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Ultimate Chinese: Mandarin [Paperback]

Jennifer Humphries
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 18 2000 LL(R) Ultimate Basic-Intermed
Developed by the experts at Living Language, this book offers a highly effective combination of conversational Mandarin Chinese with grammar and culture. It covers the equivalent of two years of college-level study.40 lessons, each with a lively, authentic Chinese dialogue that includes the most common and useful expressions for everyday conversation. English translations and explanations of Chinese grammar and usage, pronunciation, vocabulary, and cultural notes. Sections that introduce you to reading and writing Chinese characters. Quizzes to check your progress. Summaries of measure words, question formation, and particles.
An extensive two-way glossary. While this book stands on its own as a complete course and an invaluable reference, you'll find that using it with the recorded lessons is even more effective.
Along with the recordings, Living Language® Ultimate Mandarin Chinese cassette packages include this manual.

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Product Description


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

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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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3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but some noteworthy shortcomings. May 25 2003
By A
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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4.0 out of 5 stars For Mandarin Intermediate only Dec 30 2002
By A Customer
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Supurb. 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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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good resource
I used this set on and off for about a year and was surprised at how much I learned. I only got through the first 16 lessons, but I feel that with a more rigorous practice schedule... Read more
Published on Aug. 5 2003 by Becky
4.0 out of 5 stars Not appropriate if you can read Chinese characters
I agree with most of the comments by the other reviewers. I think the pace and coverage is quite appropriate for intermediate students of the Chinese language. Read more
Published on Aug. 27 2002 by Belinda Wong Swanson
4.0 out of 5 stars Great intro for English speakers
The layout of this is excellent. The only reason I gave 4 instead of 5 stars is that the Chinese on the tapes is too quickly pronounced. Read more
Published on May 1 2002 by Maestro Antonio
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Value
This course is one of the few modern Chinese instructional guides available on the market today. The material seems to be up to date and easy to follow. Read more
Published on Nov. 8 2001 by Harry
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for Intermediates
I purchased this product with the intention of using during drive-time. The audio tapes blew through beginner into intermediate very quickly. Read more
Published on Oct. 11 2001 by Michael Turner
5.0 out of 5 stars great introduction to mandarin
Humphries effectively introduces mandarin chinese to new and experienced students of the language. Humphries appropriately relates the material to excellent examples through... Read more
Published on July 20 2001 by Jason W. Atwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Journey through Mandarin
Humphries effectively introduces mandarin chinese to new and experienced students of the language. Humphries appropriately relates the material to excellent examples through... Read more
Published on July 9 2001 by Jason W. Atwell
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Program!
At the time of this review, I think this is one of the best language program on mandarin. The conversations from each lesson are lively and very pertinent to what one would use in... Read more
Published on June 30 2000 by Ron
5.0 out of 5 stars This is COOL!
I do not have the book yet... but when I get it... I am sure it is going to be the BEST!
Published on June 28 2000 by "grievehj"
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