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21 Reviews
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great way to start learning Chinese
This is a really excellent, well-structured package that will quickly get you to a level where you can improvise basic conversations and read a few signs. The accompanying audio is included on CDs AND on tapes, which means you've got no excuse not to be listening to it wherever you are. At first I was a bit scared as the book does throw you in at the deep end somewhat,...
Published on 31 Mar 2003 by Liz

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good dialogues but not a stand alone
As others have said the dialogues are good, the subjects contemporary and the language is very much as it is spoken in China. But it does throw you right in at the deep end, and I can imagine a lot of people despairing and giving up.

I bought it before going to China to work, and it was worth it to see my Chinese teacher's face when I was able to pronounce the...
Published on 30 Aug 2008 by Huasen


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good dialogues but not a stand alone, 30 Aug 2008
By 
As others have said the dialogues are good, the subjects contemporary and the language is very much as it is spoken in China. But it does throw you right in at the deep end, and I can imagine a lot of people despairing and giving up.

I bought it before going to China to work, and it was worth it to see my Chinese teacher's face when I was able to pronounce the Chinese for 'I'm pleased to meet you' apparently first time. In reality it was because I'd spent a good hour playing the phrase on the CD.

But without a teacher to go through the things like basic pronounciation, which this book really skates over, I wonder how useful it would really be.

I also think you're better learning the characters from the start, because that is what the language is really composed of. Although this book covers a bit about the characters, it really is nothing like enough to gain any real understanding. And the characters which are shown in the later dialogues are too small for a beginner to read comfortably.
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great way to start learning Chinese, 31 Mar 2003
By 
Liz (New York) - See all my reviews
This is a really excellent, well-structured package that will quickly get you to a level where you can improvise basic conversations and read a few signs. The accompanying audio is included on CDs AND on tapes, which means you've got no excuse not to be listening to it wherever you are. At first I was a bit scared as the book does throw you in at the deep end somewhat, but you soon learn to go with it and trust that it will all become clear. The learning curve is quite consistent after this - there are no horrendous jumps where you suddenly want to give up. The author introduces things cleverly, for instance an example conversation will be structured to include both meanings of a new word, so that you don't learn one only to get confused by another in the next unit. As the name suggests, the tone is colloquial and natural. I never worry, as I do with some other Chinese books (especially ones from China!) that I am learning something a bit stilted and formal. The main focus is on listening, but each chapter ends by teaching you how to write a few characters, and as the units progress there is more reliance on characters and less on English (although pinyin is provided throughout so you don't have to learnt the characters if you don't want to). I have been using this book in conjunction with a few lessons, and I would recommend that anyone wanting to learn Chinese invests in half a dozen lessons to get their pronunciation off to a good start. But after that, you can work alone with this book and it'll keep you going for a good few months.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommendable, 6 Jun 2001
By A Customer
A highly recommendable entry to beginner's Mandarin - also through self study. It has it all: grammar, pronunciation, useful vocabulary (in pinyin and characters)and exercises - all presented in a very concise and helpful manner. Together with a textbook specifically on Chinese characters I find myself well on the way.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Colloquial, 10 Aug 2009
This review is from: Colloquial Chinese: The Complete Course for Beginners: A Complete Language Course (Colloquial Series) (Paperback)
This book is perfect to start learning Mandarin (Putonghua). The layout of this book is clear and well thought-out. Each chapter starts with a dialogue in mandarin. This dialogue is initially in pinyin, with an English translation.... but as you progress changes to pinyin and chinese characters (although translations of the later dialogues are provided at the back of the book). Pinyin is chinese written in the roman alphabet.

After each dialougue the author goes through any gramatical problems with concise explanations. Everything is explained brilliantly. This allows you to go back to the dialougues with your new understanding... ***Just don't be daunted by what may seem a long and complicated dialougue, as everything will be explained clearly***.

At the end of each chapter is a section about learning to write characters... If you wish to learn to write chinese you will definately need more material... however this book does provide a nice sample of chinese characters and again the expalnation and demonstrations are flawless.

Having been to China I can see this book is also true to it's name, providing some typical colloquialisms used by Chinese people.

This book is a very good place to start. HOWEVER it still cannot replace a tutor. If you want to learn Chinese the best place to start is a tutor... this is not simply because of the tones... the way pinyin words are pronounced is very important to start chinese... something that needs to be corrected by a person.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Beginners' Chinese Book So Far, 10 July 2007
By 
Dr. P. Christie (Belfast, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Colloquial Chinese: The Complete Course for Beginners: A Complete Language Course (Colloquial Series) (Paperback)
I have been looking at books on Mandarin Chinese for over 12 years, both those published in China and those published elsewhere. This is by far the best and most useful book of its kind produced so far. The choice of expressions included is the most appropriate and useful for any visitor to China. And so far I have found only one typographical error. If you buy this book and use it diligently you may not need another book on Mandarin Chinese grammar, reading or writing - just a good dictionary.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction, 9 Jan 2010
I went for this book on the based on previous experience with 'basic & intermediate Cantonese' by Routledge which was also excellent.
I am half way through this course now, i can safely say this is one of the best self teach mandarin books i have tried, in fact its hard to put it down! Its really well laid out with the right balance of grammar and relevant vocabulary, audio material is also excellent.
In particular i like the introduction of Chinese characters with explanation of stroke order and simple analysis.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Colloquial Chinese, 17 July 2009
By 
LM ROBERTSON (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book and accompanying CDs is excellent for those who like to understand what they are saying rather than just learn a few phrases. The grammar explanations are clear and easily understandable.
I think it would be difficult to follow the CDs without the book, also for correct pronunciation the book would be difficult without CDs or a teacher.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Colloquial Chinese: The Complete Course for Beginners, 18 Oct 2011
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An excellent beginners guide to learning Mandarin, I'm using this along side a course I'm attending, and it sorts it perfectly. I can also see this being used with independant study. I would definitely recommend this to anyone learning Chinese for any reason, pleasure or business.

Thanks, Walabean x
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 21 Mar 2014
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This is the best starter I have found. Content is good, as are the notes. The only negative is the fact it suffers from the same as every other Chinese text book I've seen, namely that the print size for Chinese characters is too small for beginners. I'm sure it is adequate when you are more familiar with characters but not for beginners, I have to get the magnifying glass out. A bit pricey but still worth it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great format, 26 Jan 2014
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A really easy structure to follow. My vocabulary is building faster than I thought and I also like the writing lessons.
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