Reading & Writing Chinese: Simplified Character Edition Second Edition Edition

56 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 067-6251835090
ISBN-10: 0804835098
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book presents over 2000 essential characters for reading everyday Chinese. The layout is beautiful, the blue ink for characters works well, the order of strokes is clearly presented and the different meanings and pronunciations are explained. This one complements nicely the material above." —Goodreads

About the Author

William McNaughton was the founding teacher of Chinese at Oberlin College. From 1986 he taught at Kong Kong's City University, where he was the founding program leader of the BA (Honors) program in Translation and Interpretation. He now lives in retirement in Hong Kong.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; Second Edition edition (July 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804835098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804835091
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William McNaughton was the founding teacher of Chinese at Oberlin College. From 1986 he taught at Hong Kong's City University, where he was the founding program leader of the BA (Honours) program in Translation and Interpretation.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

114 of 117 people found the following review helpful By Steven Grimm on January 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
I started learning to write Chinese by working my way through this book, memorizing the characters, pronunciation, and definitions. Now I sort of regret it. The list of characters is reasonable enough. If your goal is to memorize a bunch of characters, these are good ones to concentrate on, and they're generally presented in a reasonable order. The stroke order diagrams are helpful when you're first starting out, and it isn't a problem that they're only present for the first half of the list of characters; by the time you finish the part of the book with the diagrams, you will have long since developed a good intuitive sense of the stroke order rules.

Unfortunately, beyond the selection of characters and the diagrams, it kind of falls short.

My biggest complaint is that the definitions are often not good. When a character has multiple meanings (as most of them do) you can't count on the most common meaning being first in the list, and in some cases common meanings aren't listed at all. If you're using the definitions to make flashcards, you'll be frustrated by the number of times two characters are given exactly the same English definition, even though in reality they differ in connotation or in usage.

There is never any distinction made between characters that stand as words on their own and characters that only ever appear as parts of compound words, which will definitely trip you up a lot if you're using this as a source of vocabulary. And the compound words are sometimes obscure or very old-fashioned terms that, if you say them to a Chinese speaker, will cause them to give you a puzzled look and ask where the heck you learned THAT old word.

The font used for the characters is a typewritten one.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Matthew D. Stidle on June 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book has been the single most important resource in developing my budding ability to read and write Chinese. The concept of introducing the most fundamental radicals before even the very common characters that employ them is wonderful...I took a year of Chinese in college and struggled to learn the characters with almost nothing to grasp on to, struggling to memorize what seemed like totally arbitrary pictures.

This book first introduces the building blocks of each character -- the radicals -- and then explains to you how their sounds and meanings combine to form new, complex characters. Now every time I come upon a new character in a textbook I am learning from, I look it up in this book to see if there is a clever mnemonic or phonetic element that will help me remember it more easily. A great help.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Himura Kenshin on March 24, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are a BEGINNER OF CHINESE please read my entire post it may prove extremely useful to you.

Basically this book and all Chinese books must be used along with other aids in order to achieve proficiency. The book its self is excellent quality and good composition but if you truly wish to be proficient in reading and writing Chinese it will require more resources than one book.

This book is a great start and great resource to reading and writing but you will also need a good dictionary to see all the ways these characters are used together, and on top of that a grammar book and some audio guides for pronunciation and verbal skills.

Chinese words typically are two or more characters many times four and sometimes more the four character sets are like expressions usually called idioms, both the two and four character sets are extremely important to your comprehension of Chinese if you wish to be fluent.

Also you have to ask yourself if you wish to learn simplified or traditional Chinese that depends on where you will use it. Simplified it used by the mainland aka china and traditional is used by Hong Kong, Taiwan, and many Chinese communities outside of china such as United States.

You will also need to determine which spoken language to learn, if your business will be on the mainland (excluding Hong Kong) or Taipei Taiwan then you should learn to speak Mandarin but if you business will mostly be in Hong Kong or America then most of those Chinese will speak a dialect of Cantonese. Many beginners may not know the difference but Mandarin and Cantonese are less dialects and more like different languages being unintelligible.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By William T. Knipe on September 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
Forget the other character books ! This is the one that

will get you over this hurdle ! Clear and sharp pictures of

every character, together with stroke order, pronunciation and

relation to other characters. Go after the big first thousand,

and then you will be ready to tackle the following 2000. This

book points out all the dangers and traps you'll run into in

your quest for mastery. You'll love it and keep it under your

pillow ! Bill K.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By G. C. Schlemmer on March 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a new student of Chinese calligraphy, I found this book to be extremely helpful.

It shows stroke order, a big plus for novices and non-chinese speakers, in my opinion.

It cross-references characters within the book, for comparison purposes.

It also describes the characters, which helps make connections enabling memory of learned characters.
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