English Chinese Dictionary
Lexiconer.com Web
E-C Dictionary C-E Dictionary Language bookstore home Language Video Store TOEFL/GRE/GMAT Vocabulary

Ultimate Chinese (Mandarin): Basic-Intermediate : Cassette/Book Package (LL(R) Ultimate Basic-Intermed) (Audio Cassette)

Ultimate Chinese (Mandarin): Basic-Intermediate : Cassette/Book Package (LL(R) Ultimate Basic-Intermed) (Audio Cassette)
Author/Publisher: Jennifer Humphries
Format: Audio cassette
Emphasis: Spoken Mandarin Chinese
Level: Beginning - Intermediate
List Price: $49.95

Buy from Amazon

Detailed information
Editorial Reviews
"A really great package for those who don't have the money to spend two years in a foreign country!"
--Juergen Kempff, Ph.D., Curriculum Director, University of California, Irvine

"I would not hesitate to use it as a primary text in any elementary or intermediate college-level class."
--Professor Vincenzo Gatto, Ithaca College

"The lively format of Ultimate Mandarin Chinese provides a useful and easy to understand introduction to the basics of Mandarin Chinese. It presents a wide range of useful vocabulary, model phrases and short dialogues which will help the learner get started communicating in China."
--Professor John Berninghausen, Middlebury College

"A really great package for those who don't have the money to spend two years in a foreign country!"
--Juergen Kempff, Ph.D., Curriculum Director, University of California, Irvine

"I would not hesitate to use it as a primary text in any elementary or intermediate college-level class."
--Professor Vincenzo Gatto, Ithaca College

"The lively format of Ultimate Mandarin Chinese provides a useful and easy to understand introduction to the basics of Mandarin Chinese. It presents a wide range of useful vocabulary, model phrases and short dialogues which will help the learner get started communicating in China."
--Professor John Berninghausen, Middlebury College

Product Details
  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Living Language (April 18, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 0517708779
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 9.6 x 2.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds.
  • Average Customer Review: based on 15 reviews.

Spotlight Reviews

83 of 84 people found the following review helpful:

Excellent Program!, June 30, 2000

Reviewer: Ron (North York, Ontario Canada)

At the time of this review, I think this is one of the best language program on mandarin. The conversations from each lesson are lively and very pertinent to what one would use in everyday's conversation. Unlike other programs which give you basic (perhaps too basic) lines to repeat after, the living language set has cleverly incorporated cultural habits and humors into their conversations. Each lesson is well organized and fairly easy to follow.

This set is ideal for those who already have and can speak some basic knowledge of mandarin or who is taking mandarin lessons at school. If you are totally new to the language you may want to consider the Pimsleur Mandarin set instead. However, there aren't as far as I know or find in the market at the time this is written other mandarin sets which can deliver the same quality as this living language set.

However, this doesn't mean this set is without drawbacks. The most notable drawback is that it doesn't provide the Chinese characters for each word. It would be nice to have the Chinese characters as well as a stroke chart to see how each word is written. A CD set would be helpful too to make rewinding a lot easier.

Otherwise, this is the best set the market could offer at the moment.


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful:

Very Good Program, May 27, 2004

Reviewer: Laura De Giorgio "www.deeptrancenow.com" (Canada)

Perhaps the greatest strength of this program is that it provides a solid explanation of essential Chinese grammar. It really helps with the learning process.

For absolute beginner who'd like to develop conversational proficiency, I'd recommend Pimsleur's Chinese. It will help you to step into the waters of learning Chinese joyfully and effortlessly. Yes, Ultimate Chinese Mandarin does have cassettes, but it's much more challenging to master speaking Chinese with those cassettes than with Pimsleur's program.

While this program does teach you how to read and write few Chinese characters, you may find learning to read and write Chinese easier and more enjoyable with Easy Chinese Tutor CDs, which also provides practice sheets. You can take colorful pens and have hours of fun learning to write Chinese characters, easily and effortlessly.

