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Mandarin Chinese Phrase Book (Berlitz Phrase Book) (Paperback)

Mandarin Chinese Phrase Book (Berlitz Phrase Book) (Paperback)
Author/Publisher: Berlitz Guides
Format: paperback
Emphasis: Chinese Phrases
Level: Beginning - Intermediate - Advanced
List Price: $8.95

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Detailed information
Editorial Reviews
Book Description
More people speak Mandarin than any other language in the world--and knowing a handful of phrases and words will make sure you are understood in China, Singapore, and Taiwan. Basic Chinese characters and their pronunciation are included so you can easily decode written Chinese, communicate with confidence, and travel with ease! The Berlitz phrase book is the unparalleled market leader in its category.

Product Details
  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Berlitz Guides (September 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 2831562651
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 4.0 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 ounces.
  • Average Customer Review: based on 6 reviews.

Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:

A poor choice - see Rough Guide, June 14, 2004
Reviewer: A reader
Berlitz made a poor choice by not including tones - they say it's too difficult for the beginner. Well, you can't speak a lick of Chinese without at least some tonal knowledge. Adding in tonal indicators would have made this book acceptable and would not distract anyone who chose to ignore them. As a result of Berlitz' poor choice, this book is also a poor choice for you.

Berlitz also chose to use their own tweaked pinyin system. This might actually be helpful for the beginner in pronounciation, since pinyin (the standard Romanization of Chinese) is a bit confusing at first. However, if you ever want to learn to read road signs (all in pinyin as well as characters) or use any other learning materials, you will have to learn the real thing anyway.

Fortunately, there is an excellent alternative - the Rough Guide. I looked at quite a few books, including Lonely Planet, and Rough Guide's is the best. It includes characters, pinyin, AND a helpful, more natural phoenetic spelling. Excellent for the beginner and casual learner - the target market for phrase books.


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:

Get the "cassette pack with phrase book" instead, August 21, 2002
Reviewer: A reader
This phrasebook doesn't use pinyin or accents. This means no Chinese will understand you no matter how well you follow the book's pronunciation system. Mandarin relies on pronunciation more than anything else. If you enjoy the Berlitz series, then get the cassette+phrasebook pack instead (ISBN 2-8315-6270-8), so you'll hear basic Mandarin spoken. However, I've heard other audiocassettes packs are better.


1 of 4 people found the following review helpful:

If you want to visit China, GET THIS BOOK, April 18, 2002
Reviewer: A reader
You can't learn Chinese from a phrasebook.
This book is great because it has the Chinese characters in it.
It is well thought out and has color coded sections.
I found it great when I visited Shanghai, Hagzhou, and Qingdao.
If you don't speak the language you will love this book. It helps you get what you want done. Whether you want to order at a restaurant or find a hotel or get to the train station or many more, you will use it.


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:

NO TONES, November 25, 2001
Reviewer: A reader
I was looking at this book in a bookstore and it dosen't use tones or pinyin.
Don't buy this book.
You will not be understood if you don't speak Mandarin with tones.


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:

not really for a beginner, March 21, 2001
Reviewer: A reader
This book is ok, but not really for a beginner, I think that if you really want to learn how to read and write chinese I have seen many other books that are much better on the market, but this book is like a quick refrence book, not really a book to teach yourself anything. I did learn a few words, but very limited to what I can say from reading this book. I have been told I am also not pronouncing the words correctly, I learned the words from the phonetic words next to the chinese words in this book. Like I said great refrence, but not a serious way to teach yourself chinese


19 of 19 people found the following review helpful:

Book Stinks, April 28, 1999
Reviewer: A reader
This has to be the worst book I have ever come across and does a disservice to anyone attempting to learn Chinese. Learning Chinese can be difficult and it is important to pay attention to the subtle differences. Berlitz has it's own phonetic system different than the standardized Pinyin system to describe Chinese words. Thus if you use this book, and learn Berlitz's own phonetic system, then any other course, book, or mainland Chinese person, cannot assist in pronouncing correct Chinese.

Berlitz also refuses to consider using Traditional Symbols which are used in Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, California, and Taiwan. But in fairness, many other books refuse to offer Traditional symbols as well.


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