Top critical review
Only for the Ambitious
on July 24, 2001
You should NOT buy this book if: 1) you are going to Hong-Kong for a week, and want to get the basics of the language. 2) you already know Mandarin or any other language using Chinese characters.
Why? The first 10 or so words you learn are different kinds of fruit. You have to memorize all these to be able to go on to the exercises. This may be fine if you intend to get a huge vocabulary, but for most beginners, 10 different fruits are not the most urgent need. The book goes on in the same way with chunks of specialised but not necessarily useful words.
The next problem is that hardly any Chinese characters are used, so you get little or no help from your possible previous knowledge of Chinese or Japanese. I bought the book, because it provided CDs with the text, and I still think that's its main advantage. I still haven't learnt Cantonese very well, but I've started using another book (Teach Yourself) in parallel, and that helps a lot.