Essential Mandarin Chinese Phrase Book Paperback – Nov 15 2002
There is a newer edition of this item:
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
1)Standard pinyin is the official standard romanization for Chinese and is used on all signs in China.
2)It has the accent marks to indicate the 4 tones (and 1 neutral tone).
3)All Chinese people are required to learn Pinyin in school.
Pinyin takes a while to read and pronounce properly, so the learning curve on this book might be steeper than other books. (Don't try to read pinyin like English, or no one will have any clue what you're saying!)
But if you have any aspirations to learn Chinese correctly, I recommend this book as a good introduction.
The book contains two major sections: a listing of practical phrases arranged by subject, and then a glossary of common terms. In the phrase section occupying most of the book, there's everything from hitchhiking to emergencies to "intimate conversation" (going to bed and preventing AIDS). Hey, it's a different country. Who knows what could happen? The short story is that these phrases will cover most of what you need to do, and will help you communicate considerably better. Thankfully, the book uses standard Pinyin - the official phonetic system, and one that makes a lot of intuitive sense if you want to learn some phrases accurately, but without memorizing hundreds of characters. It's also a great way to jump into further studies, as the characters are printed right alongside the Pinyin. So if you want a "tri-lingual" phrase book that lets you understand, speak, and write in Mandarin, this will serve you well. You can even point at anything in the book, and a local can just read that. (You might be surprised that you actually want to try out speaking the phrase - it can be very fun!)
I took off a star because of some esoteric vocabulary choices. They include 3/4 of a page on how to develop film photos, and an entire diagram of a car, but relatively little on transportation. When you're booking a long-distance train and you need to be absolutely sure about all the details, this proves important. (I ended up on a 19-hour train I thought was 7 hours.. 8am and 8pm are very far apart). Some of the problems are simply anachronisms. Cell phones and DVDs weren't as prominent in 2003, and high speed rail was far in the future. Thus, an update could help the traveler get by in a very rapidly changing society. Thankfully though, most of the terms are pretty timeless and will serve you for decades.
For those who are travelling more extensively, I would also recommend a Mandarin to English, English to Mandarin, or combined dictionary. At various points during my two month trip this summer, I wanted to use a specialized term but didn't find it the rather general glossary. I also heard or saw terms that I wanted to look up - and there was no way to do this.
Still, this crams a very impressive amount into a very small book. I would not hesitate at carrying this around all day. Check out everything China has to offer.. and get this book first.
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Education & Reference > Etiquette > Conversation
- Books > Education & Reference > Foreign Language Study & Reference > Foreign Language Dictionaries & Thesauruses > Chinese
- Books > Education & Reference > Foreign Language Study & Reference > Instruction > Chinese
- Books > Travel > Asia > China
- Books > Travel > Guidebook Series > Essential