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Learning Chinese


Albert Tatlock
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I started learning Chinese this year, but am not too happy with the book/CD I've got. There is not too much on the BBC website either.

 

Any suggestions for decent online training, books, tapes, or best way ahead etc. would be appreciated. Ideally I want to learn 'on the hoof' i.e. when I'm travelling a lot - rather than go on specific courses.

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I studied with the Integrated Chinese Series by C&T Asian Languages Series by Daozhong Yao (Editor), Ted Yao (Editor)

 

Annoyingly I can only find Level 1 Part 2 on Amazon UK so here's a link to Level 1 Part 1 on Amazon US!

 

A couple of points. Be very careful about characters: China and Singapore use simplified characters, Hong Kong, Taiwan and most overseas chinese use Traditional Characters.

 

There is a significant difference between the two.

 

I'm China-centric and so prefer simplified, but some people argue that you need to learn the traditional ones to "appreciate" the meaning of the characters. I pretty much disagree, both sets have arbitary rules, which mean you cannot learn by rote, some rules hold up more with Traditional ones, some with simplified.

 

Simplified are easier to write and read. You can usually undersatand simplified if you learn traditional and vice verse, but sometimes they'll stump you!

 

For less academic books Colloquial Chinese is excellent, but has few characters.

 

While Don Rimmington's Basic Chinese and Intermediate Chinese Work book and Grammars are brilliant for concise explanations of how the language works. They have good exercises, but they don't have particularly good vocabularies.

 

For fun I'd very much recommend the Fun with Chinese Characters series by Tan Huay Peng. They are cartoons explaining the eteology of the most common characters. I've got all 4 books from the series and browse them still!

 

I studied with a language lab, so didn't have any trouble with listening tapes, I'm not sure what's best. The Colloquial Chinese CD is probably as good as any

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The internets reasonably helpful.

 

Try out Chinese Radio International: it the chinese equivilent of the world service and runs two Chinese language course.

 

Learn Chinese Now starts right from the beginning.

 

While Chinese Studio is more advanced and has been running for years.

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I found Colloquial Chinese by Kan Qian to be a really good course. I study History at university and wanted to choose a language course. I chose Mandarin and the book for the course was this 'Colloquial Chinese'.

I would give it a go though my Malaysian housemate can't bear to listen to the CD as the recordings sound so 'Beijing' and ultra-polite. Nevertheless, I did really well in my coursework and exam after learning from this source.

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  • 9 years later...

Resurrecting an old thread as I've just discovered The Chairman's Bao: it is a really good website for learning Chinese.

 

It is currently free - though that won't last long I presume! But it is offering short newpaper articles and accompanying audio clips at various levels to help pass the HSK Language tests.

 

It looks pretty good.

 

I've been looking for a while for something like this. I just need to vocabulary build, I'm no longer a beginner but also need help when trying to read more advanced content.

 

The Chairman's Bao seems to fit the bill pretty well.

 

I used ChinesePod for a while, but their subscription was a bit high for my occasional use, plus their pod casts were a bit too chatty for me. The Chairman's Bao looks more fixed on vocabulary building.

 

If anyone else is interested - give it a go.

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Have a look for "Chinese expat forums" Albert. Here for example, is a question from someone looking for phone apps.

 

http://answers.echinacities.com/question/anyone-know-any-good-apps-or-programs-learning-mandarin?type=alatest#lastcomment

 

A good one for learning info is here:

 

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/index

 

My Chinese sucks. I know enough to get to the bar, buy beer, and get to a home.... then get to my home :-) My brain is just not wired for language.

 

Why are you learning it by the way? Out of interest. For business or for a planned trip behind the great firewall? If the latter, you are welcome to kip at mine if you want to explore Guangzhou. And that's an offer open to all MF posters.

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The internets reasonably helpful.

 

Try out Chinese Radio International: it the chinese equivilent of the world service and runs two Chinese language course.

 

Learn Chinese Now starts right from the beginning.

 

While Chinese Studio is more advanced and has been running for years.

 

Hi China. The second link you posted. "Learn Chinese now".

 

Can you post a full web address to that? It sounds ideal fror me. But your link does not work from behind the great firewall.

 

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  • 5 years later...

Thread resurrection for a new link!

https://www.zbschools.sg/

Goodness knows how long it will be free, but it is a website aimed at school age kids in Singapore to encourage reading.

As a result it is simpler language.  Beyond that though they've also added a pinyin button which toggles pinyin under each character on and off AND they have a computer generated audio, either for the whole thing or for individual sentences - it is a bit robotic, but doesn't sound too bad.

All in all that is a pretty brilliant resource - hundreds of intermediate articles, with pinyin and audio.  Wow!

Hope it is useful!

Yours, struggling to get through the intermediate reader doldrums!

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