This popular introduction to Mandarin Chinese is now accompanied by 2 audio CDs covering each of the ten lessons with a special section devoted to the Pinyin dialect. Each lesson uses dialogues to teach the basics of grammar, vocabulary, everyday speech, and the written language. Exercises reinforce the material covered in the dialogues, and each lesson ends with a 'Cultural Insights' section that offers a deeper view into the Chinese people. Their way of thinking and the constants of their daily life.
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I actually have the fourth printing from 2002, which did not include an audio CD. I purchased this book in 2003, after having first purchased a Berlitz Mandarin Chinese CD/travel book set. The Beginner's Chinese book was by far more interesting and useful. I have since purchased a number of other books, including Mandarin Chinese for Dummies, and Chinese in 10 Minutes everyday. These other books really do not compare in their usefulness. My 2002 edition is obviously very well loved, as its binding has come unglued, several pages have fallen out, but still are kept in order. A page or two is no longer very legible as extreme heat has caused some of the glue of the binding to seep onto the page, and upon opening the page, the print from opposing pages is now stuck to a single page. Despite this, it is still my most 2nd most frequently referenced book for studying Chinese. I have used a Chinese dictionary to help write on the page the information that was no longer legible.
My 1st most referenced book on the Chinese language is my Oxford Pocket Chinese/English*English/Chinese dictionary. But I have found no other book that so precisely explains Chinese grammar rules, nor has so well translated text, as this Beginner's Chinese by Yong Ho. Most books do not provide written Chinese, only the Romanized Pinyin. Being able to read Chinese is often essential for communication, as so very many words sound exactly the same, and without a firm understanding of every possible connotation of each word in the language, you will be at a complete loss when you are asked the frequent question, "Please, could you write that down?" Especially if you are faced with trying to communicate with someone with a differing dialect.
It is true that this book can seem a bit overwhelming at first, in all the detailed information that it provides. Some of it may be difficult to understand at first, especially if you do not have a firm grasp on the terms and rules of English grammar. An English dictionary would not go amiss for those in need of brushing up on their English grammar definitions. Although, many of these English grammar definitions are provided in this book as well. The more time you spend studying this book, the better your Chinese will be, until you have memorized and understand all 150 pages in it.
Despite some small limitations, and perhaps some confusing organization, this book has proven to be the most valuable resource, along side my Chinese dictionary, for learning the Chinese language. I continue to purchase other books for more tidbits of information that I do not yet have, but I have yet find another book on the Chinese language as useful as this one has been to me.
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