Beginner's Chinese with 2 Audio CDs, Second Edition (Hippocrene Beginner's Series) 2nd Pap/Com Edition
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First, examples are provided in both Chinese characters and in pinyin, allowing students who know only pinyin to focus on that, while permitting those who are learning the characters to benefit on a more advanced level. It is not easy to set up dual-option structures like this, and for achieving it so elegantly, I commend Mr. Ho. Since I don t know the Chinese characters, I used the pinyin, but it was nice to have the Chinese loitering in the background, giving me a goal for the future.
The book s 10 chapters are devoted to topics such as Places, Family, Time, Travel, and Weather, and alongside the grammar content, they include brief but thoughtful essays providing cultural context for the reader s language studies. The grammatical explanations are well-paced, and the exercises are effective and relevant. Mr. Ho also includes useful information on resources for further study.
Unlike many language-learning books these days, the content is not in any way dumbed down. The grammar content is clear but demanding.
Some not terribly significant gripes: there are too many exercises that are subjective, where you respond in terms of your own experience, and that therefore have no answers. I like exercises to have answers in the back, since I do not live with a Chinese teacher who can check what I have done!" --Ellen Jovin, Words & Worlds of New York
About the Author
- Item Weight : 15.2 ounces
- Paperback : 326 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0781812577
- ISBN-13 : 978-0781812573
- Publisher : Hippocrene Books; 2nd Pap/Com Edition (October 1, 2010)
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.75 x 8.75 inches
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,301,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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So, I greatly revise my original review, written below and given only one star. The first chapter can seem overwhelming but it isn't really if one seeks a bit of guidance from a native speaker. If you can persevere to the second chapter, the rest of the book shouldn't be very difficult. After completing the first three chapters I was able to have limited conversations in Chinese. I'm happy with my progress and this book is exactly what I need. This IS a good book.
I am giving it 4 stars rather than 5 because the dialogue on the CD moves to each successive phrase too quickly. There is no time to even repeat the phrase before the next phrase has begun.
Pros: It is very inexpensive. The topics covered are relevant, the vocabulary is good and the CDs are very useful. The CDs contain all the vocabulary and dialogues from the book. All of this is packed into one CD ( The other CD is used for tonal practice ). The speech pattern on the CDs is at the normal speaking pace. I find this to be very useful preparation for listening to normal paced speech. There are no sound gaps for one to practice responding to the dialogue but I prefer to have all my lessons conveniently on one CD. Also with repetition, one can anticipate and respond along with the speaker ( kind of like singing along to a song on a CD ).
Cons: The sound quality of the CD is not as loud or clear as Pimsleur. There is a some background noise. However, the main problem is that the recording volume is very low. This is easily solved by turning up the volume. The pronunciations were clear and the accent, although not Beijing, seems metropolitan. You do not have to speak in a Beijing dialect to sound educated.
The plastic CDs sleeves on the inner cover of my copy were placed incorrectly ( sideways ). The CDs themselves were also much thinner than normal CDs. The sleeves and sound quality of the CDs were of much better quality in the intermediate edition. I made back up copies of the CDs just in case. These minor glitches did not detract from the outstanding overall value of the books.
I own both of Yong Ho's books , Liz Scurfield's book ( 2 CDs ) and Pimsleur 1-3 ( 48 CDs ). I would start with Yong Ho and then move on to Liz Scurfield's book. I would not even consider Pimsleur. Comparatively, Pimsleur is very expensive, repetitive and SLOW; one only knows very few BASIC phrases after spending $225 on Pimsleur I ( 16 CDs). Unlike Yong Ho's or Liz Scurfield's books, Pimsleur does not explain the rationale behind the sentence patterns..the listener is left to figure it out subliminally through repetition...like a baby learning a new language.
Yong Ho and Liz Scurfield's books are bargains and well paced for an adult.
The font is much larger and bolder (good for me). The number of pages went from 173 to 326 but the wording of the texts looks the same (so the lessons haven't changed- also good for me).
It now includes writing practice sheets, in the book. You would probably want to scan these out.
At least two of the cultural essays have been rewritten, in one case to make it more practical, and in another case to bring it up to date.
I had two other very well known and excellent works covering similar subject matter (basic conversation), but Yong Ho was the one I liked best and chose to use.
(One of the other reviews, the one currently given as "most helpful critical review", is dated 2005 but refers to a second edition. That must be a mistake. This second edition is just out, Oct 2010.)