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Collins Easy Learning Mandarin Chinese Characters : Trusted support for learning Paperback – 6 Apr 2017
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I like the fact that the characters are organised by themes and that for every character introduced, there are a few words given containing that character to show how, when combined, a new meaning is produced.
It also shows the traditional character (as opposed to the simplified one) in the corner of the page if it differs from the simplified one at all. It shows the pronunciation in pinyin and it explains the logic/origin of some of the characters.
If you are learning to write a language like Chinese which will take time unless you want to go grey (I know someone who went grey learning this language quickly) , you don’t want to have too many characters in one book or you will feel overwhelmed, so this book makes a great introduction to learning the first characters.
It’s an interesting language and should be learnt gradually and in a relaxed way.
I do however think that this book would look better if it had some nice coloured pages in it. Otherwise, I would recommend it for learning to write your first characters.
Firstly, with regards to writing characters, a number of my chinese friends have pointed out that the way in which this book assists you in writing characters is counter-productive, as many of the characters written in this book look "mechanical". They have recommended instead something called a 田字格本，which is essentially a chinese character copybook. Chinese nationals have told me that these copybooks enable you to more accurately write the characters. So, if you are serious about learning how to write chinese characters, as am I, I would definitely recommend buying a chinese character copybook.
Another point that id like to make is that many of the characters contained within this book do not really assist learning. To elaborate, I am taking the HSK qualification (an international qualification for non native chinese speakers), and as part of this qualification students are constantly learning characters combined together to form words, so for example 出租车 which means taxi. Now in this book, you are not really able to learn new words, because although you may learn the character 车 (car), you may not encounter the other characters in the word taxi, so really you are not able to see characters in use within other words.
Now for people who say "right this is a dictionary not a work book", I completely understand that point of view. But if this publication was a good dictionary on chinese characters, it would have more than 250! At the very least for the price I would expect 1000 chinese characters. Please understand that basic proficiency in chinese = being able to understand 3000 characters (so this book is not a very good dictionary if it only contains 250). I would recommend that if you are wanting to buy a dictionary with chinese characters inside, there are a lot of publications out there better than this one.
These are just my honest views, and I hope they help a potential purchaser in understanding the pro's and con's of this book.
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