Chinese For Dummies (For Dummies (Lifestyles Paperback)) 1st Edition

22 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0764583759
ISBN-10: 0764583751
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From the Back Cover

Features real-world examples and a mini-dictionary

Your friendly guide to understanding Chinese — quickly and easily!

Curious about Chinese? Whether you're a student, a traveler, doing international business, or you just want to pick up basic Chinese, this clear, easy-to-follow guide will have you pronouncing words in standard Mandarin like a native speaker. From grammar, numbers, and vocabulary to greetings, popular expressions, and proper etiquette, you'll make yourself understood in no time!

Discover how to

  • Have everyday conversations
  • Speak in "perfect pitch"
  • Construct sentences
  • Understand cultural rules and taboos
  • Get around in a Chinese-speaking country

About the Author

Dr. Wendy Abraham has taught Chinese language, literature, culture, and religion at universities throughout the U.S. She is currently finishing her second doctorate in Chinese Literature at Stanford.
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Product Details

  • Series: For Dummies (Lifestyles Paperback)
  • Paperback: 375 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (July 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764583751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764583759
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,427,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Kafrin on April 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you have no previous exposure to Chinese, this book/CD will make you FEEL like a Dummy! You are expected to repeat entire phrases and sentences from the start. It's better for a beginner who has already done some basic work in Chinese. However the book is wonderful for explaining Chinese culture, and the author definitely conveys her own love for China and the people and language. The cultural notes are fascinating and definitely more accessible for "dummies" than the audio section. If you are a beginner looking for a "step 2" program the CD is a great challenge and introduces a lot of new vocabulary.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Leahy on October 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book suffers from two problems. One is that it throws readers directly into conversation and overwhelms them. I used the book to pick up a few cultural niceties, but my Chinese friends laughed at my failure to use the correct tones. The other problem is that it is shoehorned into the Dummies framework of organizing books rather than trying to absolute novices the basics first. This book has good appendixes and other reference material. It would be a great second book after you have mastered another approach of learning basic Chinese. I quickly ditched this approach, and bought the Pimsleur series.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Farsnott on August 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
I needed a good book on Chinese language to prepare for my fiance coming next month from Shanghai. I had already bought several books on Chinese language and each had different approaches to laying out the land of a somewhat difficult language.

When I received Chinese for Dummies, I skimmed through the varius chapters and saw that the format used in the book, made it easier to understand the language and the "chinese mind" that I beleive the other books lacked in scope.

I ended up using the chapters as a template for lesson plans, not only for myself, but for teaching my fiance English.

The additional CD made it easier by "hearing" the tonal structure

of the Chinese, something the other books disappointedly lacked.

I highly recommend this book.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By inktvis on May 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
I cannot recommend this book to anybody who does not already have a basic knowledge of Chinese. If you intend to learn some Chinese as a beginner, please avoid this [...] and seek different literary introductions.
All this book does, is teaching you sentences and phrases and what they mean.

It would tell you, how to tell a person, that you are not Chinese:

W'ô bú shì zhö'ng guó rén. (I can't do all phonetics correctly)
I am not Chinese.

That's all it does. It would have been so easy, to make this a helpful exercise by pointing out what you were literally saying, namely:

I not be middle-land-man.

Concealing this fact, this book almost deliberately disables you from putting sentences together yourself because it won't tell you how to!

Again: It is consisting only of sentences and phrases that one must learn by heart. Maybe that's the Dummie's way, but - unless you are a chimp - I don't think anybody would be dull enough to learn an entire language this way.

DO NOT BUY if you are really interested in learning Chinese as a beginner.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By David Scheffer on July 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is a great intro into the form of the chinese language. The suplementary CD includes about 30 conversations which you can follow along in different sections of the book and allows you to practice along with it by splitting up the conversation and allowing you to repeat a few words at a time. It also helps with pronoucing the four tones on the first few tracks which is very useful. The book itself is organized very well and has mini chinese-english and english-chinese dictionaries in the back for the most used words. Overall, an excellent buy.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Edward Hancock II on August 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
Chinese for Dummies is, in no way, a book for beginners. It's a book for people who have studied Mandarin for 20 years and just haven't gotten it yet. It's for people who really just don't get it... but even those people probably won't be aided by this book.

What I know for sure is that beginners will be lost. This is not a teaching tool, it is a reinforcement tool, best used to supplant prior exposure to Mandarin Chinese.

Don't buy this book expecting to LEARN chinese. For that, go with Rosetta Stone or Pimsleaur. But if you are looking to brush up on your Mandarin in a quick and (somewhat) easy way, this book might be for you.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Zhongguohua88 on December 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
The title of the book is misleading, it expects you to have some basic knowledge of the language. If you don't know anything about Chinese when you start reading it, you will be completely lost. If you do know the basics of the language, this book will teach you very little vocabulary and grammar (in my case it didn't teach me anything I didn't learned from Pimsleur). The teaching method used by this book is really inefficient.

The audio is terribly slow, I don't have any other Chinese course that have such a slow audio speed; it is nowhere near real conversational speed and it takes forever to listen to a whole lesson.

There are plenty of products out there that are better than this one, don't waste your money on this book. Pimsleur/Assimil are way better. The New Practical Chinese Reader costs about the same price and will teach you way more than this book does.
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