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4.5 out of 5 stars205
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on 22 January 2010
If you are a beginner in Mandarin Chinese, then this book is definitely the one for you. EASY PEASY CHINESE is exactly what it says. Don't be fooled by its small size, because this slim volume is packed with all sorts of goodies to get you started. This book is full of photographs, and overall it is bright, fun, modern and very easy to use. It will get you speaking, reading and writing simple but useful Chinese right from the beginning.

Each page is full of colourful illustrations and photographs to reinforce your learning, and you get an important insight into Chinese life and culture along the way.

The CD provides an indispensible aid to acquiring authentic pronunciation and it ensures you get ample practice in the tones, pronunciation, vocabulary and sentence patterns. All this is achieved in a fun way without being overwhelming.

The book comprises 9 Sections with a total of 46 short Units overall, which cover a wide range of subjects including, pronunciation and tones, writing Chinese characters, meeting people, making friends, my family, my body, food and dining out, modes of transport and buying tickets, getting around and asking directions, shopping and how to haggle, Chinese names, hobbies and sports, modern slang, celebrations and festivals, to name but a few.

EASY PEASY CHINESE is NOT a glorified phrase book, but an introduction to Mandarin Chinese, which enables the beginner to make up his or her own simple sentences step by step. What I found really useful were the units which help you to recognise the basics of Chinese characters and how they are made up, how to put them together to make new words, how to write characters and the guide to stroke order, how to count from 1-10 and beyond, how to say the days of the week and dates, how Chinese names are given and what they mean.

EASY PEASY CHINESE provides a very solid foundation. By the end of this short course, you will be a very competent beginner, who will then be able to move forward and make very quick progress to a more advanced stage of language learning.

I give this book + CD full marks. My only regret is that this book was not around 40 years ago when I first attempted to learn Chinese!
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on 17 May 2009
This book is most suitable for those new to the Chinese language preparing for a visit to China.

It contains all the subjects you would expect in an introduction - greetings, names, numbers, time/dates, weather, travel, food, shopping etc etc but also contains plenty of interesting information on Chinese culture and customs from Chinese characters to Etiquette to the Lunar New Year.

Inevitably with so many different subjects, the level of detail is not great but to be so would only detract from an introduction.

The presentation is simple and fun and would be appropriate for even the youngest of learners.

There are plenty of sections with sample dialogue and I think it's very important to use these if you want to be understood by Chinese people - practice makes perfect!

The hardest thing about learning Chinese (for English speakers) is the tones and it's important to get this right as it's unlikely you will be understood if you don't use tones - listening to the CD and practising speaking yourself is the key.
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on 29 December 2009
I'm used to spending a lot of time learning languages and interacting from people across different cultures, but this book is something of a revelation. All books will probably aspire to providing effortless and fun learning, where you in fact forget that you are about to tackle one of the worlds' toughest languages. In true DK reliability, this book is so wonderfully laid out, with pictures and page artwork that you sail through it, forgetting that you are learning a language. The extra facts, tips and information add to your interest and only serve to push you onto the next page. Yes, it's a book for beginners, but what a great way to start, and before you tackle anything else you may as well spend a fiver because this book will probably inspire you to learn more. Terrific.
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on 25 January 2011
My wife and I travelled independently through China from Beijing to Hong Kong over 6 weeks in 2008. Some months before we were due to leave I purchased this excellent book and, having studied it, I was able to chat basic things such as asking for directions, ordering food, train and bus tickets and even discussing music. This book is very affordable and well done. I was not able to say anything in Chinese before having this book but was able to easily travel in China. We met several western travellers in China who had not gone to the effort of learning Chinese and they really struggled - most Chinese can not speak English, particularly outside of the big cities. Thankyou.
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on 5 October 2013
I recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn the basics of mandarin language. The book has a lot of useful words and phrases that you need for an absolute beginner.
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on 5 July 2011
My son is learning Mandarin at school and I wanted something that would (a) give him some additional support and (b) help me when he wants to practice for a test - European languages are relatively easy in the respect that the written word gives you some clue as to the sound you should hear from your child... Chinese is not straightforward.

In terms of reading I find hunting through the initial sounds section, followed by the next sounds a little time-consuming; but that isn't the fault of the book - just the complexity of translating the language into something that can be read phonetically in English.

I can't say I could learn Mandarin with this aid alone, although it is very good as a support mechanism.
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on 6 July 2011
I'd been thinking of learning Chinese for so long, and had even bought some other books, but I haven't found a better introduction to the language than this book. It clearly explains intonations, introduces the writing system, and eases you into each new area in a totally comprehensible way. Crucially, it has an accompanying CD, which I could not have done without. Not only am I learning a lot from this book, but it's also explained to me key ideas which have let me understand other Chinese textbooks easier. I am now confident about learning this language.

I love language learning books with lots of colours and pictures; they make learning fun and each word more easy to remember. This book is full of that stuff. It's generally very aesthetically pleasing. I think anyone could learn from this book, no matter what age. The only downside I would mention is that it sometimes devotes whole pages to Chinese things which aren't actually related to language, for example, the Chinese Zodiac. I mean, it's still fun to read, and makes a break from studying, but can be a bit of a needless distraction.

Overall, if you want to START learning Chinese or even just want some key phrases, BUY THIS BOOK. I buy a LOT of language learning books, and this one clearly stands out. I really hope DK bring out some more editions in this Easy Peasey range. It is purely for beginners though, so if you're studying at a conversational or intermediate level, you'll probably find it far too simple.
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on 17 February 2010
I bought this book and CD to help plan a Chinese language workshop for primary school children. The book is set out in topic-based chapters with lots of clear photographs and illustrations, and the inclusion of cultural notes is very engaging. Although I assume that the book was designed for school age children, it's not patronising and would be equally suitable for an older person who was interested in the Chinese language. There is a reference glossary at the back with the hanzi characters, pinyin transliteration and English words, so it's easy to check words from the book. There is a logical progression through the chapters, starting with sounds and the basics of writing through to words and sentences, so it's probably best to work through rather than dipping in and out at random.
I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about the Chinese language or who wants to start to learn to speak Chinese. I am a professional language teacher and I also study languages in my spare time as a hobby, so I have tried out many different types of language learning materials - this is definitely one of the best I have used.
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on 16 January 2012
Fascinating language, fascinating tones, fascinating pinyin, linked to beautiful written characters. This introductory book to learning Mandarin is colourful and fun (and cheap on Amazon!). I bought 'Easy Peasy Mandarin' because I was interested in learning Mandarin, if perhaps it wasn't too daunting. Well, this book has got me hooked! I have found Mandarin a much more engaging language to learn and speak compared to the French and German I have accrued. The DVD is jolly and follows the format of the book closely. I have since sourced a teacher and am really enjoying my new journey.
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on 22 April 2011
I'd tried learning beginner level Manderin/ simplified Chinese from internet resources - there is a lot out there but it tends to be not tailored, not portable and most of it is poor quality. Out of frustration I decided to try a cheap professional aid and found this book. It is brilliant and has proven to be disproprtionately good value.

It follows a step by step approach with a lot of manageable steps which helps to speed up learning. I very quickly passed the level achievable from hours of internet gazing and rapidly progressed further. I can now have basic conversations, read dates/ numbers/ data on business documents (a key reason for learning Manderin) and know a bit about Chinese customs like not to flip fish on a plate and how to behave with Chinese business guests.

It comes with a CD which I loaded to on old mobile phone which allows me to listen and learn pronounciation whilst commuting on the train. It has lots of tacks which allows me to repeat tracks to repretitively relisten to and learn small groups of new words.

Can I recommend it? Yes.
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