- Series: Hippocrene Beginner's Series
- Paperback: 326 pages
- Publisher: Hippocrene Books; 2nd Pap/Com edition (October 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0781812577
- ISBN-13: 978-0781812573
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 54 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,048,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Beginner's Chinese with 2 Audio CDs, Second Edition (Hippocrene Beginner's Series) 2nd Pap/Com Edition
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"Once I acquired a little Chinese background, I really ended up liking this book, for a number of reasons.
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
Yong Ho received his PhD in Anthropology and Linguistics from Columbia University, USA. He presently co-ordinates the Chinese Programme at the UN and serves as the Vice-President and Executive Director of the Chinese Language Teachers' Association of Greater New York. He is also author of Intermediate Chinese with 2 Audio CDs and Chinese Practical Dictionary, also by Hippocrene Books.
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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.
These books are a work of art and science and are incomprably better than anything I have previously found. Ho has put his Ph.D. in linguistics to good use. He has listened to his English-speaking students and understood their problems. He has also thought about his native language and culture and come to a deep understanding of it which he is able to convey in clear concepts and good English. His exercises show how well he understands the problems of his students. There are a number of exercises which ask "What is wrong with this?" followed by Chinese sentences that make exactly the mistakes I tend to make.
Each book has ten lessons centered on very practical situations, such as getting something to eat. The new speech patterns and vocabulary of each lesson are carefully introduced, then applied applied in practical conversations that provide just the right amount of drill and repetition. They, like nearly all Chinese in the book, are given in simplified characters, pinyin (the phonetic script), and idiomatic English translation. Besides the conversations, there is expository text for practice in reading using the characters and words that have been introduced in the conversations. The "Cultural Insight" passages are original and sometimes stunningly perceptive. There are answer keys to the exercises given in both pinyin and characters.
By all means get the editions with the CD. The recordings are clear though not dramatic in the sense that they do not give the illusion that you are listening to a live conversation.
These books use simplified characters only. They do not show how to write the characters. That is not a big problem, for there are several good books that teach only that. Like all Chinese textbooks of my acquaintance, these say nothing about how to find characters in a dictionary. The best advice on that subject is to find the "Field Guide to Chinese Characters" on the Internet.
The CD goes through all the conversations.