- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (January 11, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0844284815
- ISBN-13: 978-0844284811
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,753,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Chinese in Plain English 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
On the minus side; no tonal marks, many errors in the examples.
I have shown this book to several native speakers in China and they said 'we don't say that'. In many of the examples the words appear to have been taken from a dictionary without consideration of use in context. The words are correct but the sentence has no meaning.
I removed the pronunciation guide and tossed the book.
After buying it and becoming more knowledge about the Chinese language, I gradually began to see that this book completely lacks a good foundation. First of all, the book uses only the pinyin spellings of words and has no mention of Chinese symbols. This is atrocious because a pinyin-spelled word may refer to many different symbols with completely different meanings. The book also mentioned the 4 different tones in Chinese, but does not apply them to the rest of the book. A sentence could take on a completely different meaning if used with the wrong tone. There is no discussion of grammar and most of the book is just extensive lists of phrases. Worst of all, the book cannot be very helpful with pronunciation because it does not have an accompanying audio CD. The pronunciation key can be easily misinterpreted.
I showed the book to a friend who comes from Beijing and he thought that its method of teaching was laughable. The author tries to present Chinese as a Germanic-like language, but it just does not work. Chinese is built on totally different concepts and must be taught with these differences in mind. Chinese in Plain English is nothing more than a rip-off for tourists wanting to quickly learn common phrases before a trip.
One shortcoming is that it does not use the pinyin tonal inflection marks. However, when used with other learning resources, that is not much of an issue. I find it very useful for basic vocabulary building and memorization drills; you really need to hear the language to learn the accent and cadence, and no book will provide that.
Besides the short introduction -- without the tones -- there is almost no point to it all.
I'm really not sure how this was published as is. This book is about the equivalent of an almanac that lists only the months as the date..