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I Can Read That: A Traveler's Introduction to Chinese Characters
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Top Customer Reviews
I lived in the city of Shenyang, China for almost a year and a half. I dealt with a lot of Chinese people and Westerners that had been there for varying lengths of time. The Westerners had varying levels of oral Chinese language skills, but it was very rare for me to find a Westerner who knew how to read Chinese. The Westerners that I knew who could read Chinese were for the most part long time scholors on the topic or they learned it from their Chinese relatives.
I read this book, and learned most of the characters in it. I could not even come close to reading a magazine or newspaper, even those for children. But, I knew more Chinese characters than 95% of the Westerners that I knew in China. Most of these foreigners would be impressed when I could read the little I did. For most of the Chinese people I met, I was the only Westerner that they ever met who could read even a few characters. I'd figure a sign out, and they could not believe it. This skill was a great conversation topic, and I soon learned several other characters in the conversations that I had with the locals.
For the most part, this book is not required reading for someone who travels to China. In places where a lot of Westerners travel, many signs are in English, or pin-yin, or "Chinglish" (poor translations from Chinese to English.Read more ›
Well written. Very accessible. Excellent compliment to chinese language tapes for anybody trying to learn basic language skills before a trip.
I travelled to China last year, not knowing a word of Chinese and certainly not having any ability to make out the characters. Prior to that trip, I might occasionally read an article or website which would show me the characters for, say, "China", but they'd so to speak go in one eyeball and out the other -- I simply couldn't retain or learn or even really *see* the characters.
A travel article recommended _I Can Read That_ so I bought it, and it was a miracle. Literally on the first page, in the first few minutes of reading it, I at last started to realize "oh, there's a system behind all these characters". I could now look at Chinese characters, and though I couldn't truly read them (since I don't even know Chinese), I could start to truly see them, recognize them, and learn them.
After 5 minutes of reading, I'd learned 5 characters. After another 5 minutes, 5 more. After that, well there's a limit to how much information my brain can take in at once, but I kept reading the book and learning characters.
It was as exciting an experience as learning to read must have been (I actually don't remember).
And, to return to the first theme, this could all be done without "studying" per se, or taking a class. It can be done on the run, while travelling in China (or on the plane to China).
So, the book is no substitute for actually taking a Chinese class or learning from an in-depth book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I benefit from this little book more than from some of the "fat" ones.Published 23 days ago by Jack Januszkiewicz
This book has been pretty helpful for right brained me to try to grasp Chinese. There are some references to how the characters come from the object named..wish there were more. Read morePublished 29 days ago by .E. Lyons
Fairly interesting. I would have enjoyed more real life examples. The ones they had were very good.Published 7 months ago by Love to Read
Very helpful, especially the order of how to write the strokes.Published 9 months ago by Janet Peyton
With 78 common Chinese characters widely used in public signage or on common objects, the authors provide hundreds of practical words that are of immediate daily use to readers. Read morePublished 11 months ago by blankpage
Cool book. I have actually leaned a few of the Chinese symbols. I may get more serious about studying them if we ever get the chance to take a trip to China.Published 13 months ago by Mary L
Great book to learn a few basic Chinese characters and it really works based on experience.Published 17 months ago by John
This is my third copy. The other to have "disappeared" after friends have had them in their hands. A coincidence? I don 't think so. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Dale Ray Thomas
even if you aren't ready for characters - the book also includes the pinyin and lots of interesting comments and photos about China in a conveniently-small package. Read morePublished on December 18, 2012 by Cynthia Berger