Top critical review
7 people found this helpful
I ended up showing the soldier in Tiananmen Square the words for "where is the toilet" and he replied in good English. My approa
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.