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Basic Patterns of Chinese Grammar: A Student's Guide to Correct Structures and Common Errors Paperback – December 21, 2010
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About the Author
Larry Herzberg: Larry Herzberg studied Chinese for five years at Vanderbilt University before doing his Master's and Ph.D. work in Chinese Language and Literature at Indiana University. In 1980 he founded the Chinese Language Program at Albion College and then did the same at Calvin College in 1984. For the past three decades he has taught the Chinese language at the college level.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is all too natural for English speakers to read "Ta yangle haizi" as if the Chinese "yangle" is the past tense "raised." Textbooks rely on this to make students comfortable. But it is wrong. Verbs in Chinese do not have tenses, rather the sentences convey tense information. It is misleading to treat "yangle" as one word in the first place. Rather "yang le" is two words expressing "raise" and the idea of completing.
The Herzbergs explain this by clear examples of sentence tense and of different uses of "le." For example, "Ta chi le" can mean either "He just ate" or "He wants to eat." This is unnatural to English speakers since in English those are opposites. It is natural in Chinese because "he eat complete" can name either an existing state of affairs or a desired one, depending on context.
The particle "le" by itself has no natural meaning in English. It is natural Chinese.
This book gives numerous examples of patterns not natural in English which are natural in Chinese. The ease and clarity of presentation make these patterns natural to US students.
As other reviewers have said, the Herzbergs are one native speaker of Standard Chinese and one of English, both accomplished teachers of Chinese to American students.Read more ›
What does one want from a grammar book for self-study? For me, it's a combination of clarity and challenge. I want to be able to understand the principles that are being laid out without needing to enroll in a time-consuming and expensive course at the same time that I want to have the sense that nothing is being given to me in too simple a way. I want a challenge; I want to feel that I have to work for what I am getting. Not because I am a masochist, but because in my experience the effort reinforces the learning. I want to feel that I am confronting new but useful structures all the time, and I want as much Chinese language as possible included in the lessons so that I am not getting everything second hand through English instruction. In this way, I can work on important language structures and also pick up important vocabulary along the way.
The Herzbergs have produced just the right book for someone who is taking my approach. In thirteen compact chapters they lay out important principles relating to word order, parts of speech, special particles, special word choice issues, and even some letter-writing formalities (though I think one would be hard-pressed to find real letter writers anymore).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Awesome book. Really helped me fill gaps as a new student studying Mandarin.Published 1 month ago by ib
The book has so far helped me make sense of the language patterns, - still only explored the first part and trust the rest of the book will also impress.Published 2 months ago by alexander siegruhn
Book is nice, and of the only acceptable style studying Chinese - all text is written in chinese; transcription and translation.
However very little material in it. Read more
This book is very helpful. However, I have asked native speakers about some of the structures used in the example sentences provided in book and a few native speakers said the way... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Lamu
I highly recommend this book. I keep coming back to it as I learn Mandarin. I even bought a second copy so that my Chinese friend, who is learning English, can share the lessons... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sarah KS