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Chinese Demystified: A Self-Teaching Guide Paperback – Oct 13 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (Oct. 13 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 007147725X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071477253
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 2.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Claudia Ross, Ph.D., is a professor of Chinese at Holy Cross University. She is the author of Schaum’s Outline of Chinese Grammar.


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bow on Feb. 5 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a most absorbing book for a lot of us learning Chinese. Chinese is a very difficult language to learn unlike English, French or Spanish. This book provides such amazing details in an engaging manner that it helps increase the memory of the vocabulary. The exercise part is so appealing to do. That is the best for learners. Thanks ©laudia Ross for taking the time to write such an interesting book on such a difficult topic for learners.
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By Satisfier on May 21 2014
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This is one of the best books for an overview of the Mandarin language. It covers a good range of the basic parts of the language. A good start if you want to learn Mandarin.
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It came quickly, within two days and It is an amazing book for beginners to get a hold of read and writing!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 19 reviews
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Adequate foundation builder March 31 2011
By Pileous Bolox - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've studied Chinese in China and also used other resources such as Pimsleurs. I have the book in my hands after needing to use up a gift voucher. I wasn't sure what level(s) "Demystified" would encompass and on inspection can see it's usually not exceeding what would be considered a beginners level. The preface notes explain that the book is intended as a supplementation resource to a more extensive language course.

The writing style is very matter of fact with little attempt to amuse the reader or provide incites into Chinese culture or explorations of the history and motivations behind the language. You may or may not care about that but often one's learning experience is enhanced by such inclusions.

Pinyin, Simplified and Traditional forms are used throughout and the book even provides a brief overview of strokes (writing/hanzi). I found that as a westerner learning all three; reading, spoken and written forms at once is an ambitious exercise and a student certainly shouldn't expect this text to serve as a hanzi reference. The vocabulary is admittedly low and embraces those stock terms and phrases language learners throughout the world are familiar with. Importantly grammar is given sufficient coverage as that's a large part of your language foundation. Extensive exercises are provided at the end of each chapter.

With no audio companion the true beginner will definately have to supplement the book with an appropriate resource to polish their pronounciation(a teacher?).

As a non-beginner I'm finding it works well as a refresher.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Excellent guide/overview June 7 2011
By Colin McLarty - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not an introduction to Mandarin -- notably there is no CD/DVD audio component. You probably should not attempt this book without also using Pimsleur Chinese (Mandarin) I or Chinesepod on-line or Fluenz Mandarin 1 + 2 Learning Suite - Windows, but you could use this right from the start of using them.

My basis is Pimsleur I-III plus a lot of Chinesepod Elementary which is terrific but less structured than Pimsleur. So I can handle light small talk and tourist business in China. I've gained rudimentary reading skill from dozens of sources, notably 300 and 500 character Chinese Breeze books (sold by several Asian book importers but not on Amazon). Ross's book Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide (Modern Grammars) has done me a lot of good.

This book has very little that is not in the resources I have named and they have a great deal that is not here. But this is a fantastically attractive overview. The format is brisk and enjoyable. You can read it cover to cover as a refresher.

As a particular virtue for beginners, this has the best concise introduction to Mandarin phonetics I have found. Some Mandarin sounds do not exist in English. It is nearly impossible for an English speaker to learn these just by hearing them and trying to repeat them. You need some help. The Sounds of Chinese has it all, but may be more than you want to know. Ross in this book gives a good beginning explanation.

Even this account relies far more than it should on comparison to English sounds (which are not very like the Mandarin ones) and it could be more explicit. For example it says that j, q, x are pronounced "with your tongue close to the roof of your mouth" -- but that means the middle of your tongue, and certainly not the tip of your tongue which should probably be behind your lower teeth for these sounds. But it is huge progress over other introductory accounts.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Bon voyage June 20 2012
By Billy Lee Harman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book's title and cover made me a little wary, suggesting to me that the book might be by dummies for dummies, but I've never found a beginning language instruction text to be more clear and direct and appropriately selective and methodical. Anyone who can and does read this book carefully and thoroughly enough to learn what it says will be able to get along very well in China. A CD for pronunciation could help but isn't essential. HITRT
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The perfect companion Oct. 4 2012
By L. D. Rafey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My first thought is that only a student who has had some intense initial exposure to Mandarin (perhaps a month or two) can truly appreciate the benefits of this handy little companion to virtually any course (classroom or self-taught) on the written and spoken language. The overview itself is worth the price of the book but then the student is taken on a detailed tour of the language that clearly serves to further demystify the peculiar aspects of the language so alien to foreign speakers. My advice for the beginning student is to immerse oneself in the language for a month or so, then stop and study this wonderful aid. The brief exercises are well worth the effort as they force the student to focus on the specifics that are usually glossed over in virtually all other texts or not explained clearly enough for practical purposes. The effort is made all the more valuable by making the remainder of the student's progression into the language all the more graceful and meaningful. I have studied Mandarin and Japanese for two years (and I have a background in most Western and Indo-European languages) and have roamed the field as it were for the best teaching devices. This is by far about the best there is in terms of a companion text. PS: This review is specific for the Kindle version and I must say that, unlike many of the other reviewers, I did not have a problem with the Mandarin text as it is easy to enlarge it with a finger swipe, rendering it quite readable. Again, the spoken aspects of the language can only be accomplished by repeated listening and imitating native speakers (although you probably will never really get it just right). Once again, I highly recommend this book to anyone who truly values learning this language in depth.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Handy Overview of Mandarin Grammar March 11 2013
By Courtney Kleshinski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Those with previous exposure to the language will benefit most from this handy book. I paired this book with Rosetta Stone Levels 1-5 Mandarin course. This was by far the best grammar book I've read. It doesn't explain every aspect of Mandarin grammar, but it is an incredible overview. This book is great for those just starting to learn the language and those who are looking for a quick refresher. To top it all off, this book is an easy and enjoyable read, and all readers will be able to use the information in the book immediately.


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