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Colloquial Chinese: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) Paperback – October 5, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0415113861 ISBN-10: 0415113865
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Language Notes

Text: English, Chinese

About the Author

Kan Qian teaches in Oriental Studies at the University of Cambridge.

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Product Details

  • Series: Colloquial Series
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (October 5, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415113865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415113861
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,771,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
You may be wondering why Routledge have two books on their catalogue with the same title? The earlier work (1982) is by two of the staff at London's University's SOAS. The newer, by Ken Qian, seeks a less academic approach and is clearly targetted more at the unaccompanied beginner. While the publisher's decision to issue an easier and more 'popular' textbook is understandable the old Tung and Pollard version is being kept in print due to its popularity as a university text and the fact that the Chinese character texts are available separately. If you want to really learn Chinese to the level of being able to read newspapers and novels one day then you'd be better off with Tung and Pollard.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 9, 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
While this is not an academic text (as the reviewer from London - living in Beijing - notes), it is excellent for the independent traveller who might be going to Singapore, PRC, or ROC. Along with the tapes that accompany it, I found that 6 weeks of study prior to my trip to Taiwan gave me the basics for getting around solo. The course is a good balance of grammar notes and practical vocabulary. If I wanted to learn how to read Chinese newspapers, I'd certainly enroll in a language school and not try to learn the language all on my lonesome. I highly recommend any of the Routledge series books for Southeast Asian languages as well. These books and tapes are far superior to any others I have used for self-study in preparation for a trip.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Patrick C. Tai on January 7, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Colloquial Chinese Mandarin: The Complete Course for Beginners
The Kindle version does not come with any audio CDs. As a result, I cannot learn the pronunciation of the Chinese words. The "text-to-voice" pronunciation is terrible.
So, do not buy this for the Kindle.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By George on April 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
I'm a complete beginner in chinese. This book with its accompanying Audio-CD's give's the beginner a good base in chinese llanguage. As soon as someone finishes this book, he will be able to understand basic written and spoken chinese and move conveniently around china as a tourist or even bussiness traveler (the book's text are based on business traveling). It is good for those who wish to have a basic knowledge of the language. Then they can move on a more academic book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By perekladach on January 14, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It would be hard to imagine a beginning textbook which could set a novice learner of Mandarin more at ease. From the sections on pronunciation that start out this book, on to the carefully crafted dialogues and well-explained grammar, a student will never feel overwhelmed by the aspects of Chinese that are unfamiliar to a non-native speaker (nearly all of them, in other words). Unlike many other books in the Routledge Colloquial series, almost nothing is used in the lessons that is not clearly elucidated right then and there- Even in early lessons, where the occasional resultative compound ('kanshangqu', which idiomatically means 'it seems') there are no lurking surprises or unsolved mysteries left to plague the student in future lessons. Vocabulary is very useful and everyday, basic principles of writing Chinese characters are demonstrated very clearly (although handwritten examples would have been nice as well as printed forms) and best of all, there is a Book 2 to go on to- and by the time a student finishes this first volume, they should be able to go on to it with a great deal of confidence and anticipation.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Frederick Baptist on May 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
I got the audio cassette version just before cds became ubiquitous in my country and also because the cd versions were not available at the time and given my vast experience with tons of tapes over the years, I knew it was only a matter of time before the oxide layer would fall off and the sound quality would slowly but slowly degrade. I hence got a techie friend to immediately burn the tapes onto cds for me; he managed to squeeze everything onto 2 discs.

Why this long intro? I just wanted to explain why this product got 4 instead of 5 stars from me and I'd recommend getting the cd version immediately unless you absolutely have to listen to cassettes. The sound quality of cassettes is limited and you'll have to put up with the irritating hissing sounds that we in this modern day and age have become totally unaccustomed to.

That aside, this is a very good resource for beginners who cannot afford the time and expense of personal tutoring or attending formal classes; this is by no means a substitute for these but may well be the next best thing. The book is very comprehensive and explains what's probably the hardest part to grasp of the language which is mastering the 4 basic tones. Once you can get these down pat and the relatively simple grammar rules, the rest is all about adding to your vocabulary.

Of course if you want to go further than this spoken, beginners' course, you'll need to look for more advanced courses that teach the other headache of writing and reading the characters! As they say, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step and so this is a worthy first step indeed. Just try and get the cd version instead of this cassette version.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By the troubadour on November 23, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The grammar is clear and enough for beginners like me. The sentences are simple enough. I like the quizz/question parts, they made your brain work.1-I wish they had both simplified and traditional characters like Tung's books, but I know that's impossible. 2-the CD sound was hissing and not digital-like.3- It seems that the chinese speakers in the CD had been away from the mainland many many years so their accent were not quite beijing's.
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