- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Thames and Hudson Ltd (10 Mar. 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0500650284
- ISBN-13: 978-0500650288
- Product Dimensions: 18.3 x 2.1 x 24.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
ChineasyTM: The New Way to Read Chinese Paperback – 10 Mar 2014
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Graphically appealing, illustration-led new system for learning Chinese. --The Bookseller
Fear not, Grasshopper, learning Mandarin just got Chineasy ... may revolutionize the teaching of Chinese around the world ... In 25 minutes ShaoLan's method had done more for me than had two weeks of headaches clutching Collins's Easy Learning Chinese Characters. And that result probably speaks for itself. --The Sunday Times
If you've ever felt the urge to read Chinese but found the challenge overwhelming, help may be at hand. --The Wall Street Journal
Ingenious ... making learning Mandarin Chinese simpler ... fun, eye-catching designs. --The Independent on Sunday
Turns a fiendish world into a visual treat ... shines a spotlight of childlike clarity on the seemingly impenetrable world of Chinese ideograms ... beautifully illustrated. --The Guardian
An approachable introduction ... Chineasy succeeds in making familiar ideas memorable. It gives the beginner, confronted by a seemingly random scrawl of ideograms, somewhere to start in deciphering them. --The Economist
Could soon be unlocking secrets for everyone. --Metro
Filled with delightful illustrations. --Baby & Me
You'll love ShaoLan's Clever interpretation of Chinese characters! --Bored Panda
Easy peasy it's Chineasy! ... Not only does it look fantastic, thanks to the illustrations by Noma Bar, but it really works too. --Independent School Parent
Might be exactly what beginners need. --Travel in Taiwan
Brilliantly simple ... It is truly a very accessible system also for kids and I am already getting the hang of it. Don't miss out on this. Get the book, put it on your night stand and read a few pages every evening. It will give you access to a whole new world. --AllMyGoodness.com
From the Back Cover
Chinese is considered one of the most difficult languages to master. However, using the Chineasy system, anyone can begin to understand and read Chinese. It works by transforming Chinese characters into illustrations to make them easy to remember. This book teaches the key characters on which the language is built and how these characters can be combined to form more complex words and phrases. Learning Chinese has never been this simple or more fun!--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
One downside to this is that you learn a lot of words that you are unlikely to be using any time soon, such as 人鱼 “mermaid”, 小鬼 “imp” and 公主 “princess”. Moreover, my Chinese friends tell me that a lot of words in the book are archaic, such as 犬 “dog” (which, in that case, I suppose might be translated more like “hound”?), and the book does not always mention this. That said, it is still useful to learn 犬 because the next character that follows is 吠, which is a combination of 口 “mouth” and 犬 and means “to bark”.
So while this character build up is useful, the book seems to miss on some obvious combinations and related characters that are a lot more frequent than, say, “mermaid”. For instance, it covers both 手 “hand” and 机 “machine” but not 手机 “mobile phone”; 酉 “wine vessel” (archaic) and 酒 alcohol (which adds 氵, the radical for water), but not the very common character 西 “west”; it covers both 明 “bright” and 白 “white” but not 明白 “to understand”, etc. In fact, there is very little overlap between the vocabulary covered in Chineasy and the vocabulary from the HSK vocabulary lists (which are organized by frequency).
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this book and it helped me quickstart my character learning. I would recommend it and if a second volume ever came out I would definitely buy it.
What this is, first and foremost, is an art book, something you can admire not just for the beautiful illustrations on the inside, but also for the way the book was put together and laid out. Secondly, if, like me, you are starting out on the nerve-wracking challenge of learning Chinese, this is a great way of demystifying the subject, presenting the logical thought processes behind what may seem like arbitrary and complicated symbols, and giving you an insight into the Chinese mentality. For these purposes, I couldn't recommend this book highly enough, and I've already memorised quite a few of the characters in its pages without applying any real effort.
But you can't possibly rely exclusively on this book to teach you the language. Aside from presenting an extremely small sample of Chinese characters, there's also the fact that they're mostly all traditional forms (most learners of Chinese will want to simplified characters, but even those who are after the traditional characters will find that some of them in here are simplified, as the author/illustrator picks whatever looks best for her purposes). Also, some of the characters (e.g. “argument”, p.47) are extremely rare or archaic forms that nobody uses anymore, as more than one of my Chinese friends pointed out to me when they looked inside. So, great book if you want to appreciate the art or use it as a supplement with real Chinese textbooks, but forget about it if you think it will be an “easy” way to learn the language.
The people who are buying expecting to learn quickly, and dare I say lazily, a complex visual language are missing the point.
Simplified Chinese was introduced in the 50s to combat the high illiteracy rate by reducing or replacing the number of strokes for some characters. Criticising the author for not creating it in simplified Chinese is akin to trying to learn shorthand before you can spell the word. It also implies, by the same reasoning, that the author can read and write simplified Chinese in the same vein that anyone who knows the Latin alphabet can read, write and understand any Romance-based language. Therefore those suggesting that the traditional system is redundant is ignorant in understanding the fundamental origins of Chinese.
If you're learning (western/Cantonese) Chinese this is a brilliant visual conceptual aid but don't expect to come away expecting to know how to write simplified (mainland/Mandarin) Chinese characters – use a textbook. Chineasy shouldn't be dismissed as a poor educational tool because it then doesn't dumb-down the characters for the lesser informed – and why should it!?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Incredible book. Easy to understand and identify images with Chinese writing.
A little child like But that is what makes is so great.
I have just started my classes in Mandarin and so was looking for texts to help in both language and writing, and this obviously fell into the later. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
Beautifully illustrated book.
Easy to learn the symbols and snippets of the language.
I don't have the book, but I noticed that they stole the name from Ratatouille (2007). Skinner's employee (it seems) "Easy to cook, easy to eat, Gusteau makes Chinese food... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Jacob G.
EXCELLENT book, even for a dumb English person. The Chinese in here is Traditional more than Simplified chinese but some how actually seems easier that way. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Warlock
The book simplifies many characters, but left many others.
It seems not to include most used characters. Read more
A super book, simply and effectively laid out and easy to use.
Colourful, with clear directions and explanations.
Turned up on time; well packaged.