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Chinese Breeze (汉语风) Graded Readers


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What is it about graded readers that makes them so slow in coming out? Mandarin Companion has wonderful readers, but they can be read in an hour or two and there are only 7 of them at the moment. (Also, why does releasing a traditional version require literally months of time after the simplified edition was released?) Chinese breeze was good about putting out content for the first few years, but they've not gotten beyond level 3 yet, and it seems as though new releases are barely a trickle at this point. What happened? I don't mean to be ungrateful - these materials are really wonderful - but higher-level readers that aren't horribly boring/old seem to be quite difficult to come by.

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@archimon, I imagine graded readers are time-consuming to create with a limited market for the final product, especially for higher-level readers.

 

 

(Also, why does releasing a traditional version require literally months of time after the simplified edition was released?)

 

It doesn't, so the delay must be a business decision of some kind.

 

If you don't find anything of interest here http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/44336-graded-readers-by-the-numbers-characterswords-page-count/ then perhaps it's time to try more native materials; I'm sure you can find many recommendations for that on this forum.

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  • 5 months later...

 

 

 All of those underlining in the book has to be done by hand along with the numbers and footnotes. It's not automated, and frankly it takes a long time.

Thanks so much for writing up this reply - it's quite interesting to get some insight into how all of this works behind the scenes! I wanted to ask you a question about the bit I've copied above - why isn't it possible to automate a task like this? Isn't this sort of work being done on computers? Even if not truly automatic, would a ctrl+f function not be adequate (e.g. because you haven't completed proofreading yet)? 

 

I'm really looking forward to getting more Mandarin Companion readers - they're a fantastic resource!

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why isn't it possible to automate a task like this? Isn't this sort of work being done on computers? Even if not truly automatic, would a ctrl+f function not be adequate (e.g. because you haven't completed proofreading yet)? 

 

 

This is a good question. Frankly, it has to do with the software and system being used. Our designers use (and most books are designed using) Adobe Indesign. In this program, you can find and replace text and add underlining. However, it does not allow the flexibility and control with underlining that we need. We need blue underlining for the key words and light grey for proper nouns. Also, we want to lighten the underlining to make it less obtrusive while also making the line a bit thicker than a normal thin underline. Then we need to add numbers to every instance of a key word. Also, this doesn't take into account when we have something like "..." where the there is a dotted underline between the key words illustrating connection. This cannot be automated in InDesign using conventional methods. So you can use the find function to find every instance of a word, but then you have to manually insert the underline and numbering. It's incredibly 麻烦. 

 

HOWEVER, we have been working on something to speed this up. You'll see more books from us!

 

Also forgot to mention, converting the text to traditional characters is more troublesome than you would think. You can't just stick it through google translate. Even with our careful reviews, there have still been errors. It can be soul crushing work. 

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  • 5 months later...

I've just found out that Chinese Breeze finally published two more books, the first ones of level 4 (1100 words, for people around HSK 4), and now you have to scan a QR code to get the audio files. 

What a nostalgia! I was so fond of those series, that I'd like to read these new books even if now I'm already with real novels for native speakers :D

In Study Chinese Culture you can find the whole series.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 10 months later...
22 hours ago, i__forget said:

Any reviews about Chineese Breeze level 4 (1100 words) books? Amazon has no reviews of these books...

 

I read "Vick the Good Dog" which is a level 4 reader. The book follows the basic format of the other books, and is about training a drug interdiction dog that was traumatized by an incident in the dog's past. This isn't classic literature, but is worth reading for the learner of Chinese.

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I don't have the books at hand right now, but can check later. Frustratingly, the provided links to download the audio for the level four books do not work. I have emailed the publisher about this (almost two months ago), but not received any reply. The links to the streams work, but not the links directly to the downloadable rar-archives.

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If anyone are interested, the Peking University Press publishes its downloadable audio material here. On page two are the links to both《好狗维克》and 《两件红衬衫》but neither of them works.

 

To PUP's credit, though, they don't require any sort of verification that you've actually purchased the books related to the audio material. Since I wasn't able to access the audio for the level four graded readers that I had purchased, I felt enitrely justified downloading the audio for《中级汉语口语》and 《高级汉语口语》(neither of which I have purchased).

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for the tip, but I'm not going to pay for the files, seeing how I've already paid for what was supposed to be book + audio. The back cover of the books explicitly state that you are supposed to be able to download the audio from PUP's pages. In that regard, it's interesting to note that Purple Culture is charging for the .zip files (and offering book+audio packages). Could PUP have changed their mind (so to speak) and decide to charge extra for the downloadable audio?

 

It's not a huge deal to me, and I still think the Chinese Breeze books are well worth their price (which is like RMB 20 per book) even without the audio, but it definitely takes away some of the competitive edge they've had over the competitors in the field of graded readers. Without audio I'd probably reccomend the BLCUP series 学汉语分级读物 as a similarly priced but better alternative.

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