Rosetta Stone program is very helpful as far as memorizing new words through visual associations.

While no single program is all-encompassing and perfect in and of itself - the above selection of programs can turn learning Chinese from difficult or even impossible task, into enjoyable process that requires much less effort and strugle.


Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:

Happy to have the affordable review lessons, but ..., November 3, 2003

Reviewer: J. Quigg (Joppa, Maryland United States)

I agree with most of the previously written criticisms for this book and tape set. I came to it as a previous student of the language and found that in many ways this was a useful way to refresh a lot of what I'd previously learned. The cost of the set is outstanding, considering a local Berlitz office wanted $25,000!!! for a 6 month course of one on one training. (I suppose we can thank Gov't contracting for that kind of pricing.) While I haven't scoured this book and tape set, I have put the travel tapes to a lot of use and found this approach to covering the lessons to be a good refresher. However, this product could have made the 4 star rating pretty easily if, as a previous reviewer had mentioned, Ms. Humphries had paid a bit more attention to detail. I don't have any examples written out, but in numerous situations on each side of each of the 4 travel tapes the translations are pretty loose. Using the Pimsleur recordings as a comparison, there is NO room for interp on those - giving a pretty secure feeling that you're getting a solid item-for-item exhange of wording ... whereas the "Ulitmate Mandarin Chinese" taped sentances are often frustratingly broad and sometimes inconsistant with other similar sentances/phrases on the tapes. The ?unintentional? benefit for someone in the reviewing process is it gets you thinking more about the options of how say something ... however, for those coming to this stuff new, this aspect would seem to be a bit problematic.

As for the previously mentioned speaker on the tapes with the rushed, slurred speech ... he's a bit of a departure from your usual "Language Tape" dude, but probably useful in terms of dealing with the language as very possibly encountered around the various parts of the "real" Mandarin speaking world. To that end, a very good intermediate level course to check out is another of the "Living Language" series ... "Conversational English for Chinese Speakers". 4 tapes of Mandarin phrases (w/english tranlations) by a fluent speaker, speaking to other fluent speakers that are sprucing up on their english. Definitely a workout! But it'll give a real sense of how a lot of basic to intermediate vocab/phrasing would really sound up to speed. Think of it as a somewhat more managable (rewindable) version of the same shock you'll get the first time you step off the plane in Beijing and find out that all the Mandarin Language tapes you've been coddled by for so long ("Wo hen hao. Ni ne?")may as well have been Urdu.


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful:

A very good resource, August 5, 2003

Reviewer: Becky (Southeast corner of PA)

I used this set on and off for about a year and was surprised at how much I learned. I only got through the first 16 lessons, but I feel that with a more rigorous practice schedule I could have learned much more. My Chinese colleagues were very impressed with my speaking abilites after a few months- I could talk about clothes, food, times and dates, places, and ask simple questions about families and activities. I think I would be ok going to China and checking into a hotel, ordering food, or taking public transportation.
This set has much more material than many book & tape sets. I spent a lot of time on each lesson and studied the book carefully. Many times a new concept will be slipped in to the dialogue a lesson or two before it is formally introduced. I wish the glossaries were more complete, and there are a few odd bits to the recordings (like making the pause too short on occasion), but overall I feel the book and cassette set is well worth the price.


22 of 23 people found the following review helpful:

Good, but some noteworthy shortcomings., May 25, 2003

Reviewer: A (Chicago)

After a hiatus of a few years, I've recently begun reviewing the Mandarin I previously learned. I purchased this book-and-recordings set for this purpose. Compared to what I have used in the past and what is presently available in the mass market, this set is a good solid beginning to what could be later excellent editions. A higher rating would've been easily possible if some simple quality control measures were exercised.

