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Mandarin Chinese : An Introduction (Paperback)

Mandarin Chinese : An Introduction (Paperback)
Author/Publisher: Mobo C. F. Gao
Format: paperback
Emphasis: NA
Level: Beginning - Intermediate
List Price: $49.95

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Editorial Reviews
Book Description
Mandarin Chinese: An Introduction provides a systematic overview of Mandarin Chinese from the perspective of the English-speaking learner. Using a comparative approach, it contrasts grammatical, and other features of Mandarin Chinese language, with relevant issues in English.
The book opens with a chapter on the setting of the Chinese language, giving a brief account of the historical, geographical, social, and linguistic background of China. Included is a discussion of how modern Chinese politics has played an important role in the development of modern standard
Chinese. Other topics include sounds and tones, writing, vocabulary, grammar, and discourse.
Mandarin Chinese brings a wide range of topics and issues together in one volume, presenting a coherent, easy-to-follow picture of the language, and a practical, efficient way to learn.

Language Notes
Text: English, Chinese

Product Details
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (December 28, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 0195540026
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces.
  • Average Customer Review: based on 3 reviews.

Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful:

A Good, Comprehensive Introduction, April 21, 2002

Reviewer: Bryan Wagner (Calgary, AB Canada)

Mandarin Chinese: An Introduction fills an important gap in the study Chinese. Modelled after A.E. Backhouse's The Japanese Language: an Introduction, it provides a general overview of the Chinese language and its setting. This kind of comprehensive introduction is something that until now has sorely been absent for the student of Chinese and makes a great addition to the Chinese studies canon.
Gao's book fills the niche nicely, but it is not without its faults, and hence cannot be given the full five-star rating. The section that must draw the negative criticism is Phonology. The errors in this section seem primarily because of sloppy IPA transcription, particularly concerning rhotacization and treatment of the various phonetic values of Pinyin {i}.
Nonetheless, The discussion on Language and Politics is a reflection of the personal interests of the author, but politics, as is pointed out in the book, has been such a central force in directing language change in the modern era that a general overview of Chinese is essentially incomplete without this kind of discussion.
Although the primary focus is clearly on the language as spoken in Mainland China, Gao is careful to make sure to take account of the Mandarin spoken in Taiwan, Singapore, and other Chinese communities.
With a few errors but a solid overall introduction to Mandarin, Gao's book is an essential addition to the library of all who wish to learn more about the Chinese language.


12 of 12 people found the following review helpful:

The Foundations of Chinese, December 29, 2001
Reviewer: A reader
I've been studying Chinese and also trying to learn to speak it (the two aren't mutually inclusive) for quite a while. This book provides the best and most balanced view I've ever seen into what makes Chinese tick. Although I've known much of what's in it before I had a chance to read it, I found much of what I had previously suspected spelled out clearly, and it helped me arrange my thoughts on Chinese more consistently.

For me it was easy reading. For someone who knows no Chinese at all, it may be more difficult; it's hard for me to know for sure. But if such a neophyte were to read it, they'd understand a lot more about Chinese than I ever did when I started. It could help them decide whether or not they were up to the challenge of learning it, and it could also give them all the information they'd need to make themselves seem an expert on Chinese at whatever next party they attended. This is so not only for the grammar, pronunciationa and writing systems, but also for the social context in which the standard language has formed and is continuing to develop.


13 of 14 people found the following review helpful:

Great companion to studying Mandarin Chinese, December 5, 2001
Reviewer: A reader
Mobo Gao's book is a great companion to English speakers trying to learn Mandarin Chinese. It compares and contrasts various linguistic and cultural features of both Chinese and English in order to help learners to figure out why things work they do in the Chinese language. It is not the be and end all to a program of learning Chinese (you will need textbooks and/or audio material in addition to this book) but it is an excellent supplement to whatever route one is taking to learning Chinese ... whether it be self-study or in a class.


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