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Colloquial Chinese: The Complete Course for Beginners: A Complete Language Course (Colloquial Series) Paperback – 14 Sep 1995

4.1 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Paperback, 14 Sep 1995
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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2nd Revised edition edition (14 Sept. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415113865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415113861
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 12.9 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 935,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Kan Qian teaches in Oriental Studies at the University of Cambridge.


Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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By A Customer on 6 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
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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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: Paperback
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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