From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 4. These two packages attempt to help English speaking
Americans acquire the rudiments of the Chinese language in slightly
different ways. Neither offers any information on the Chinese language with
its many vast differences from English. Neither mentions whether the
language on the tape is Mandarin or another dialect. Nor does either offer a
phonetic equivalent to help when trying to reproduce sounds from the pinyin
transliterations. Teach Me Chinese includes both spoken and sung Chinese.
Certain basic vocabulary is introduced, then used in a song, which is sung
in both English and Chinese. The text is about the activities of Marie, "A
Musical Journey Through the Day," narrated clearly by a female voice. She
introduces us to her house, family, and pets in Chinese. She gets dressed,
then discusses parts of the body, days of the week, letters, numbers, and
activities. Interspersed with these sentences, which are written in both
Chinese characters and romanized pinyin and translated in the back of the
booklet, are many songs familiar to American children, from "The Wheels on
the Car" to "On the Bridge of Avignon," all sung in both English and
Chinese. Listeners have the opportunity to acquire the proper pitch, an
important factor in spoken Chinese, while listening to the narrative. The
pace of narration is rapid and not easy to follow in the booklet's pinyin
translation. But since children pick up languages aurally with ease, they
should be able to learn a basic vocabulary with this package. Sing 'n Learn
Chinese includes 22 songs on one side, sung only in Chinese with the music
only on the other side. A female voice sings fairly clearly, with simple
accompaniment. Many of the songs are familiar in English. By singing "Ten
Little Friends," listeners learn how to count to ten in Chinese; with "This
Is the Way," they learn the Chinese for washing the face, brushing teeth,
combing hair. And so it goes, with many other subjects such as colors,
family members, etc. Each song is written in the accompanying booklet in
simplified Chinese characters, traditional Chinese characters, and romanized
pinyin. There is also an English translation of and notes in an
"Instructional Guide" on each selection. This kit can introduce the language
and vocabulary as sung, but not as spoken. A comparison of the same song
used on both cassettes shows different translations. Both packages offer
parents and teachers a chance to open a window, if only a crack, into a very
different language.?Sylvia Marantz, Norwich School, Hilliard, OH
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Midwest Book Review
Teach Me Chinese is the ninth in an outstanding series of language
instruction audio tapes for children ages 2 through 12. . Young listeners
follow Marie ("Mai Rui") through the day and sing songs that teach numbers,
parts of the body, colors, etc. In this way they effortlessly pick up the
rhythm and accent of the Mandarin language. With a running time of 40
minutes, Teach Me Chinese contains the dialogues in Chinese and the songs in
both English and Chinese. There is a follow-along book in which the
dialogues are written in both Chinese and Pinyin, while the songs are
written in Pinyin. The Teach Me series is one of the least expensive, most
colorful, kid pleasing, music-based language instruction supplements to ever
grace a classroom or library shelf.
- Publisher: Teach Me Tapes; Book & CD edition (1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN: 0934633827
- Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 9.4 x 0.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces.
- Average Customer Review:
based on 10 reviews.
|6 of 6 people found the following review
Ouch, My Ears!, October 24, 2004
English part on this CD is awesome - both the background music and
the voices sound professionally done. The problem with Chinese is not
that the vocalists are bad - for the most part they sound decent - but
no matter how good voice you may have if you keep on trying to squish 5
- 10 syllables into a beat of music that can accommodate harmoniously
only one or two - it's not going to work.
The music on this CD was created to accommodate English verses. When
these English verses got translated to Chinese, the number of Chinese
syllables that has to fit into the same music constantly comes out as
being either not enough or too much.
it makes me wonder if musicians who were involved in creating these
songs didn't have ears to hear how bad the combination sounds, or they
didn't care, or thought that kids for whom it was made, would either not
notice or care.
This recording could've been done beautifully if instead of using
popular western music to accompany Chinese verses, they picked perhaps
some Chinese music.
|5 of 6 people found the following review
A disappointment, July 10, 2001
This book and tape set was somewhat of a disappointment. The female
vocalist in the audio recording valiantly attempts to sing Chinese
lyrics to familiar American children's tunes. In this case it just
doesn't work. The lyrics sound like they were "squeezed" into the music.
