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Colloquial Chinese; The Complete Course for Beginners (Paperback)

Colloquial Chinese; The Complete Course for Beginners (Paperback)
Author/Publisher: P. T'ung
Format: paperback
Emphasis: Spoken Mandarin Chinese
Level: Beginning - Intermediate
List Price: $26.95

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Editorial Reviews
Book Description

This paperback in the Colloquial Language Learning Series is available individually or as part of a pack. For more information, please refer to the cassette pack listing for this language.

Product Details
  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (November 9, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 0415018609
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 4.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.4 ounces.
  • Average Customer Review: based on 4 reviews.

Customer Reviews

O.K. but not on its own, September 26, 2005
Reviewer: E. Montanez (Ansonia, CT)

This book offers some insights into the language one would otherwise not be aware of. Those little thinhs one only knows by actually living within the country of the language. However, without the audio CDs or cassetts it is not worth studying. Learning to pronounce words incorrectly creates a speach base that then becomes difficult to overcome. I reccommend it...but get the audio that is offered with it.


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful:

Excellent if you know how to use it, February 9, 2001

Reviewer: C. Colt "It Just Doesn't Matter" (San Francisco, CA United States)

"Colloquial Chinese" (the older version) is an excellent Mandarin primer, as long as you are aware of its limitations and have a plan for supplementing it. The only real problem with this book is that it uses a lot of Maoist scenarios that were relevant in the early eighties but are now rather comical. Once chapter, for example, talks about going to visit the Clear Mountain People's Commune. Although this will not help you much in China today it is only a minor setback.

To make this series work, I suggest you do two things. First, get the supplementary character text book, as this one only uses the Pyin Yin romanization system. Second, get a tutor, or conversation partner, or someone to help you out. Not only will that person help you learn the material, but the chances are he/she will give you more updated, contextual information to supplement the lessons.

Other than that, this is an excellent book. If you stick with the lessons and listen to the tapes you will develop a foundation in Mandarin.


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:

solid, traditional course for the long-term learner, May 31, 2000
Reviewer: A reader
This is a strong course for the motivated learner keen to get a solid grounding in the basics of Mandarin Chinese grammar and vocabulary in order to continue their studies at a higher level. Someone who is more interested in quickly learning situational language and useful phrases for travelling or for business would be better served by a different course more focused on their particular needs since the vocabulary given in this one is quite general.

There's another book with the same title and publisher, but by a different author (K Qian). That book is simpler and more suitable for the casual learner wanting to learn Chinese for travelling, but it doesn't reach as high a level of Chinese as this one. But then again, neither is it as hard going!

Back to this one: there are no Chinese characters in the book. To learn these, it would be useful to buy the companion chinese character version of the book, which gives all the texts and grammatical pattern sentences, but not the grammar explanations, in Chinese characters and teaches you how to write the 700 plus characters introduced. That's available only directly from the authors I think. Unfortunately, there aren't any cassette tapes currently available for this book so it's not really suitable for someone learning completely by themselves unless they already have a good knowledge of Mandarin Chinese pronunciation. Nor are the answers to the exercises given. So it's more suitable to use with a tutor or as supplementary reading for someone attending a chinese class.

I have two quibbles with the book. Firstly, the grammar explanations are a bit dryly written so they are not always easy to understand. Secondly, the lengths of the chapters vary too much. The first few lessons are quite short and concise (perhaps 20 new words get introduced) but by the end of the book, the number of new words given per chapter has ballooned to well over 100. So the later chapters are much more hard going than the earlier ones. The first point can be overcome by buying a set of good Chinese grammars, e.g. the books "Basic Chinese" and "Intermediate Chinese" by Yip and Rimmington and of course by asking your Chinese teacher!

If you include learning how to write, I think there's enough material in the book for 6 months of intensive study or a year for someone who wants to study more slowly (but still regularly).

After mastering the material in the book and learning the 500-700 associated characters, the learner is well-placed to go on to a lower-intermediate text, i.e. at the beginning 2nd year college level.


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:

A very good, and actually colloquial, course, October 28, 1998
Reviewer: A reader
First off, this book is entirely written in Roman characters, not Chinese characters. It uses the standard Pinyin romanization developed in the PRC. Secondly, it seems quite complete. I'm now halfway through it, and it seems to be covering all basic syntax, and not just the introductions or phrases included in other introductions for popular audiences. I'm using it to review Chinese after having taken an intensive university course a year and a half ago. I'm finding it quite excellent for that purpose, getting me up to speed without the slowing burden of trying to read characters. I expect that next time I'm in China I'll do much better at speaking and understanding than last time.


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