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Lonely Planet Mandarin Phrasebook [Paperback]

H.Y. & Rudelson, J. B. Mowry
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 1 2000 0864426526 978-0864426529 4th Revised edition
Mandarin is the official language of China, Taiwan and Singapore. With this handy phrasebook you'll have no trouble communicating in any situation - shopping, getting around town, finding accommodation, or just making friendly chit-chat. Chinese script is included throughout as well as easy-to-follow pronunciation and grammar guides.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars the bible April 19 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this will get you by if you have been dumped by your Chinese girlfriend and need to get to the airport for a flight home.
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5.0 out of 5 stars useful Feb. 28 2013
By mia
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although it has some mistakes since different region of china has diverse expression, it still fit to western to learn Mandarin.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine for Tourists March 5 2004
This little book includes the basics that you would expect from a pocket phrasebook and also includes a two-way dictionary which may come in handy. This latter feature is an addition to the previous edition and it adds considerably to the heft of the book. It is pretty much what you would expect from a phrasebook with the requisite inclusion of the counting system (with pictures of the hand-signs which is helpful), useful expressions, and help getting around. It also includes both pinyin and simplified Chinese characters which means that if you cannot pronounce the tones correctly (you won't!) you can show it to someone. Be warned, I have met taxi drivers who cannot read Chinese.
A major caveat is that most Chinese do not speak Mandarin but a local dialect. They mention this in the introduction but it could be stronger. Even in the large cities there are some who do not speak Mandarin and although you may be able to make yourself understood, you will not understand them!
There are a few problems with the book, beginning with several typographical errors and exclusions. This seems troublesome when you may be relying on it to get you out of a jam. Secondly, this edition includes a list of profanity with the caveat that if "you hear these words you should be on your way." Users of this book will not know enough Mandarin to recognise what they are hearing and it seems an invitation for assault to consider using them yourself.
This book is excellent for those who are being tourists in Beijing or Shanghai for a few days but you will want to consider something more substantial if journeying around the country without a guide. If in doubt look for students, inevitably you will meet some who have studied English and are proficient enough to help you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book for non-beginners Aug. 27 2002
This book was very helpful on my recent trip to Beijing, but only because I've had a few years of formal Mandarin classes. If you've never taken any Chinese, this book, or any phrasebook for that matter, may not be of much help simply because of the difficulty of the language. Believe me, even after 3 years of Chinese I still had trouble getting cab drivers to understand me!
Even if you've been studying Chinese for a while this phrasebook will be a great resource for a multitude of day to day words and phrases. In fact, I often just read it page to page as sort of an interesting textbook. I love that it includes both the pinyin with tones and the characters side by side. Unfortunately, there are more than a few editing errors with the characters which could cause problems if you're using the book by pointing at phrases. Another issue is that the pronunciations often include the "er" ending on words which is only a Beijing thing, not heard much in the south.
Overall it is a great book that managed to survive being thrown around in my backpack, and now that I'm back home it will be useful as a textbook as there are still MANY words in it I have yet to learn.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable May 6 2002
By A Customer
I'm not a scholar of Mandarin although I have completed the Pimsleur Mandarin course level 1. My experience as a relative novice was that this book was extremely useful.
Every Chinese person that I showed it to, when trying to communicate, also thought it was very good and several asked where they could buy it. I looked in Beijing and couldn't find it.
Chinese pronunciation is fairly difficult although grammar is straightforward. I've got by in Vietnam in the past with the Lonely Planet's Viet phrasebook without any previous tuition. If you can retain phrases and remember to transliterate words down quickly before you forget then even this book on its own would be very handy. Pinyin is frequently not pronounced how a Westerner would expect from its spelling. For example the word "wo" for "I" is pronounced like "war" and not "woe".
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good Book. Sept. 18 2003
I've been to China twice now and I did not have this book on my first trip. But I brought it on my second. The book isn't very helpful for knowing how to actually speak it. But it was helpful to pull it out and show the person the Chinese characters so that they understood what you were trying to tell them. I just started Chinese with a Tutor and I'll be taking Chinese courses when I'm a full time college student. My goal is to study in China on my third year. As I begin to speak Chinese, this book will be wonderful to remind me of how to say words and phrases.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful handbook Aug. 1 2002
This little book is filled with phrases one may encounter daily during travel to China. It is also small and compact so that it won't add bulk to your backpack or purse. I recommend getting familiar with the layout of the book before you go.
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