Get Talking Chinese (Mandarin Chinese for Beginners)
Mandarin Chinese is an intimidating language to learn, and materials that allow young beginners to simply "try it out" are few and far between. If you or one of your children is considering a serious study of Mandarin, but aren't sure you want to invest in a Rosetta Stone program yet, this little book and CD will provide you with a terrific introduction to Chinese characters, pinyin spellings of Chinese words (Chinese words written in our alphabet, like "māo"), and pronunciation of some basic Chinese words and phrases. For every word or phrase taught, you will find both the Chinese character(s) and the pinyin version. An audio CD is packaged inside the front cover, and every time you see a headphones symbol and a track number, you know you can turn to the CD to hear what you are reading. The first section of the book serves as a comprehensive introduction which includes general information about Mandarin Chinese, an explanation of pinyin, tables of initial and final Chinese sounds equated with similar sounds in English, the four "tones" of Mandarin, an explanation of Chinese characters, details on the strokes that make up the characters, memory tips to remember characters, and some very basic grammar pointers. The next eight chapters focus on teaching basic vocabulary, including greetings, Chinese names, words for family members, simple travel phrases, parts of the body, numbers 1-100, days of the week, names of months, years, seasons and weather words, transportation words and phrases, food-related vocabulary and phrases, tourism, and even some basic slang like "ok" and "bye-bye." Conversation Practice pages are scattered throughout the book, and offer the reader an opportunity to use the vocabulary they have learned in simple sentences which are also always located on the audio CD. The layout is very exciting, with plenty of full-color photos, graphics and colorful charts, and details on the history and culture of China keep the language study relevant and fascinating. There's really nothing to not like about this book. If you are a complete beginner and unsure if you can tackle learning Chinese, this is a great place to start. You will be amazed at the amount of content that has been squeezed into only 128 pages! - Jess
Chinese is an intimidating language to learn. If you are considering studying Mandarin, this little book/CD and accompanying workbook will provide terrific introduction, pronunciation and the Pinyin of over 100 basic Chinese words and phrases.
The book's first section serves as a comprehensive introduction including general information about Mandarin Chinese, an explanation of pinyin, tables of initial and final sounds equated with similar sounds in English, the four "tones," an explanation of characters, details on characters' strokes, tips to remembering characters, and some very basic grammar pointers. The next eight chapters focus on teaching basic vocabulary: greetings, names, family members, simple travel phrases, body parts, numbers 1-100, week days, months, years, seasons and weather, food-related, tourism, and even some basic slang like "ok" and "bye-bye." Conversation Practice pages are scattered throughout, offering opportunities to use the vocabulary they have learned in simple sentences (also always located on the audio CD). A headphones symbol and track number identify where to listen on the enclosed audio CD.
Plenty of large format character drawings, full-color photos, colorful graphics and charts, and details on the history and culture of China keep the language study relevant and fascinating. The book can be used with or without the workbook. The workbook uses the same organization and vocabulary as the book and, like the book, shows the vocabulary in Chinese characters, Pinyin and English. The emphasis here is really on writing. Stroke order is shown and writing squares are provided so your strokes can be more square and uniform. If you are familiar with Pinyin pronunciation, you could use just this workbook on its own as a supplemental introduction (audio is available only with the book). Together, the workbook and book would be a great preliminary introduction before moving on to a more in-depth course. Each book is 128 pp, sc. ~ Ruth