Many of the tunes are completely out of rhythm. My children were also
turned off by the singer's voice which is somewhat high pitched and
grating. It would have been nice if the songs were set to Chinese
melodies instead of western tunes. When learning a foreign language why
not also learn the music of that culture as well?
|8 of 8 people found the following review
the good and the bad, August 18, 2004
I will attempt to give an objective review.
* Good concept: the book follows a little Chinese girl, Marie,
throughout her day. On the way, you learn the Chinese words for family
members, colors, clothing, body parts, days of the week, etc.
* Good Chinese pronunciation: Considering how many local dialects and
accents there are in China, I am always concerned about pronunciation. I
was pleased to find that the Chinese narrator speaks Mandarin with very
good standard (Mainland Chinese) pronunciation. Note: standard Mandarin
pronunciation in China and in Taiwan, though similar, have slight
* Good English vocalists.
* Poor Chinese vocalist: The narrator, who also does the singing, needs
singing lessons! To be fair, she is not a terrible singer, she sings
about as well as your average mom or grandma. But then again, your
average mom or grandma would not be featured on a music CD, right? In
several songs, she is off beat and off pitch.
* Hand-written book: Another thing I did not like is that the book is
completely handwritten, so it is not very professional looking.
* Mistakes in the lyrics: I have found that the written Chinese lyrics
do not always correspond to what is actually sung and some of the pinyin
Other neutral information:
* The songs are mostly standard western songs with make-shift
translations. What bothers me is that many of the songs, such as
"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," have had standard Chinese lyrics for
decades, yet the version in this CD sounds as if someone just decided to
make up new lyrics. The translation tends to be more or less a direct
translation of the English, which is probably what was intended.
However, this also means that some of the songs sound very strange in
* The Chinese lyrics are written only in pinyin without any Chinese
characters, so I had to write them out myself.
Do I recommend this product? Well, that depends on who you are. I
believe that this product is useful in introducing VERY YOUNG children
to the sound of the Mandarin language. Since young children are a very
forgiving audience, they probably won't object to the high-pitched,
occasionally out-of-tune vocal performance. My bilingual 3-year-old son
loves the CD. So if you have children under 5 and if you believe you can
tolerate the singing, I would recommend this product. The product states
that it is for kids ages 2 to 12, but I seriously doubt that any child
above five years of age will enjoy the music.
|6 of 7 people found the following review
Almost couldn't be worse, December 29, 2003
Reviewer: A reader
The idea of recording Chinese language children's songs is great, but
unfortunately the music on this CD is terrible. The singing sounds like
a bad female impersonator, and the music sounds like super-cheapo
eletric organ samples. It's almost unbearable to listen to. My spouse
who speaks chinese says the pronounciation was unrecognizable, maybe
because of the very high pitched voice.
I hope someone else will give this idea a second try and use native
chinese speaking children to sing and professional musicians for the
|3 of 3 people found the following review
Excellent!, May 21, 2003
A. Truong (Campbell, CA
We've owned this CD for 2 years now and we listen to it often. My son
is now 2 years old and his Chinese daycare teacher is constantly amazed
at how well he is picking up Chinese. She tells me that he is learning
Chinese much better than the other non-Chinese children. She has asked
me more than once if we speak Chinese with him at home. No, we don't!
However, I play the "Teach me Chinese", "Teach me More Chinese" and
"Sing 'n Learn Chinese" CD's in our car all the time. That's the only
Chinese my son hears outside of daycare.
I agree that the Chinese singing voice is a bit weak. I've heard
other Chinese music, and it seems to be a quality of Chinese singing to
have a high-pitched, nasal sound. The voice on this CD is no different.
We got over that hurdle after about 1 week. Just like any new music that
you don't really like the first time you hear it, it somehow grows on
you. Now I listen to it and it sounds normal. There is also Chinese
dialog spoken by children. The songs are all sung in English as well
(mostly), and the English singing voices are very pleasant.
A side effect of using the Teach Me Chinese CD's to teach my son
Chinese is that I'm starting to pick it up too! I can sing several of
the Chinese songs completely from memory now.
If you are serious about giving your child Chinese as their second
language, I would definitely recommend the 'Teach me Chinese' series.
|2 of 4 people found the following review
Major Disappointment, March 23, 2003
Reviewer: A reader
My kids screamed, "Turn it off! Please!" They could not stand listening
to the very high pitched and out of tune voice. Needless to say, Teach
me Chinese did not work for my children. I have had better luck with
Sing 'n Learn Chinese.