Reading & Writing Chinese: Simplified Character Edition Paperback – 31 Oct 2003
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This is a completely revised and updated new edition of Tuttle's classic Reading & Writing Chinese. This edition focuses on the simplified characters now universally used in mainland China and Singapore, and which are the primary goal of almost all learners. The traditional characters still used in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and in older literature, are also included in order to furnish a complete reference.
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Top Customer Reviews
Roughly the given characters follows a bit the learning order for beginners of Mandarin Chinese and it builds up to more complicated (and lesser used) characters.
The book gives 1067 characters (with about an additional 2000 characters but those are smaller listed).
Each page gives 5 characters.
For each character the following is given:
1. The character itself
2. Character serial number
3. Stroke count
4. Stroke-order diagram
5. Pinyin: pronunciation and tone
6. Character definition
7. Radical information
8. Radical number
9. Hanyu Shuiping Cihui..list
10. Character explanation
11. Other words with the character combinations (with pinyin-pronunciation, meaning and HSC list)
12. Traditional character
Personally I liked using this book to master the first 1000 characters (and beyond). Very handy as memorization tool! I would suggest though using this book as additional secondary tool to learn Mandarin Chinese.
Each page holds a few 'letters' which are individually presented according to how they should be written. This is definitely not a workbook though. Sizing of the graphic is no problem and confusion is avoided by the use of block illustrations,ie. cursive strokes which you'd get with native or highly-adept speakers and writers of Chinese are a no-no.
Variant meanings come under the relevant character and the Pinyin index affords a quick lookup - making this good value book also useful as a beginning Chinese-English dictionary. In the main trunk of this physically lightweight tome - and within each character's allocated space - there's an illustration of the traditional version should this be different.
What's probably most important for the new learner is that with the index she'll be able to learn the writing simultaneous to any class she's attending, which will probably most likely just concentrate on the Pinyin transcription regardless of the (few) number of charcters introduced. If you're already familiar with some of the rules regarding stroke order, and are torn between this simplified version and the other traditional volume, I'd personally recommend that you obtain the latter since I've never had any problem with learning how to write simplified Chinese after I've studied the traditional forms. The former are in many cases just truncated versions of the older, literary characters.
The volume isn't so much a dictionary as a handbook, although with the Pinyin index at the rear it'll be adequate for that purpose. That said the entries in the main body don't provide anything in the way of example sentence structures which you'd imagine is de rigueur for lexicons. What are included are variant meanings. And though initially tricky the additional stroke index also permits a search for characters where you don't yet know the attached pronunciation.
The multi-use value of McNaughton's public-transport friendly volume is the inclusion - on both the front and back inside covers - of radical lists. The front section presents the traditional ordering of roots; this is tied in with the Pinyin index and quite straightforward to use. The list at the back transcribes how the Han-Ying Cidian/The Chinese-English Dictionary arranges things. The author states that this latter group might be more useful for the learner. Incidentally, he recommends learning both.
As I suggested this isn't really a workbook, and you'll definitely struggle to cram in your calligraphy if that's what you're intending. Even so the book presents each character at a more than sufficient size, with the stroke order in separate boxes to aid learning.
Also for all characters here (several thousand in fact) there'll be - at the bottom right corner of each rectangular box - the simplified version should it differ from the traditional form.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ok for the job it does. It was bought in error because I needed traditional Characters not SimplifiedPublished 19 months ago by David R Freeman
The book works complimentary to my other books giving me more access for my study, I find it just as useful as the othersPublished on 26 Jun. 2014 by Clive Howells
Beware! This appears to be based on the simplified script version and, as so often happens, not all of the changes have been made as thoroughly as they should have been. Read morePublished on 6 Dec. 2012 by Multilingual reader
I am only a 100 pages in or so but so far the thing that I have found most useful is the helpful hints on how to remember characters. Read morePublished on 7 Nov. 2011 by Lingering
I am in tune with the other reviewers. I have a copy but don't actually find it much more useful than the traditional book I got before the simplified version was published. Read morePublished on 6 Oct. 2009 by J. Washbrook
This book has loads of radicals & frequently used chinese characters but i really do agree with the previous reviewer it has a very bad layout. Read morePublished on 17 Jan. 2009 by Brendan T. Hole