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Complete Chinese (Mandarin): The Basics (Coursebook) (Complete Basic Courses) Paperback – August 19, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-1400024254 ISBN-10: 1400024250 Edition: Bilingual

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Product Details

  • Series: Complete Basic Courses
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Living Language; Bilingual edition (August 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400024250
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400024254
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #317,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By C P on January 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Due to the complex pronunciation system in Chinese, getting started in studying Chinese for a beginner can be quite difficult. So, it makes sense that this book/cd starts with practicing the pronunciation. This portion is essential. BUT, as noted in the other review (which I sorely wished I read before buying this), the order of words/phrases in the CD do not correspond to the book.

For those who have already bought this book, you can decipher the order of reading for the first few lessons. The word lists were probably originally printed in a four column format and then moved to a two column format.
Originally:
A 1 D 4
B 2 E 5
C 3 F 6

(letters are the Chinese words, numbers are the English words)

Then moved to:
A 1
D 4
B 2
E 5
C 3
F 6

The people making the audio recording were obviously reading off of the original format, left column then right column. So, if you understand the difference in structure, you can compensate for this mess.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David Luttmann on September 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This set provides a great introduction to Mandarin. This otherwise fine intro does have one large problem with it though....in the beginning chapters, the words and phrases are repeated in a different order than as they appear in the book. Because some of the spellings look similar, it is not possible to discern which word you're actually trying to repeat. This is a pretty sloppy error and should have been spotted.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cameron C. on February 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book/cd set at a local bookstore, hoping it would teach me some basic Chinese. And I was surprised! If you are a good independent learner, than this book should be great. It is very inexpensive (you might as well just forget the cd if you already can master Chinese sounds), and it covers all the basics, including a few useful characters.

WARNING: If you have trouble with memorization, this book may not be for you.

BUT: It is like Pimsleur because it gives you words, and then puts them into phrases. Example:

zao morning

an good

zaoan good morning!

What I like to do is make flash cards of each word in a coversation, and then after I have learned them, review the conversation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bigguy33 on February 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very Poor,

I lived in China for a few years so therefore, I have been learning Chinese for awhile. I have also taken 2 semesters of Chinese in college. I have all the popular CD available and both the new and old version of this book (both were free)

There is one fault that makes this book a disaster, THERE IS NO INDEX IN THIS BOOK!!. What I mean, in my Chinese college textbook, "Integrated Chinese" there is a wonderful index in the back of the book for every word in both Chinese(Pinyin) and English. Therefore looking up an unfamiliar word is very simple. In this book, Living Language - Mandarin, there is no index, so there is no way to look up a word. Instead the book in broken down into sections, such as Restaurant, Shopping, Family ...etc, therefore, you have to pick a section, look through the whole section and hope you find the word you are looking for. If you can not find it in that section, you have to pick another section and start looking again. Each section is about 30 pages look. Then, if there is another unfamiliar word being used in the sentence containing the word you are looking for you are completely lost since you now do not know what section to look at for this second unknown word.

I have spend hours just looking for a couple of words and then just gave up ! How much money would it have cost just to put an word index in the book??

Do not buy this book, if you ever need or want to look up the meaning of a Chinese word. If you just want to mindlessly read some Chinese pinyin words, then this book will meet your needs.
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Format: Hardcover
First of all, this is a book completely based on pinyin, if you want to learn to read and write hanzi (Chinese characters) this book is not for you.

The Good:
* Great for an absolute beginner in Mandarin: it goes out of its way to teach you the tones and pronunciation. In fact the first 5 chapters are devoted to this! Yes there is some non-correlation with the CD but this is corrected by chapter 6, and by chapter 10 it's a non-event.
By the way, don't take this for granted, I have a Korean book by another publisher, it assumes on chapter 1 your mother is Korean...

* Up-to-date and complete CONTENT for tourists and business travelers: chapters on computers and internet, and travel and tourism. In fact every possible basic situation is covered, from the weather, to checking in at the airport!

* The Dictionary included: read below why(!)

The bad:
* Typos with the tones throughout! Yes, you read correct, typos! With Chinese being a difficult tonal language, this is inexcusable...tones might be missing, or might be incorrect altogether...you'll just have to research the word to find the correct tone.

* Vocabulary, or lack thereof...there is no vocabulary at the beginning of the lesson for the new words you are learning. There is a vocabulary at the end of each chapter, which is unrelated to what you just learned! I found myself resorting to the provided dictionary every 5 minutes to figure out words and tones, which makes the dictionary invaluable.

I haven't tried other Mandarin sets, so I can't directly compare it...if you are patient with its faults, it's worth it.
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