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Oh, China! Elementary Reader of Modern Chinese for Advanced Beginners (Paperback)

Oh, China! Elementary Reader of Modern Chinese for Advanced Beginners (Paperback)
Author/Publisher: Chih-p'ing Chou, Perry Link, Ying Wang
Format: paperback
Emphasis: Reader
Level: Beginning - Intermediate
Note: Simplified Chinese & Traditional Chinese with Pinyin
List Price: $55

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Detailed information
Editorial Reviews
Book Description

Oh, China! is a textbook for the growing number of "advanced beginners" who are studying Mandarin Chinese. These are students who, usually because of their Chinese family backgrounds, can speak and understand elementary Mandarin, but cannot read or write well enough for an intermediate course. Most first-year texts serve advanced beginners poorly by focusing on elementary vocabulary and conversation that the students already know. In contrast, this book offers help with what they most need: reading and writing, grammar, and achievement of standard pronunciation.

The content of the lessons has also been chosen to appeal specifically to advanced beginners. There are three clusters of topics: the home and social life of young Chinese- Americans, the notions of "overseas Chinese" and their ties to China, and important figures in modern Chinese history. Each lesson is given in both traditional and simplified characters, and, for the first fifteen lessons, in hanyu pinyin as well. The lessons are accompanied by vocabulary lists, grammar notes, usage exercises, and character stroke-order charts. The book begins with a detailed chapter on "foundation work" in Mandarin pronunciation, complete with exercises. It concludes with a complete Chinese-to-English vocabulary index.

Oh, China! is designed for one year's study at the college level and will prepare students to enter third-year courses. The latest in a series of Chinese language texts published by Princeton University Press, it will meet an important and growing need in the teaching and study of Mandarin.

Audio and video materials are available for use with this text. For further information, contact the Chinese Linguistics Project, 231 Palmer Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, N.J. 08544. (609-258-4269).

Language Notes
Text: English, Chinese

Product Details
  • Paperback: 536 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (October 27, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 0691058784
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds.
  • Average Customer Review: based on 3 reviews.

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

a really good book, May 18, 2002

Reviewer: dan the man (Sichuan, China)

As a Peace Corps Volunteer living in China, I needed a book that would quickly and effectively introduce me to the complex grammatical structures and vocabulary necessary to engage in grown-up conversation. Books widely available here in the motherland were not particularly useful - most "advanced" books here tend to avoid the very issues that are most talked about by young, educated people today.

I found "Oh, China" to be a great tool in my personal language acquisition process (a sentence that I can now translate into Chinese...). Most importantly, the book introduces topics of conversation that I often encounter in a method that is all-but-entirely free of bias. I was able to use this book with my Chinese tutor...

While it's true that the grammar isn't perfect - sometimes my friends and teachers laugh @ me for sounding like a textbook - for the most part the grammar lessons were right on, especially their explanations in good, clear English.

The vocabulary problems stated above are, indeed, quite infuriating.

Despite these problems, the book was immensely helpful to me and, overall, a really good book


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful:

Wo wanquan bu tongyi...a good concept, but terribly executed, February 16, 2001
Reviewer: A reader
Unfortunately I can't agree with the first reviewer. The concept behind this book is sound; it attempts to address the needs of students who, due to family background or special circumstances (such as, in my case, having lived in China), can speak some Chinese but have little knowledge of reading, writing and formal grammar. The concept is good, but the book falls short on execution. Problems:

1)There are numerous errors and omissions in the text and in the example sentence patterns. My Chinese teacher, a native speaker of northern standard Mandarin, has confirmed this.

2)The grammar "notes" are little more than footnotes; no formal presentation of grammar is given. One would think that students whose background includes little grammar preparation would require more grammar than a typical textbook provides, but this book contains virtually no formal grammar presentation at all.

3)The sentence patterns are not only prone to error but also frequently contain vocabulary items that have yet to be presented in the main body of the text. Considering that the target audience is students who can speak some Chinese but cannot read and write, why do the authors assume that students using the book will be able to read the characters for these additional vocabulary items before they have been formally presented in the main body of the text?

4)The exercises also frequently contain vocabulary, grammar and/or characters that have not been introduced in the text. This makes doing the exercises incredibly frustrating.

5)Although the main text is presented in both "traditional" ("fantizi") and simplified ("jiantizi") Chinese characters, the exercises are given only in jiantizi, while the sentence patterns (containing characters not found in the main text) and index are given only in fantizi. This makes the book significantly less useful for those who wish to learn only one character set.

6)The organization of the index is a travesty.

In sum, this book needs a much better editing job and more comprehensive use of both fantizi and jiantizi character sets throughout. Perhaps these problems will be addressed in a second edition. Until then, prospective students who fall into this book's target audience group are better off combining one of the many elementary texts on reading and writing Chinese characters with a more advanced book on Chinese grammar, such as Yip and Rimmington's (jiantizi-only) "Intermediate Chinese: A Grammar and Workbook".


2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:

Oh China!, February 3, 2001
Reviewer: A reader
The title indicates that this is for advanced beginners. I don't consider myself an advanced beginner, but this book was very informative and helpful to me. I really appreciated the wide range of information presented with each lesson, and I learned a lot by just going through the lesson once. Although some of the grammar explanations are a little dry, it is a very helpful reference to have if you are learning Mandarin.


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