I am a native-born and reasonably speak Cantonese fluently. However, staying in America has made my ability to read and write embarrassingly poor.
Pimsleur’s Learn Chinese (for starters): This is a useful material for beginners to learn some fundamental grammar as well as sentence structure.
The popular social media website like Facebook is another possibility to mastering Mandarin at no cost. Listed below are Some Facebook Pages Related to Learning chinese:
• All about Chinese
• Touch Chinese
• Mandarin Chinese from Scratch
• China Daily USA
• Written Chinese
These facebook pages will teach you how to speak the language as well as broaden your knowledge about the culture and tradition.
It is possible to learn Mandarin for free using apple ipad or iPhone. With any of this device you can access hundreds of Chinese learning applications free. It doesn’t matter if it’s a game or a basic study program, you definitely will learn something from it. Ensure the apps you download has variety of programs in order to make the learning process exciting for you. Some common apps to consider are Free Chinese Mandarin-24/7 Language Learning, Ninhao, Chinese Pod and Learn Mandarin with Busuu. (learn more here: http://www.digmandarin.com/4-online-opportunities-to-help-you-learn-mandarin-online-for-free.html )
Boya (intermediate level):
NPCR: New Practical Chinese Reader (新实用汉语课本). – So many people benefit from of these books, you can also get loads of related articles online.
For writing, in case you are close to a Chinatown, in Chinese book shops, there are workbooks for children in which one practice writing by tracing characters. You can buy booklets with large printed characters along with a thin wax paper page over the characters. It is perfect for learning how to write properly.
One tool you should definitely get is a Mandarin-English Dictionary.
There are several options available out there in the market but I recommend DK’s Chinese Visual Dictionary. Here is a link to the review:
Best of Luck,