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250 Essential Chinese Characters for Everyday Use, Vol. 1 (Paperback)

250 Essential Chinese Characters for Everyday Use, Vol. 1 (Paperback)
Author/Publisher: Philip Yungkin Lee
Format: paperback
Emphasis: Chinese Characters
Note: Simplified Chinese & Traditional Chinese
List Price: $24.95

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Editorial Reviews
Book Description
* Each character is shown in both simplified and traditional form, along with its pronunciation and meaning. Information is given about the radical (essential for finding it in a Chinese dictionary) and other components. The character configuration and stroke order are clearly shown, along with other tips to help form it correctly. A grid of practice squares for each character page allows the user to build confidence in writing Chinese.

* Several compounds are also listed for each character. Each of these is likewise accompanied by its pronunciation, meaning and an example sentence (also transliterated and translated). These compounds and sentences build vocabulary and give extra practice in reading Chinese. All compounds are listed in an alphabetical index at the end of the book for ready reference.

* Each set of 10 characters is followed by a quiz containing a variety of imaginative exercises to review and practice the recently learned characters.

* Each set of 50 characters is followed by a "Character Building" section designed to build familiarity with identifying radicals within characters, a Review of vocabulary learned, and a Word Puzzle as an enjoyable way of revising the material covered to that point.

About the Author
A native speaker of Chinese, Philip Yungkin Lee, is a Senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He has published several language learning titles and has received a Teaching Excellence award from his university. He is also the author of the Pocket Mandarin Chinese Dictionary, the Pocket Cantonese Dictionary, Essential Chinese Mandarin Phrase Book and the Essential Cantonese Phrase Book, all of which are published by Periplus Editions.

Product Details
  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing (July 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 0804833591
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Weight: 1.9 pounds.
  • Average Customer Review: based on 4 reviews.

Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful:

Absolutely FABULOUS!, November 12, 2005

Reviewer: Kimberly Geswein (Arlington, TX)

As a linguistic slow-learner, I have found this book to be a GODSEND! I LOVE IT!!! The big blank spaces for practicing are awesome! The little mini-tests throughout the book really challenge you to know your stuff! Combine this with the matching flashcards and you can learn your Putonghua in a jiffy! :)


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful:

Very Helpful, September 23, 2005

Reviewer: R. J. Christensen (Shanghai, China)

I have been living in China for 9 months and have been learning conversational Chinese. I decided that I should start learning the characters, as well. I have just started using the book, and it does seem that the author has chosen the most used characters. I would definitely reccommend this volume and the next. I think that if you can understand these characters in these 2 books, you can go a long way to understanding and figuring out a lot of everyday Chinese writing.


28 of 28 people found the following review helpful:

I will buy Volume 2 for sure, July 14, 2004

Reviewer: Lidiane C. TAHAN (Ann Arbor, MI United States)

2 months ago I had no knowledge of Chinese at all, and now I can recognize more than 150 characters easily. The only material I studied so far was this book, and it has been an excellent start for someone who wants to learn how to read Chinese by himself.

I decided that the first step I would take to study Chinese would be to recognize characters and its meanings, and only later to study grammar in detail. To recognize characters is not enough, since most of the Chinese words are formed by 2 characters, but if you know their meanings well, it will be a lot easier to learn the words later.

Another plus is that this book is based on the simplified characters, which are used in mainland China. Take care when you select a book, because a lot of them are based on the full form characters, which are used only in Taiwan and Hong Kong.


36 of 36 people found the following review helpful:

Great Intro to written Chinese, April 25, 2004

Reviewer: "wmrazek" (Yorba Linda, CA)

I used this book to supplement a college class. It is excellent as far as the set of characters it contains (most common), and in teaching proper stroke order. It is far better than the $100+ of textbooks I had to buy for the class.

Note that you have to learn proper pronuniciation through some other method. No book can explain what a sound is like, although all the chinese books try! This is the first review I have written, and I hope it helps those who follow. I have purchased many Chinese language books, and this is the best. Use it along with a Pimsleur audio course, and you will be on your way


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