Monday, October 13, 2008

Beginner's Chinese

Because I live in an area that does not offer any formal training in Chinese language I have, over the years, bought many books to study on my own. Two books that I've picked up recently that I like a lot and would like to recommend to you are the Beginner's Chinese and Intermediate Chinese books by Yong Ho (published by Hippocrene Books, Inc.)
The first book, Beginner's Chinese, comes with two audio CD's. Each chapter starts with sentence patterns, such as saying hello (Ni3 hao3 [I've put numbers in for tone marks]), then a conversation,, vocabulary and supplementary words, language points, which are an explanation of the grammar, exercises, and finally a brief introduction to certain aspects of Chinese culture.
I think what I like most about the textbook is the Language Points and Exercise sections.
The Language Points give clear explanations of the grammar and examples of use - which I find extremely helpful. The exercises are very good too because they give answers to the questions - something that also is very helpful if you are studying on your own.

The book isn't perfect though. The type is too small for my liking but in the intermediate level book they have corrected this problem. Also, the CD's would be more helpful if they slowed down the pace. The spoken sentences or dialogues are too fast for a beginner. For its minor faults though I still highly recommend this book.

The second book, Intermediate Chinese, as mentioned, has corrected the problem of the small type. Its strengths though, lie in the clear explanations of grammar and usage. Other books explain grammar but for some reason Yong Ho does a better job. Over the years I have had several Chinese people tutor me but unfortunately they were not trained language teachers and did not explain the grammar to me so this book is very helpful. And as in the first book the exercises do have answers which is very helpful also. A CD also comes with this book but I still feel the conversations are too fast on it - at least for me at my level of learning.

Look for these books at your bookstore. Once again, they are:
Beginner's Chinese by Yong Ho (published by Hippocrene Books, Inc.)
Intermediate Chinese by Yong Ho (published by Hippocrene Books, Inc.)