Another Matthews' Mess, 100's of Pinyin Errors,
April 16, 2010
By Dà Máo Hóuzi
Where to start, 100's of Pinyin errors, yes hundreds!
And the cover!, Alison, Lawrence, do you have an editor?
Three errors on your front cover!!!!!!
And then 6 errors on the back cover page!!!
next time try "Hanyu", "Pinyin and "Romanizations".
Okay, a little tip for writing Hanyu Pinyin. (note the capitalisation on
proper nouns.) You don't cover the rules in your book so I will help you.
I will use simple English.
If two or more Chinese characters are compiled to form a word, the Hanyu Pinyin reflects this.
let me help you with examples
you write zen3 me yang4
however, the correct is zen3me yang4
you have about 600 errors like this, and another 600 in the index!!
now you have made hundreds of errors like this!!!
a new record!!!!!
This could have been a good book if the authors knew more about Chinese language. The effort is incomplete and lacks the essentials to develop good character writing skills.
This book does very little very well. There are absolutely no;
1) no Rules of Hanyu Pinyin
2) no Rules of Grammar
3) no Rules of Pronunciation
4) no list of named Strokes
5) incomplete rules of stroke order
in addition, there are hundreds of Hanyu Pinyin errors.
There are only 4 rules of stroke order mentioned, grossly inadequate.
There are no write over practice drills, just typically 3 huge characters in 48 size font to copy. This does not give the student an opportunity to anchor the motor skills for each character. There is little value in practicing writing mega-characters unless you are going to be a Chinese sign writer. There is no guidance to learn the scalability necessary to write Chinese.
The book gives an incomplete list of the Kangxi Radicals at the back of the book but the officially assigned numbering is very wrong!
The layout and readability of the book is very mediocre.The contents page
is so small that the letters and characters are barely readable. The spacing, page format and font size of the Introduction makes it hard to read. Same for the List of Radicals at the back of the book, barely readable.
This book uses black in the character writing drills, an improvement over the first book which uses blue. Studies have shown that black provides the best visual anchoring.
The Index is excellent except the Hanyu Pinyin is all wrong..
The choice of characters is excellent.
Kangxi Radicals 0/3,
There is a chart at the back of the book listing some of the Kangxi Radicals, however, the assigned numbers are wrong. Also, it is very difficult to read due to the size of the font that they used. Plus, the made up some of their own and created new names for others. Like, why not stick with the convention that emperor Kangxi created? You know about that right?
In order to get the chart with 226 characters on it, they reduced the size of the letters and Chinese characters so that they are difficult to read. However, they do make an attempt. Unlike most books.Incidently, their incomplete list of 226 is bigger than the official list of 214 but lacks many of the real radicals, bizzare approach to teaching, giving out wrong information.
Stroke Order 0/3,
Stroke order is deemed to be the basis of literacy in writing Chinese characters.At first I thought that there was nothing written on this. then I found 4 sentences of page 9. This is pathetic. A total of 62 words to describe a very important component to writing Chinese characters.
Named Strokes 0/3,
There is nothing on this
For some reason, the authors used a smaller than usual font size on the first 9 pages of the book. This makes it difficult to read. These first nine pages cover very little that is useful to learn to write Chinese characters.It is hard to understand as to why the authors did not use a bigger size of font
A good indexing system is utilized. However, hundreds of Pinyin errors.
Writing Drills 1/3,
The writing drills are simplistic and do not do a good job at guiding the student. There is a typical page of boxes to practice in but only a monster sized character to use as a guide. Chinese students learn by overwriting characters continually downsizing until they can do it at any size, accurately. This in fact make the book about 80% empty space. Studies have shown that students benefit most from trace over character drills.
There are no grammar guidelines
The book is a character writing book. There are a sampling of words for each character and they are accurately translated and useful words. The Pinyin is however entirely wrong.
Overall Usefulness 1/3
This book has a good selection of characters for introduction. It does not assault the student with too much information like the books by Phillip Yungkin Lee.
Honesty, Integrity 0/3 The subtitle of the book is;
"The Quick and Easy Method to Learn the second 100 Basic Chinese Characters"
This book fails entirely at providing the essentials to writing Chinese characters. By not providing the names of the strokes, the rules of stroke order and a good representative exampling of characters,a student cannot develop character writing skills.The authors do a further dis-service by not having pronunciation rules of Hanyu Pinyin.
Overall, the student is supposed to be able to write a character without knowing the names of the strokes and the stroke order. Then the student is introduced to words without knowing how to pronounce them. This book is another incomplete effort by the team of Alison and Lawrence Mathews.
Hopefully the book will serve as a template for a more knowledgable author
to write a better book.
The Mathews' keep trying but keep fallng short of providing the student with a useful book.