(Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language) By Fallows, Deborah (Author) Paperback on 13-Sep-2011 Paperback – 13 Sep 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is a real disappointment. It is stated that the author has a Ph.D in Linguistics and from this you could have hoped for some good reflections and analysis. At least that was what I expected when I bought the book. Sadly, the book is a collection of erroneous statements and what appear to be random recollections of her time in China. Her reflections seldom go beyond the most obvious.
Time and time over she conveys her ignorance and lack of cultural understanding. The highlight of disrespectfulness: It took two years in China before the author understood that Chinese people care about each other (the chapter about the earthquake).
She claims that since Chinese characters are written with uniform spacing reading Chinese is as awkward as reading English with no spacing between words. She admits that she cannot read and write Chinese. I do, I can assure that her statement is nonsense.
She suggest "..the Chinese should learn to imagine words without the proper tone". Since tones in Chinese in effect provide different sounds, finals (a part of a syllable that contains vocals) with different tones are as different as different vocals are to English speakers. Try this: Yas thut us I vyri geed adoa! ("Yes that is a very good idea").
Her lack of understanding of Chinese characters and the importance of these as an important cultural heritage is remarkable. In this context she characterize the "deconstruction" (yes, "deconstruction" in the meaning of understanding a character) of characters as "complete madness". And this is even though she does not read or write these characters. Madness, - I will not comment her statement.
There are plenty of other issues I could mention. However, I believe the examples above give you an understanding of the qualities of the book.
Even if you've never been, and never intend to go, or have no interest in learning the language, this is still a very entertaining book.
The writing is journalistic and easy to take in, and the chapters are short enough that you can finish one in 10-20 minutes. In fact I read the whole book in one day, over a few sessions. That leads me to my only complaint - I wanted more!
If you're visiting China, or learning the language, read this book. If you're not, read it anyway.
I have a couple of criticisms, the first being a backhanded compliment in that it seemed too short for me; I could easily have read a book twice the length. And the second that it's unlikely to be such an interesting read for people with no knowledge of Chinese.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book gives you a great insight in Chinese culture through anecdotes related to the Chinese language. Very interesting and entertaining.Published on 31 Dec. 2013 by Headache in a Suitcase
Well written, informative and entertaining. Helps you remember Chinese characters and grammar. Could be a little more content to cover a vast subject..Published on 19 Jan. 2013 by Walter Fung
This is a quick, light read - do not expect a learned dissertation on the language or Chines sociology.
That said, I found the author's experiences and observations accurate. Read more
Enjoyed the book well written light and amusing. BEWARE. author has another book listed on Amazon which by inference is list as "a peolple who bought this also bought" Its the SAME... Read morePublished on 1 July 2011 by Ian Kennedy
Short review: shallow and disrespectful
This book is a real disappointment. It is stated that the author has a Ph. Read more
Deborah Fallows' diary/dictionary Dreaming in Chinese is the latest "must-read" book for expat students learning Chinese. Read morePublished on 7 Jun. 2011 by Xiamen Expat