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Essential Mandarin Chinese Phrase Book Paperback – Nov 15 2002

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Paperback, Nov 15 2002
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Periplus Editions (HK) ltd.; Bilingual edition (Nov. 15 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0794600379
  • ISBN-13: 978-0794600372
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 1.3 x 19 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 118 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,969,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9eb6af60) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e5978dc) out of 5 stars Uses standard Pinyin, which is great, but also challenging Feb. 28 2007
By Derrill Dabkoski - Published on
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This book is the only phrase book I've seen that uses standard pinyin. This is good because:

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.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e59c8d0) out of 5 stars A Useful and Portable Reference July 29 2011
By S P - Published on
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If you're going to spend some time in China but you haven't jumped into Mandarin yet, get this book. It will come in very handy during your travels.

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.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ee6f24c) out of 5 stars Preparing for a trip to China May 20 2007
By Suzy-Q - Published on
I bought this book in preparation for our trip to China. It has a lot of useful phrases that can be used in various situations travelers might find themselves in. The text is very small, which makes it compact, but requires the use of reading glasses for many of us over 40! I was dissapointed that there wasn't more vocabulary for navigating airports.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ea37528) out of 5 stars Impressive July 5 2006
By Belle C. Sanchez - Published on
Verified Purchase
This phrase book is very useful, especially for foreigners who have some basic of Mandarin, but want to improve or use when they travel in China (For some who doesn't have basic, it's still useful because there is Chinese character written in the book, so they can show to locals). It also brushes up your memory of vocabularies.
HASH(0x9ed63a98) out of 5 stars Five Stars March 10 2015
By CM - Published on
Verified Purchase
Was bought as a gift- they loved it.