- Series: Colloquial
- Paperback: 328 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (November 9, 1982)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0415018609
- ISBN-13: 978-0415018609
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,169,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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T'ung & Pollard's Colloquial Chinese 1st Edition
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To make this series work, I suggest you do two things. First, get the supplementary character text book, as this one only uses the Pyin Yin romanization system. Second, get a tutor, or conversation partner, or someone to help you out. Not only will that person help you learn the material, but the chances are he/she will give you more updated, contextual information to supplement the lessons.
Other than that, this is an excellent book. If you stick with the lessons and listen to the tapes you will develop a foundation in Mandarin.
There's another book with the same title and publisher, but by a different author (K Qian). That book is simpler and more suitable for the casual learner wanting to learn Chinese for travelling, but it doesn't reach as high a level of Chinese as this one. But then again, neither is it as hard going!
Back to this one: there are no Chinese characters in the book. To learn these, it would be useful to buy the companion chinese character version of the book, which gives all the texts and grammatical pattern sentences, but not the grammar explanations, in Chinese characters and teaches you how to write the 700 plus characters introduced. That's available only directly from the authors I think. Unfortunately, there aren't any cassette tapes currently available for this book so it's not really suitable for someone learning completely by themselves unless they already have a good knowledge of Mandarin Chinese pronunciation. Nor are the answers to the exercises given. So it's more suitable to use with a tutor or as supplementary reading for someone attending a chinese class.
I have two quibbles with the book. Firstly, the grammar explanations are a bit dryly written so they are not always easy to understand. Secondly, the lengths of the chapters vary too much. The first few lessons are quite short and concise (perhaps 20 new words get introduced) but by the end of the book, the number of new words given per chapter has ballooned to well over 100. So the later chapters are much more hard going than the earlier ones. The first point can be overcome by buying a set of good Chinese grammars, e.g. the books "Basic Chinese" and "Intermediate Chinese" by Yip and Rimmington and of course by asking your Chinese teacher!
If you include learning how to write, I think there's enough material in the book for 6 months of intensive study or a year for someone who wants to study more slowly (but still regularly).
After mastering the material in the book and learning the 500-700 associated characters, the learner is well-placed to go on to a lower-intermediate text, i.e. at the beginning 2nd year college level.