Interactions I: A Cognitive Approach to Beginning Chinese (Paperback)
Author/Publisher: Margaret Mian Yan, Jennifer Li-Chia Liu
List Price: $39.95
Text: English, Chinese
- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Indiana University Press (November 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN: 0253211220
- Product Dimensions: 11.0 x 8.5 x 1.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds.
- Average Customer Review:
based on 5 reviews.
|12 of 12 people found the following review
Traditional, simplified, pinyin and English, June 5, 2000
I think this book is great. Each dialog is given four times. Once
each in traditional writing, simplified writing, pinyin, and English.
This really helps in learning to read. Each chapter has the same set of
sections. Some of the sections are on:
How to write characters, including stroke order.
Explanation of grammar. I find these very helpful.
|2 of 3 people found the following review
Best I've found so far., February 2, 2005
Recommended. I have switched to Interactions/Connections textbooks
after using the Integrated Chinese course for a semester. Please see my
full review and a comparison of the two courses under the textbook
"Interactive Chinese by Yao and Liu".
Interactions I is challenging: before you tackle it, I absolutely
recommend Pimsleur Mandarin I audio full course. And you will need a
tutor or a class for any Chinese textbook. Classes are a lot of fun, but
check the textbooks they are using before you sign up -- Chinese
textbooks seem to be about 50 years behind other foreign language
offerings. I have not tested the Interactions audio CDs ($100 from
Indiana University Press).
Textbook courses typically assume you will continue your study in a
language school in China/Taiwan/Hongkong, so they prepare you for
student life. If you want Chinese just for travel, especially business
travel: go with the Pimsleur full courses: Mandarin I, II, III. They are
the BEST purely audio (speaking, no reading) courses. For just speaking
Chinese, there is no textbook course that will take you as far and as
fast as Pimsleur: you won't be able to read Chinese street signs, but
you will be comfortable asking directions!
|1 of 2 people found the following review
Spin your wheels, January 19, 2005
First the good:
The book has an excellent character reference with stroke order for key
words in each chapter.
The cultural notes in each chapter are interesting and informative.
Then the bad:
Tries to do far too much, too soon. A beginning foreign language student
needs to use their time building a foundation of the language that they
can add to in later semesters. Huge vocabulary lists of words that
students won't remember and aren't important for basic communication and
learning of sentence patterns simply cause frustration and needless
wasting of study time doing look up drills.
Sample dialogs SHOULD be useful. They can demonstrate the usage of key
grammar points and vocabulary. The dialogs in this book are so cluttered
with excessive vocabulary that one can easily spend hours just playing
find the obscure words instead of getting a feel for how the language is
used. I realize Chinese is difficult and a time consuming 5 credit
course, but having to encounter "leading actress" or "United Nations" in
dialogues really defeats the purpose of them. I suspect not one student
in my class would have been able to say "vinegar" or "to be natural" in
Mandarin Chinese a week after class ended, but they sure had fun turning
the pages again to look up that strange character so they can get
through the dialogs. Hey we can say "athletic field" so we're almost
Early language learning should focus on the core vocabulary. Let the
students repeat and drill early and gain a feeling for the language.
Don't believe me? Take a student who's completed two semesters with
books like this and another who's listened to a complete 90 lesson
Pimsleur course... drop them off in the foreign country and watch who
can communicate. One has tried to memorize huge vocabulary lists,
another has practiced over and over with the most useful words.
Pass on this book, unless you need to be able to say "pumpkin pie" in
Chinese to feel like a proper beginner.
|4 of 16 people found the following review
Recommended by my girlfriend from Taiwan, January 5, 2002
I bought this book today, as recommended by my girlfriend who is a
Taiwan native. Meeting her in June of 2001, I became interested in
learning the Chinese language. This would be my second foray into
attempting to learn a foreign languge, as my first one, was back in the
spring of 2001 with the Russian language.
As before, I went to bookstores, and looked and studied the different
methods available. I found what I thought were some good methods, but
thought I would wait until she came to visit me so she could advise me
of the best one.
She came here over X-Mas, and we looked at many books in the
bookstores. This is the only one she recommended.
Now, I cannot rate it just yet, but I will give it 5 stars based on
She chose it because she felt that it had the best presentation of
the traditional and simplified characters, their pinyin pronunciation,
and explanatory meanings. And she liked the fonts.
It is so fascinating in trying to learn a new language. It makes you
think, about how did you learn your native language in the first place.
In my first attempt to learn a new language, the Russian language, I was
faced with some soul searching about this. I realized that aural
assimilation and imitation, was probably the earliest learning method.
Then, the study of the written character and alphabet, and word
formation, then grammar.
So, probably no one method can cover it all, but a combination of
methods would be comprehensive.
I guess it depends on your agenda and time frame.
I had purchased the "Chinese Now" by Transparent Language, I thought
it was a good aural and imitation learning program, but my girlfried
didn't like it. One thing I realized, is that it doesn't show you
characters, only pinyin equivalent pronunciations.
Anyway sorry for rambling on, but I will let you know more after my
studies, on how this particular book works out for me!
|4 of 5 people found the following review
Simplified characters hard to distinguish, June 1, 2001
I'm going to be living in China in the coming year, and I was hoping
to use this text as a means to get some knowledge of the language
beforehand. I will be living in Beijing, where the simplified characters
are popular. In contrast to the previous review, I found distinguishing
the simplified characters from the traditional to be quite difficult,
and I'm somtimes left to wonder if they are even there at all.
It is also not set up in a very easy to learn format: they start you
out from the beginning with entire dialogues in Chinese characters
(albeit, they then repeat the conversations in Pinyin and English) so
they don't offer much in the form of grammar instruction, just jumbles
of words with no explaination as to why or how the sentence is
structured in that way.
One last qualm: The workbook has many activities involving the tapes
for the books (which are not included, and I wouldn't even know where to
As a plus, it does give you the selected characters in each chapter
with the number for each stroke, in addition to aides for remembering
the meaning. It also offers a section on Chinese culture at the end of
All in all, this would be a good book for use in the classroom with a
teacher who would be able to answer your questions.
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