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hlk123

Grammar books with a translation.

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hlk123

Hello

I am looking for Chinese grammar books for beginner and for intermediate level. The authors must be mainland Chinese.

The examples MUST have an English translation!

I have the book "A Practical Chinese Grammar For Foreigners" by Li Dejin and Cheng Meizhen and the book "Error Analysis of 900 Sample Sentences" by Cheng Meizhen et al.

In those books the examples are not translated .. only the description! Why?

Do you know such books?

Thank you.

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hlk123

Attached are 2 samples from the grammar books.

The first one from Yip Po-Ching "Chinese - A Comprehensive Grammar", Routledge, London - 418 pages.

Below it from Li Dejin "A Practical Chinese Grammar For Foreigners", Sinolingua, Beijing, 742 pages.

Please compare the examples.

It seems that the first author wants that one understands the examples completely ... ?! :)

BTW could elina ask the mainland publishers why it is so ... ?

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HashiriKata
In those books the examples are not translated .. only the description! Why?

Because it's assumed that after reading the description/ explanation, the reader would be able to work out the meaning of the examples. (You must have noticed that many textbooks published in China/ Taiwan don't have the texts/ dialogues in them translated either)

The deeper reason is actually a practical one: bearing in mind that as an expert in Chinese, you don't have to be an expert in English. Many textbook writers therefore have to hire English speakers to translate their works into English and this costs money, so they would limit the translation to what they consider the most essential. This practice spreads and has eventually established itself as "the way to do it".

Even when you hire a professional to translate your work for you, the translater can also introduce his/ her own mistakes (depending on what quality you'd be willing to pay for). So, it seems, superficiallly at least, the less translation the better, and you'd also have less chances of being laughed at behind your back for the English mistakes in your book.

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djwebb2004
The authors must be mainland Chinese.

You will notice that the best book is published by Routledge outside of China, by 2 lecturers from Leeds University, one of whom is Chinese (both former lecturers of mine).

Textbooks published in China are in my experience worthless. May you said have said "the book must have been published outside mainland China". Now that would have made sense...

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hlk123

The real reason is MONEY!? Yeah...

That's why the "best pedagogic" Chinese grammar books come from USA and GB.

Written mostly by two persons (!! :)) .. Yip/Remmington, Li/Thompson, Tiee/Lance, Ma/Ross .. besides Chao, Lin, Chu, Cheung etc.

They have all MULTI-LANGUAGE examples.

They have a better "(the) way to do it".

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self-taught-mba
That's why the "best pedagogic" Chinese grammar books come from USA and GB.

I completely agree. Most of the really good materials I have seen (and I use) have come from those handful of Western scholars which have learned thoroughly and are able to explain it so that we can understand it.

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atitarev
Western scholars =?= 华侨 .... .. mostly!?

No, I don't think so but some of them may have Chinese background.

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elina

As far as we know, none of the Chinese grammar books published in mainland China has English translation for every sample sentence, some of them have Pin Yin for the sample sentences. IMO, I don’t think it’s because of the money, since the publishers can increase the price of the books to cover the extra cost for the translation work. And also, if the author of the book can do the translation for the explanation of the grammar points, then he/she will have enough English level to translate the sample sentences.

Just now, we contacted the 对外汉语编辑部/ editing departments of the 3 publishers: Peking University Press, Beijing Language & Culture University Press, Sinolingua Beijing, according to their answers, I agree to this saying: “Because it's assumed that after reading the description/ explanation, the reader would be able to work out the meaning of the examples. (You must have noticed that many textbooks published in China/ Taiwan don't have the texts/ dialogues in them translated either)”. They think “it’s just not necessary”, “if a foreigner is going to learn the grammar, then he/she has already had some Chinese foundation to understand the sample sentences, even not easily, but can successfully do that after some efforts, the “努力/ trying” process can also help to improve one’s Chinese level”, etc., etc., personally, as a businessman without any teaching background to foreigner, I don’t know if their saying is right or not, I just have a feeling:

1. As the authors involved in the books are all Chinese people, who MIGHT not truly and deeply understand the difficult points for foreigners studying Chinese. That’s why some books edited by a foreign author like Martin Symonds (the author of Chinese Made Easier) are welcome by many foreigners.

2. I think the Chinese authors MIGHT only think of the foreigners who learn Chinese with a tutor/teacher/class help, but not think of the foreigners who study Chinese totally by themselves.

I am looking for Chinese grammar books for beginner and for intermediate level. The authors must be mainland Chinese.

BTW, why you limit that the authors must be mainland Chinese?

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hlk123

@elina

Because the "Western" grammar structure is very different.

For example .. Chinese has no "adjective" .. but stative VERB.

Chinese has no "preposition" but coVERB. Chinese is (mostly) a topic-comment language .... etc.

