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Beginners Chinese Paperback – Jan 1 1999

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: HIPPOCRENE BOOKS (Jan. 1 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078180566X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0781805667
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14 x 22.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #666,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a high school interested in learning Chinese, I tried a variety of books to begin learning with. After buying three different instructional Chinese books (most which advocated learning Chinese in small, quick increments) I noticed that they did not focus at all on the grammar of the Chinese language, they simply taught common tourist phrases. This is not the case with Young Ho's "Beginner Chinese" book. This book focuses on forming sentences in Chinese from the get-go, and includes many explanations as to why things are done in Chinese. The book also includes a plethora of exercises to pracitce with, as well as an answer key for all them. Combine that with a glossary, and the reader is set to learn Chinese in no time. The only complaint I have is that the book doesn't really discuss the pronunciations of the Pinyin system; this however is a minor detail. Once again, I strongly recommend this book to be the starting block for all who are interested in actually learning Chinese, and not simply tourist phrases.
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Format: Paperback
I am a 30-year old ABC (aka American-Born Chinese). As a result, I have grown up in and have adopted American culture as my own. In fact, I staunchly maintain that my native tongue and culture are English and American, respectively. My primary connections to recent immigrants from China and Taiwan are racial and genetic.
While I have an decent grasp of the Taiwanese language which is that of my parents, I have barely any grasp of Mandarin Chinese except a word or two. At the urging of my Cantonese girlfriend, I have recently purchased this book to learn Mandarin which is the predominant dialect in Chinese society. I have found the book to be well-organized as it builds on the vocabulary and sentence patterns learned in earlier chapters. Exercises in each chapter provide ample opportunities to use your vocabulary in a variety of ways. The repetition really helps you get used to the vocabulary and structure. The Language Points in each chapter explain the rationale for the language's structure. Fortunately, structure in Chinese is usually simpler than that of English. Cultural Insights provide information about the people of China and show how language is used to show politeness and respect in certain situations.
All that being said, you cannot learn a language simply by picking up a book. No book will ever get you to pronounce the words correctly or get you comfortable with the language. No fault of the book but I find pinyin, at times, to be counter-intuitive. To really excel at the language, you have to hear and listen to it. Fortunately, my girlfriend is a living, breathing language lab. I also suggest practicing a little bit each day otherwise you will rapidly slip back down the learning curve.
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Format: Paperback
The book promises the following (and definitely lives up to it): "This book has been written for the adult learner who has no background in Chinese, and for travelers who want to take a quick course on Chinese. . . By the time the student finished this book, they will have learned about 90 basic sentence patterns, 300 characters, basic grammar, and basic communicative skills." Even with minimal practice and application this still proves true.
Yong Ho is an excellent author. This is the best introductory Chinese course, I've come across thus far. His logic in the introduction is correct. Language should be heard and spoken first before it is ever read. Does anyone ever stop to think about the children of this world? We would all be lost if we had to read a language first. How does one read without exposure sound process or vocabulary (audio)?
Fall of 2002, I took a course at the local community college and this book was recommended. I still thank my teacher for her insight in selecting this book. I've always been turned off by language courses, particularly in academia, that were geared more to structured academics as opposed to the beauty of learning a language (the oral/conversational aspects). I've seen people take intensive language courses and even get degrees but still couldn't get past basic introdcutory conversation. Another aspect of learning a language is learning the culture of the people so you can understand the how and why of thought/speech patterns. This book does this at the end of each chapter with the wonderful cultural insights under "Language Point." There is definitely plenty of repetition which is essential for any type of learning. The only criticism is that the characters are in the simplified format,used mostly on mainland. I will now move on to the Pimsleur series, another highly recommended course, I've seen the results for myself. However, I'm forever grateful to Yong Ho for his delightful book.
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Format: Paperback
Before I came to China, I bought four books on how to learn Chinese. Three of them are: Yong Ho's "Beginner's Chinese," McNaughton's "Reading and Writing Chinese," and the Oxford Concise English-Chinese Dictionary. I bought all three of them from after reading reviews of each book on the website. I lucked out -- each book has been helpful. When I first came to China, Ho's book seemed too elemental and boring to hold my interest. I wanted to learn to talk about sports and music, and I have learned to say the basic vocabulary about these topics. But sooner or later I had to start learning the boring but necessary foundational vocabulary and grammar of Chinese. And Ho's book is fantastic for this. But the book does not teach how to read or write Chinese. However, McNaughton's book, which I am told is the standard for learning both simplified characters (used in mainland China) and traditional characters (used in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore), does this well. The Oxford Concise English-Chinese dictionary uses the pinyin system. To my surprise, many English-Chinese dictionaries do not employ this system, making the language much more difficult to learn. If you are traveling to mainland China for an extended period of time, I think you will find all three of these books helpful.
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