resulting in faster responses. It’s a win-win!

One more thing that makes HiNative outstanding is that it doesn’t involve direct messages (DMs). All communication takes place through questions and answers, so you can rest assured that no one is using this app for dating purposes. You can comfortably and safely focus on studying languages.


With HiNative, you can connect with native Chinese speakers who can help you improve your pronunciation, answer your questions about vocabulary and grammar, and even provide feedback on your writing. It’s a fantastic tool to enhance your Chinese language skills and gain a deeper understanding of the culture.

Isn’t HiNative an awesome app for learning languages? And the best part is, it’s completely free! So, what are you waiting for?

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