I agree with the previous comments that this set is better suited to the intermediate student, in large part because the grammar section gives sparse treatment to the topics it covers. The book stands out in its use of contemporary--yet grammatically correct--dialogue. Also, many of the recordings are quite good in further developing the intermediate student's ear for the distinct tones used in Mandarin.

However, some weaknesses impede the learning process. The book's glossary is missing many of the words used in the lessons. This can be a problem when you're stymied by a word used in a current lesson but was introduced in an earlier one. Unless you remember the lesson in which it was introduced, you'll need a dictionary nearby. Second, if you're looking up the Mandarin word for "grateful" you won't find it under "g"; you'll find it under "b" for "be grateful." This holds for other predicate adjectives listed in the glossary. Although this is common in many Chinese texts, native English speakers don't use a glossary this way. The better texts avoid this oversight. Third, some translations miss the mark; e.g., "bu gandang" is more properly translated to "you're too polite" rather than "thank you." Knowing the difference is important in Chinese culture, especially in corporate settings. Again, texts that have undergone better quality control make this distinction.

Some comments about the cassette tapes: The female voices and one of the male voices are excellent. Their well-articulated speech goes far in training the ear to recognize words and their meanings. However, gabble dominates one of the male voices (perhaps two--I can't discern whether there is another, third male voice). This particular male voice sounds like a student reading text. The frequent result is rushed, inarticulate speech. Slowing the speech down (my cassette player is able to do this) is of little help--the "run-on" words and slurring simply become more apparent.

My last criticism of the tapes regards the repeated dialogue. After the dialogue is initially spoken at a normal pace, it is repeated again with pauses deliberately inserted, apparently to encourage the student to repeat the dialogue. The repeated dialogue is not created by having the speakers "re-speak" it. It is done simply by inserting pauses in the initial recorded dialogue. Two problems result: First, except for the effect of the pauses, the repeated dialogue is just as fast and, in some cases, just as inarticulate, as is the initial dialogue. Second, the pauses are often inserted in unnatural places--sometimes between a word. This is because the speakers don't "re-speak" the dialogue with extended pauses. In other words, the natural pauses that exist in natural speech could have been easily lengthened. Instead the authors chose to simply repeat the first dialogue and insert breaks here and there. These unnatural pauses conflict with the way we learn because when we hear speech, we absorb (or attempt to absorb) chunks of full meanings and concepts, not partial ones. So when the student repeats a truncated phrase, he doesn't really know what he is uttering because the phrase's meaning is incomplete.

Despite these weaknesses, this is a good text-and-recordings set, one of the better ones available in the mass market. The three stars I've rated it is not meant to compare it to what is currently available in the market, but rather reflect its shortcomings against what is possible.


20 of 24 people found the following review helpful:

For Mandarin Intermediate only, December 30, 2002
Reviewer: A reader
When I first started on this book/tape course, I was very disappointed. I was thinking about giving this book a one star rating. Now, after having one year of Mandarin conversation under my belt, I am still struggled to get through this book. This is NOT a beginner book. I wish the author speaks slowly and repeats twice for each phrases. I have been searching for more than a year, but this is the best intermediate mandarin out there. Quite frankly, I could not find any other intermediate mandarin book&tapes alternative out there. Oh, I don't have any complains regarding there isn't any chinese characters in this book. To get to intermediate level, it took me one year just to learn conversation. Believe me, my colleages learned both characters and conversation for two years, and they can not even order a simple hamburger in China. I know, without knowing chinese characters you are consider illiterate, but I want to learn mandarin fast so I have to give up something. Oh, one good thing about this book is they have tapes version to study in your car. This book has 4 tapes to study at home, and 4 tapes to study in your car. The on-the-go conversations tapes are great. It's very interesting.


Where to buy

Buy from this selected seller

Copyright © 2000-2008 Lexiconer.Com or its partners.

Site Map  Language Bookstore   Language Video  Update History (About Us)   Contact Us   Testimonials   Privacy Policy