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on 5 January 2015
I think, frankly, that it is a step too far to expect to be able to make any headway with Mandarin, from a standing start, with this book or any other. I read it on the plane over to Beijing, hoping to be able to at least say a few stock phrases. But the difficulty of the intonation etc means that when I tried my homework, I was met with blank stares. I ended up showing the soldier in Tiananmen Square the words for "where is the toilet" and he replied in good English. My approach unfortunately was to ask the hotel to write me destinations in Mandarin for the taxi drivers, use the metro which has station names and ticket machines in English, and use restaurants with English menus or pictures of the dishes. Not sure who could do any better than this, as I am OK with languages normally. The food decoder is maybe good, but rather impractical unless you want to spend thirty minutes studying the menu while waitresses come and ask you again and again if you are ready. So not really a criticism of the book, but more a criticism of the concept of learning sufficient on a short time to be able to do anything meaningful. Could help if you already have some of the language.
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on 14 June 2014
Being a linguistic enthusiast I speak a considerable number of languages. One of them which I happened to have studied in a formal setting was Mandarin Chinese. Since that happened some years ago, and I recently needed to brush up my skills, this book has been invaluable in not only reminding me a great of vocabulary, but also in helping me learn some new and very useful set of phrases and words. While I do not know how easy it is to use for someone who has no prior knowledge of the language, this little and very cheap covers a wide variety of topics, which can help you in most of the situations you will find yourself in while visiting China or Taiwan. Anyhow, I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for an introduction into Mandarin Chinese or someone who needs to refresh their skills in the language for an upcoming trip.
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on 30 January 2016
Lonely Planet Mandarin Phrasebook & Dictionary (Lonely Planet Phrasebook: Mandarin)
The book is very good for the size and content, however, there are so many small mistakes and inaccurate translations.
Here are a few examples:
1. Pinyin, page 23, don't want: 不要 búyào NOT bùyào
2. Grammar,there are too many ...
1). a key point of word order on page 30, it says: basic sentence order is the same as English, I would say it is 'similar' NOT the same:
e.g. I had dinner at China town yesterday.
我昨天在中华街吃了晚饭。(Lit, I yesterday at China town ate dinner.)
2). tenses, again, too many, for example, page 61
He is staying at Beijing Hotel. It should be 他住在北京饭店。
NOT 他住北京饭店。which means he stays at Beijing Hotel.
3. Words/phrases usage: often, a Mandarin word contents more then one meaning, but it is not too difficult make use a correct one in a sentence, for example page 165
I didn't do it. It translated into: 不是我做的。 (lit: not me do (it).) It should be
这不是我做的。 (lit: This is not me did (it).) or 我没做这个。 (I did not do this.)

I think (I am a Mandarin teacher living in UK) this little book is excellent for the content and size, however, there are too many small mistakes. It is Ok as a phrase book for an one off travelling, but not acceptable for people using it to learn as a dictionary.
It need to be reviewed and updated!
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on 8 November 2012
This pocket sized book contains some very useful phrases and covers a broad range of topics. Some of the 'culture tips' are a little off the mark though, such as the advice regarding avoiding eye-contact when speaking to somebody, I have found this is definitely not the case!

There's not much information on how to pronounce the pinyin phrases - which bear little resemblance to English pronunciation, but it is a great addition to learning materials for anybody learning Mandarin.

Overall, a great price for a useful little book.
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on 8 February 2014
Handy size and easy to understand. Using it to learn Mandarin with a tutor, good clear phases. Pocket size to fit in my handbag
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on 6 April 2014
Nice guide and good for the price, a must have if you go to China.
Even though we have smart phones with apps and smart ways of translating words, this cheap guide is a nice thing to have.

I had to ask a taxi driver to pick me up at a given time and it worked.

Nice a informative notions on the language/culture.
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on 26 June 2014
Received Lonely Planet Mandarin phrasebook quickly and in perfect condition. Wanted it as planning China visit - have been looking through and checking words and phrases we're likely to need and it seems to cover just about everything we'll need which is great.
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on 13 August 2014
The missing star is due to the fact that the coloured print is hard on the eyes of anyone who is not exceedingly short-sighted. Carrying a magnifying glass of the same weight as the otherwise very well made book seems somewhat counterproductive. Pity.
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on 13 April 2013
Book organized in different sections giving example of sentences that can be used as traveler. Some of the example in this book are not 100% accurate however if you are traveling to China and need some help, you might find this book helpful.
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on 20 August 2014
Handy little book to keep in your day bag. I used it alongside an app on my phone to check on pronunciation. I particularly liked the culture information in each section, as that is what we were interested in learning.
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