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Ultimate Chinese: Mandarin Paperback – Apr 18 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Living Language (April 18 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609800655
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609800652
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 531 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,662,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for Living Language® Ultimate Mandarin Chinese
"Sophisticated--easy to follow. This book provides an efficient and highly effective approach to learning Chinese."
--Professor Theresa Jen, Bryn Mawr College

From the Back Cover

Praise for Living Language® Ultimate Mandarin Chinese
"Sophisticated--easy to follow. This book provides an efficient and highly effective approach to learning Chinese."
--Professor Theresa Jen, Bryn Mawr College

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Audio Cassette
I agree with most of the previously written criticisms for this book and tape set. I came to it as a previous student of the language and found that in many ways this was a useful way to refresh a lot of what I'd previously learned. The cost of the set is outstanding, considering a local Berlitz office wanted $25,000!!! for a 6 month course of one on one training. (I suppose we can thank Gov't contracting for that kind of pricing.) While I haven't scoured this book and tape set, I have put the travel tapes to a lot of use and found this approach to covering the lessons to be a good refresher. However, this product could have made the 4 star rating pretty easily if, as a previous reviewer had mentioned, Ms. Humphries had paid a bit more attention to detail. I don't have any examples written out, but in numerous situations on each side of each of the 4 travel tapes the translations are pretty loose. Using the Pimsleur recordings as a comparison, there is NO room for interp on those - giving a pretty secure feeling that you're getting a solid item-for-item exhange of wording ... whereas the "Ulitmate Mandarin Chinese" taped sentances are often frustratingly broad and sometimes inconsistant with other similar sentances/phrases on the tapes. The ?unintentional? benefit for someone in the reviewing process is it gets you thinking more about the options of how say something ... however, for those coming to this stuff new, this aspect would seem to be a bit problematic.
As for the previously mentioned speaker on the tapes with the rushed, slurred speech ...
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Format: Audio Cassette
After a hiatus of a few years, I've recently begun reviewing the Mandarin I previously learned. I purchased this book-and-recordings set for this purpose. Compared to what I have used in the past and what is presently available in the mass market, this set is a good solid beginning to what could be later excellent editions. A higher rating would've been easily possible if some simple quality control measures were exercised.
I agree with the previous comments that this set is better suited to the intermediate student, in large part because the grammar section gives sparse treatment to the topics it covers. The book stands out in its use of contemporary--yet grammatically correct--dialogue. Also, many of the recordings are quite good in further developing the intermediate student's ear for the distinct tones used in Mandarin.

However, some weaknesses impede the learning process. The book's glossary is missing many of the words used in the lessons. This can be a problem when you're stymied by a word used in a current lesson but was introduced in an earlier one. Unless you remember the lesson in which it was introduced, you'll need a dictionary nearby. Second, if you're looking up the Mandarin word for "grateful" you won't find it under "g"; you'll find it under "b" for "be grateful." This holds for other predicate adjectives listed in the glossary. Although this is common in many Chinese texts, native English speakers don't use a glossary this way. The better texts avoid this oversight. Third, some translations miss the mark; e.g., "bu gandang" is more properly translated to "you're too polite" rather than "thank you." Knowing the difference is important in Chinese culture, especially in corporate settings.
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By A Customer on Dec 30 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
When I first started on this book/tape course, I was very disappointed. I was thinking about giving this book a one star rating. Now, after having one year of Mandarin conversation under my belt, I am still struggled to get through this book. This is NOT a beginner book. I wish the author speaks slowly and repeats twice for each phrases. I have been searching for more than a year, but this is the best intermediate mandarin out there. Quite frankly, I could not find any other intermediate mandarin book&tapes alternative out there. Oh, I don't have any complains regarding there isn't any chinese characters in this book. To get to intermediate level, it took me one year just to learn conversation. Believe me, my colleages learned both characters and conversation for two years, and they can not even order a simple hamburger in China. I know, without knowing chinese characters you are consider illiterate, but I want to learn mandarin fast so I have to give up something. Oh, one good thing about this book is they have tapes version to study in your car. This book has 4 tapes to study at home, and 4 tapes to study in your car. The on-the-go conversations tapes are great. It's very interesting.
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By David Shamma on April 17 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
This instruction set is supurb!
It consists of two sets of tapes. The first set follows the included text book and is to be used in conjunction. The second set is for driving, or anywhere the book isn't or can't be used. Unlike other instruction sets, the tapes are mirrors of each other and use different constructions, phrases, and/or speakers. This gives you some variability, so you don't just pick up a pattern of the tape.
The book walks you through serveral practical chapters, "at the office" or "eating dumplings", etc. The focus of each chapter is used in some context to introduce not only vocabulary, but also struture notes and grammar. So much better than simply providing catch phrases. In little time (by the third lesson), a user can construct simple sentances and understand speakers. At the end of each chapter, it introduces some hanzi (characters) but focuses more so on pin-ing romanization. Learning to speak and learing to read are really two seperate tasks, but its good of this set not to completely ignore reading.
The book is available without the tapes, but would not be recommended as Chinese tonal pronunciation is near impossible without them.
Living Language claims the college equivilant of two years of study...which seems about right given the depth of excellent coverage this set provides.
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