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Chinese (Cantonese): Learn to Speak and Understand Cantonese with Pimsleur Language Programs Audio Cassette – Audiobook, May 1 1999


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Audio Cassette, Audiobook, May 1 1999
CDN$ 453.38
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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Pimsleur; Unabridged edition (May 1 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671581880
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671581886
  • Product Dimensions: 33 x 26.8 x 5.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,978,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

By A Customer on May 6 2002
I bought the 30 tape course in November 2001 for a trip to Beijing in February 02. Now maybe I was being a little ambitious expecting to learn much however I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised.

The course was easy to follow. As other reviewers have done I listened to the tape driving to work. Due to the rapidly approaching holiday I also went out in my lunch hour and parked up in my car in a quiet place listening and repeating. Then driving home I played the tape again. Maybe once more that same night before bed or in the early evening. So each tape was listened to at least 4 times. Sometimes I'd do the same tape for 3-4 days as quite often it was just on as background accompaniment during my commute. Over the Christmas/New Year holiday I was about half way through the course.
The system works. The words and phrases stick in your memory. By the time I went to Beijing I felt able to tackle conversations. I was able to make myself understood to the extent that I had taxi drivers speaking to me in rapid fire Mandarin expecting me to follow the conversation. If I had the money and had another trip back to China I'd definitely buy Mandarin 2 as the only downside is the lack of a really comprehensive vocabulary. Having said that it really is survival Mandarin which is needed in China away from, and even in, the tourist areas.
Finally, to show how good the system was and without being a big head, I was speaking better Mandarin than a guy who'd been living in Beijing for 7 months. Another local Westerner who'd been there for 10 years told me that it had taken him about 2 years to get to the level of speech/understanding that I was at. So thank you Pimsleur.
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After taking traditional courses in Latin, Italian, and German, I thought it would be a real challenge in my senior years to learn something completely different. Enter Mandarin. After searching out various taped programs to use while I commuted to work, I opted for the small Pimsleur tape version. Soon I realized I needed to upgrade to the full 30 unit CD version(the beginning was identical to the sample tape version). It was an excellent choice. Yes, they sometimes speak faster than you can respond; no, I don't mind replaying a disk to improve diction; and yes, it is expensive. But when I finished Mandarin I, I replayed the entire set of 30 units randomly to improve my own spontaneous responses. My vocabulary became more natural and my pronunciation improved (as confirmed by speaking to Chinese students at my university). It is clear you get one dimnension of instruction. I tried Transparent Language and it didn't engage me as much. After six months, I started sitting in a traditional college Mandarin course which helped even more. Most cities have a Chinese-American community where people get together to learn Chinese, so this should be available to most. I enjoyed it enough that I now bought Mandarin II. This picks up the pace and expects you to be in good shape from Mandarin I. I am most satisfied. Starting with listening and speaking is a good way to learn pronunciation naturally and accurately, but you still need real-person feedback (even with CDs I sometimes had problems with consonants). So it's now 15 months later (I only listen while I commute for 20 min.), and I have very positive feedback from my Chinese friends. So go for it. Beijing here I come.
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I'm a beginning Chinese language student. I actually started these tapes a few weeks before my class began. I drive around in my truck and listen and speak while going back and forth to work. I get in about 1 hour per day and am currently on lesson 12. I have listened to each lesson over 10 times. It takes me that long to know what to say when they ask how to say "I can speak a little Chinese". I usually know what to say at each pause and they have continually reviewed earlier material. It is surprising how much I can remember.
The reason I didn't write the Chinese version of the above question is the same reason I only gave Pimsler 4 stars. They do not supply the pinyin translation for the tapes. Having been in Chinese 1 for 4 weeks now, I find this to be a serious omission. (From my Chinese class I can now write "Wo3 hui4 shuo1 yi4 dianr3 pu3 ton1 ghua4." The numbers indicate the tone for each syllable.) There have been many times where I am not sure what the speaker is actually saying. I try to parrot what he/she sounds like, but often I just have to guess. I wouldn't have to do that if the pinyin translation accompanied the tapes.
One of the other reviews says that a child just learns by listening and doesn't need to read or write. However, a child doesn't have any timeline to learn either. It is a very long process, spanning many years and the child lives in total immersion (the best method). Every moment of every day is a language lesson for a child.
When you are an adult, you don't have that luxury and you need to be more efficient to overcome the discouraging ineptitude of a beginning speaker (your expectations are at a higher level). This is the fourth foreign language I have studied (French, Spanish, Japanese are the others) and this is the toughest.
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