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Can anyone recommend a good Mandarin textbook that I can use to learn on my own? I have had about two years of Mandarin and I also studied in Beijing last semester. Unfortunately my home school doesn't offer Chinese past second year....basically I am just looking to learn a lot more vocab.

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The other thing, is that if you want to take a break from the character grind and work on acquiring spoken/aural vocab is watch all 22 (or is it 2?) episodes of Chinese Style Divorce (search chinese-forums for "Trashy Soap Opera of the Month"). Or there is a good listening course that roddy recommended (again search on "listening course" and it will probably come up). Since conventional wisdom says that one can learn vocab for speaking and listening faster than the characters, at your level this might make sense. You could zoom through for listening/speaking, stopping to learn characters when you find something particularly interesting. Just an idea, almost certainly not original.

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