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Sing 'n Learn Chinese (Book & CD)

Sing 'n Learn Chinese (Book & CD)
Author/Publisher: Trio Jan Jeng, Selina Yoon
Format: book + CD
Emphasis: Chinese for Kids
Level: Beginning - Intermediate
Note: Simplified Chinese & Traditional Chinese with Pinyin
List Price: $17.95

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Detailed information
Editorial Reviews
From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 6?Introduces Chinese greetings, numbers, family, animals, colors, etc. using familiar melodies. 22 songs are accompanied by lyrics written in simplified Chinese characters, traditional characters, and romanized pinyin. Includes English translations.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Family/Culture, June 1997
Some experts predict that Chinese will be one of the four major world languages in the 21st Century. Enter two outstanding language instruction titles for young children: Sing 'n Learn Chinese and Sing 'n Learn Korean. These are the only accurate, educational, fun, and authentic book/cassette language instruction programs for Chinese and Korean available for children today that capitalizes on the use of singing as a language instruction enhancement activity. (Children's Bookwatch, The Midwest Book Review, Sept 1997) This is perfect for group or independent learning, for children and adults.

Product Details
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Master Communications; 2nd Bk&CD edition (January 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 1888194170
  • Product Dimensions: 11.0 x 8.5 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces.
  • Average Customer Review: based on 6 reviews.

Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:

Great for kids, July 2, 2004

Reviewer: C. Frederick "ftchen59" (Crestview Hills, KY United States)

My 4 year old son just loves the songs. He will listen to it three or four times a day. He has learned all the words in book. All the Chinese say he has very good pronunciation. A friend of mine recommended this book to me. She says they have worn out the tape once and are now on to the CD. The singer sings and also says clearly the words to the songs.


15 of 18 people found the following review helpful:

Skull-splitting headache guaranteed!!, June 16, 2004
Reviewer: A reader
If you enjoy a thumping, skull splitting migraine headache, then Sing N Learn is for you.

As a longtime language instructor, I agree with the attempt and effort that this series makes, but it is the execution that ultimately weakens Sing N Learn Chinese.

To be sure, there are much, much better ways to learn Chinese. In fact, I would recommend this title only as a last resort and after you've thoroughly exhausted traditional ways to learn Chinese.

The songs contained herein are renditions of popular Chinese folk songs. WARNING: Most of the words sung throughout are inaudible. While the accompanying workbook aids in comprehension, it isn't enough to get you through the annoying vocals of the entire Sing N Learn series.

Indeed, most of the songs contain blood-curdling vocals accompanied by low fidelity musical arrangements making listening to the songs almost unbearable. (My students asked me to turn it off after one song). Overall, the musical and vocal quality is definitely poor and grating at best. I will bet an entire year's paycheck that my dog can howl better than the vocals on this tape. Do yourself a favor: try something, anything else other than this series to learn a foreign language. "*"


13 of 14 people found the following review helpful:

My 2 year old loves it - what else matters?, August 30, 2003

Reviewer: Eleanor Lin (Worcester, ma United States)

My two year old wants to hear this CD again and again. He sings the songs to me and corrects me if I make a mistake!

This CD is entirely in Mandarin. At the end of the songs, the music from the entire CD is played over again without the voice, so you can sing it yourselves. Included is a book that has English translations, traditional and simplified Chinese characters, pinyin spellings with tone markers, and a glossary. (The glossary has the most important words, but not every single word that is used).

Be aware that this CD does not "teach" Chinese by itself. If the child doesn't already speak Chinese, the material needs to be presented by a parent or teacher. The songs (there are 22 of them) have been selected so that most of them can be "acted out" in some way, allowing the parent or teacher to illustrate the meaning of the song while singing it. For example, one favorite song of ours asks "Where is mommy?" and then answers "Here she is!", and you can play along with a Peek-a-boo type game. Likewise, there are two songs naming bodyparts similar to "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes." In the book there is an Activity Guide with ideas for each song. I am very much in favor of this "total immersion" style of learning, especially for young children.

As a beginner myself, the task of learning the songs has taken quite a bit of effort. (To be honest, I am making my way through them at a rate of one every month or two). The songs are sung very quickly on the CD, and the English translations in the book tend to be correct English rather than literal translations. I have had to do some research to make sure I understand the meanings of each word individually. But, since I want to learn Chinese myself, this is not a bad thing. I am very grateful that this is a CD instead of an audio cassette, making it easy to repeat a song over and over while learning it. I could complain about the fast pace of the songs, but I think that it probably adds to the preschooler appeal.

One caveat is that the tone of a word is not usually clear from hearing it sung. By that I mean, I can learn a word from the song and sing along with it, but when I try to speak the word later I find that I don't know which of the four tones to use. The tones are indicated in the book, but as a memory aid the songs do not help reinforce the tones. I think that that is an inherent limitation of music as a tool for learning Chinese and not a criticism of this product in particular. It is probably best to use a combination of approaches anyway and not expect one product to do everything.

(I could also complain that every time I want to remember the word for "mouth" in Chinese I have to sing to myself "'I have two ears, I have two eyes, I have one nose, and I have one . . . . ' Oh yeah, that's it!". But hey, at least I can come up with it eventually!)

From an adult aesthetic point of view, most of the songs don't appeal to me very much. The electronic keyboard accompaniment sounds kind of like a hyper-active circus to me. I find it quite annoying when I realize that I have left the CD on and it is playing the part with just the background music and no words. Most of the songs seem to have familiar (ie, boring) western melodies - there are at least three to the tune of "Are you sleeping." But a few, like the "Frog Song", sound more like Chinese folk songs and appeal to me more.

But given the limited number of products out there, I say this one is helpful and motivating, so what else could I ask for?


12 of 13 people found the following review helpful:

The jury's still out, November 12, 2000
Reviewer: A reader
I bought this tape expecting that there would be children singing these songs (I don't know what prompted me to think that); instead it's an adult woman with a rather high voice. My 3 year old son has only listened to the tape once because I found the music and singing a little grating the first time we heard it. Also, I think that the songs are sung a little too fast for beginners, even though I am a Chinese speaker and can understand what's being said. I may just need to play it hundreds of times, as I do most of my son's music tapes, for him to learn the words.


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

sing n learn chinese, June 22, 2000


these song are great, my daughters not only learn the chinese language but also the english version of these songs. This item is used at our play group and the children love this tape. the tape is music and words are clear each word can be understood it is a must.


12 of 12 people found the following review helpful:

My kindergarten students really enjoy singing in Chinese., October 6, 1999

Reviewer: Pattipeg Harjo (patrickr84@worldnet.att.net) (Norman, Oklahoma)

I use this book with my kindergarten students. It gives the Chinese words for several popular children's songs including London Bridge is Falling Down, Mary Had a Little Lamb, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. The kids learn the song in both English and Chinese, making it easy to understand the Chinese. It also has some "classic" Chinese children's songs, including Liang Zhi Laohu and Mi Feng Gong Zuo. The tape is clear and easy to understand, so that even teachers who don't speak Chinese can learn the songs. I recommend it highly for children from preschool through fifth grade!


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