I got the false impression when I read a Chinese grammar book written with a "Western eye".

That's why I want to read "now" a "real" Chinese grammar book but I don't want to wait 10 years (!) until I can understand the nuances of the Chinese examples. :)

Please read the first and second Chinese sentence in the attached picture.

Without the English translation I will never "understand" them.

That is only an example!

A reference grammar book has to explain fully. Not to test or to "teach" the reader.

ALL "Western" Chinese grammar books use multi-languange in their examples. The "arrogant" answer is only an excuse. :)

I know the difference between learning-textbook and reference grammarbook. I know the difference between books for foreigners and books for general public.

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hlk123

@djwebb2004

I've all 5 (!) books from Yip ... incl. "The Chinese Lexicon".

Is Yip a man or a woman? I read that s/he came at 40 yo. to England from mainland China...? S/he is now 70 yo?

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gato
"adjective" .. but stative VERB.

Chinese has no "preposition" but coVERB.

I wouldn't be so sure. It really depends on how one defines "preposition" and "adjective". Some academics see that Chinese adjectives and prepositions follow somewhat different rules from European adjectives and preposition, so they decided to coin new terms and call them "stative verbs" and "coverbs". They think that helps to make the point that they are different from their European counterparts. I think using these new words just confuses people.

Not all Chinese grammar books and teachers use these neologies. Some prefer to use standard English terminology like "adjective" and "preposition" and then explain how their use in Chinese might be different (from English, for example).

See http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~rsimmon/chingram/

See this thread for some suggestions for grammar books

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/785-excellent-grammar-book&highlight=grammar+book

The one I recommended, "A Concise Chinese Grammar" 簡明漢語語法, for example, calls adjective "adjectives" and adverbs "adverb." However, it doesn't provide English translations for example sentences, as you requested.

By the way, the Chinese call adjectives "形容词“ and prepositions "介词". Notice the word "verb" (动词) does not appear in the Chinese terms.

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hlk123

@gato

I have the book "A Concise Chinese Grammar" by Guo Zhenhua. I like the TOC. He should write a bigger book .. with multi-language examples! :)

I have also the book "Grammatik des modernen Chinesisch" by Gregor Kneussel.

Published by Verlag fuer Fremdsprachige Literatur in BEIJING!!!

It HAS multi-language examples. See attachment.

Please see the second sentence from below.

How could you (a foreigner!) "understand fully" the difference the particle "le" makes? .. without example like this?

What is a new state?

Only by reading the explanation? .. ten times or more? :)

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gato

Reading the German 10 times wouldn't help me since I don't read German. :mrgreen: But I get your point.

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hlk123

@atitarev

No, I don't think so but some of them may have Chinese background.

You live down under? <- Chinese Style Asking :)

Can you show the list below to your "Chinese" friends or neighbours and ask them how many "overseas Chinese" they can guess?

One in each line? :)

Yip Po-Ching / Don Rimmington

Charles N. Li/ Sandra Thompson

Hung-Yeh Tiee / Donald Lance

Jing-heng Sheng Ma / Claudia Ross

Yuen Ren Chao

Helen T. Lin, her father was Chun Jen Tai

Chauncey Chen-hsi Chu

Hung-nin Cheung

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elina

hlk123,

I get your point, too. Personally, I think it’s better for a producing party to manufacture marketing-oriented or customers-oriented products, instead of just “imagining” this product should be good to the target customers.

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atitarev

hlk123,

I can't remember all names but I know there were some Westerners. One name I remember - Elizabeth Scurfield, definitely not Chinese. She's the author of Teach Yourself Chinese series.

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hlk123

@atitarev

Those names have all written at least one Chinese grammar book.

Elizabeth Scurfield has written some textbooks about learning Chinese. No Chinese grammar book ... as far as I know ..

I have one.

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hlk123

@elina

I do not understand what you said. English is not my mother-tongue.

From the discussions I understand:

1. Only mainland Chinese scholars don't use English/German in the examples of their books although their books are sold in England/USA/Germany ... "for foreigners".

2. We do not know the real reason. All we know is speculation.

3. That English/German translation is a "pointer" to something that the foreigner already knows. Without that pointer the foreigner is only a parrot .. who only parrots what the Chinese teachers say.

elina, you don't need that pointers because you are Chinese.

I "feel" that gato got this point. I do not feel that you understand it. :(

In China nowadays much changes overnight .. except this! :)

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hlk123

It is a wellknown fact that China "steals" many copyrights.

The mainland Chinese scholars can "copy" the best-selling Chinese grammar books which are written by Western scholars.

Lovemandarin can sell much more Chinese grammar books to the foreigners .. for $20,- each .. (Yip's costs much more).

The members of this forum will frantically buy from you.

Yeah ... elina .. how about this "business proprosal"? Easy to understand .. right? It's money-oriented! :)

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