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Understanding Chinese 2 Ed: A Guide to the Usage of Chinese Characters (Paperback)

Understanding Chinese 2 Ed: A Guide to the Usage of Chinese Characters (Paperback)
Author/Publisher: Rita Mei-Wah Choy
Format: paperback
Emphasis: Chinese Characters
Level: Beginning - Intermediate - Advanced
Note: In Traditional Chinese Characters
List Price: $17.5

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Detailed information
Editorial Reviews
Book Description
This straightforward guide explains how Chinese characters are used and expressed in combinations; how sentences are formed; and how to say the same phrase in Mandarin or Cantonese.

Language Notes
Text: English, Chinese

Product Details
  • Paperback: 577 pages
  • Publisher: China West Books; Revised edition (May 30, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 0941340139
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds.
  • Average Customer Review: based on 8 reviews.

Spotlight Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

2nd generation, April 6, 2002

Reviewer: Candace A. Gee "http://www.geocities.com/candacealiciagee" (Houston, TX United States)

I love this book and it's companion. I've carried the books with me from high school to college. Unfortunately i loaned my copy to a girl so she could get a tattoo and i never got it back! I was very disappointed to see that the book is no longer in print! So get it while you still can! Most companies do not have any copies left! ...The most helpful elements of this book are the stroke order. i use this book primarily to practice writing chinese characters and to figure out word combinations. It is a must have for any student of chinese studies library!


Customer Reviews

2 of 8 people found the following review helpful:

Great book, but a waste of money, October 4, 2004

Reviewer: Elisabeth Ohnishi (Tokyo)

I have just started studying Mandarin, and am hoping to visit mainland China. I wanted a book which would help me with the writing of the characters, especially the stroke order, and this looked perfect. Unfortunately, when I bought it, I was unfamiliar with Chinese characters, and didn't realise that it showed only traditional characters and not the simplified ones. It may be true, as another reviewer said, that the traditional characters are better, and that Chinese people are losing touch with the real meaning of the characters, but nevertheless, as a study aide it is not useful. They use simplified characters in mainland China, not the traditional ones, and as a student of modern Chinese, it's the simplified ones I need to learn.

Can anyone recommend a good book showing the simplified characters, and including stroke order. I have seen some which introduce up to 500 characters, but I want something much fuller than that.


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

Excellent for beginners and advanced learners!, September 23, 2002

Reviewer: "jeffgwy" (Taipei, Taiwan)

Rita Choy is one of the best writers for Chinese helpers. She has put together several books that I find most useful. I have lived in Taiwan for quite sometime and her books have been very useful in finding meanings. Her cross listed index is a life saver I use it almost everyday. I cannot imagine anyone who is studying Chinese not buying her books. Regardless of the simplifed vs. traditional characters. If you learn simplied first you will have much trouble learning and reading traditional.


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

Excellent book WITHOUT a flaw!, December 31, 2001

Reviewer: S Holland (Taipei, Taiwan)

This book is wonderful and I do not consider that having only unsimplified forms of the characters is a flaw. While simplifid characters are more useful in Mainland China, they are not used at all in Taiwan, Hong Kong or Singapore and are only used rarely in Chinese communities in the U.S. and Canada. This book is most useful when visiting one of these places or studying there, since it is well nigh impossible to find an unsimplified guide or dictionary in most book stores.


6 of 8 people found the following review helpful:

Traditional vs. Simplified?, June 11, 1999

Reviewer: Zakarius (Columbus, OH USA)

This book is an excellent source of learning material, but to clarify the misunderstanding observed by the reader from Atlanta, perhaps a future edition should be retitled "Understanding Traditional Chinese".

In any case, despite the fact that simplified characters are used throughout mainland China, they are useless in that they are not much faster to write (which was their original intended purpose) and make the language more difficult by forcing students to learn BOTH the traditional AND simplified characters. Furthermore, the many students I've met over the past few years from mainland China, who don't always know the traditional character equivalent of their simplified ones, are losing touch with their culture which has been embedded in the intricacies of how the traditional characters developed from pictographs.



5 of 8 people found the following review helpful:

Better than most, April 8, 1999
Reviewer: A reader
This book has many of the same flaws that "Read and Write Chinese," namely that it does not mark whether a character is a bound morpheme, can it be used by itself with all the meaning listed for it. In addition, the index also does not contain tone signs, and it contains only traditional characters. Beware, some of the words in this book are used by Taiwanese, not by Mainland China. The vocabulary lists are useful the most useful aspect, and is the most unique about it.


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