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Understanding Chinese Characters by Their Ancestral Forms (Paperback)

Understanding Chinese Characters by Their Ancestral Forms (Paperback)
Author/Publisher: Ping-Gam Go
Format: paperback
Emphasis: Chinese Characters
Level: Beginning - Intermediate - Advanced
Note: In Traditional Chinese Characters
List Price: $15.95

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Detailed information

Product Details

  • Paperback: 126 pages
  • Publisher: Simplex Publications (August 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 0962311375
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.4 ounces.
  • Average Customer Review: based on 4 reviews.

Customer Reviews


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

A welcome and "user friendly" resource for learning to decipher Chinese writing, July 3, 2005

Reviewer: Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA)

Now in its fourth edition, Understanding Chinese Characters By Their Ancestral Forms by Ping-gam Go reveals the meaning of Chinese writing by providing and describing the historical pictograph for each Chinese character, thereby materially aiding the reader to identify, learn and memorize the most widely used Chinese characters with a minimum of effort. Enhanced with a full-color photo survey of business establishment signage in San Francisco's Chinatown, and a dictionary of 288 Chinese characters containing both Mandarin and Cantonese pronunciation), students and tourists are offered dozens of practice exercises to memorize the meanings of those Chinatown signs. There are even flashcards for 41 of the most prevalent characters found on a Chinese restaurant menu!. Compact and portably, with alphabetical and subject indexes to dictionary entries, Understanding Chinese Characters By Their Ancestral Forms is a welcome and "user friendly" resource for learning to decipher Chinese writing whether for simply fun or serious business. Also very highly recommended from Simplex Publications are two other Chinese language instructionals by Ping-gam Go: Read Chinese Today: A Walk Thro-ugh San Francisco's Chinatown, Understanding Chinese Characters By Their Ancestral Forms With Photographs And Map (0962311332, $6.95); What Character Is That?: An Easy-Access Dictionary Of 5,000 Chinese Characters, 2nd Edition (0962311359, $19.95).


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

Good starters book for learning Chinese writing, December 9, 2002

Reviewer: J. Wong "joohop" (Jackson Heights, NY United States)

Chinese reading/writing can be an intimidating subject for new students, but what better way to start than understanding what all those signs in Chinatown mean? The author Ping-gam Go did a wonderful job with this book. He included color photographs of signs from Chinatown in San Francisco. This book teaches the reader to understand how to read traditional Chinese characters. Each word is described in context of its historical pictograph background, going back thousands of years in Chinese history. Many of the Chinese characters actually look like the thing they describe. With this knowledge, memorization of the characters was much easier for me. I found myself recognizing many words in Chinatown thereafter. This book is very thin (less than 100 pages) but it packs a wollop with the knowledge it conveys. There are several hundred characters defined/described in it, and if you can remember half of them, you're on your way to learning Chinese. It doesn't teach writing at all, but if you understand basic Chinese caligraphy, you can figure it out yourself. By itself, this book is insufficient to learn to read/write Chinese. It is a great companion book to a more in depth text on the subject. However, Ping-gam Go is quite successful with his goal. Even after reading a few pages, I was able to walk through Chinatown recognizing characters I've never known before, and it was like a whole new world opening up. Highly recommended!


5 of 7 people found the following review helpful:

terrific reading -- easy to see ancient art form in Chinese, July 4, 1998

Reviewer: cilibrar@ugcs.caltech.edu (Berkeley, CA)

Ping-Gam creates a vivid survey of current Chinese writing visible in San Francisco's Chinatown, revealing the hidden art, myth, and culture within the characters of the written language through ancestral forms.


3 of 6 people found the following review helpful:

Really fun book!, May 6, 1998

Reviewer: parland@crl.com (San Francisco)

This is a really neat book to just browse through. It is interesting how Chinese characters evolved from their ancestral forms.


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