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Hedge

Chinese Breeze (汉语风) Graded Readers

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HedgePig

Just to add my thoughts.

I've read "Left and Right" and am almost finished "Two children seeking Joy Bridge". I probably knew about 500 characters when I read the first book and maybe 900 now (although, like querido, I certainly don't know them all with perfect recall.) I found that I knew almost all of the basic assumed vocabulary and learned quite a few new words from the additional vocabulary introduced in each book. This consists of about 60 new words in each case, not necessarily all very basic ones.

I'm very impressed with what they manage to achieve, given the very limited range of characters. The stories are actually interesting! They also really do achieve their aim of repeating the new vocabulary very often and yet it doesn't become boring. My daughter is an avid reader and she sneaked off with "Left and Right" and really enjoyed it, even though it is well below her level in terms of what she knows. (I haven't allowed her to snaffle "Two children...." yet.) So although I agree with querido that these would be very easy for someone at the intermediate level, I also think that someone at this level may simply enjoy reading them for pleasure and maybe gain some reinforcement at the same time. Perhaps the only downside with these books is that there is no overall English translation, so if know the individual words in a sentence but are stuck on the precise meaning, you will need some other form of help.

I'll be buying more of the current series and really looking forward to the next level up. (I do hope that they actually proceed to produce these fairly soon.)

Regards

HedgePig (not the OP!)

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flameproof
can an intermediate level learner get something from these?

1. Beside learning, why not just read for pleasure?

2. Each books claims to have 300 "words", but all 6 titles combined should have quite a few more since they don't use the same characters.

3. The more characters you know, the more titles you can chose from. Jiandandenanti has about 850 or so different characters and more characters in total too.

4. After Jiandandenanti I know 2 more titles with similar difficulty (forget them now, I have both though).

5. After that try read whatever you want to read.

6. Beside learning, why not just read for pleasure?

7. Beside learning, why not just read for pleasure?

8. Beside learning, why not just read for pleasure?

*some of then Jiandandenanti stories are quite funny, my favourite:

聪明的作家 total GB: [441] unique GB: [167]

因为需要一个安静的写作环境,作家在郊外买了一所房子住了下来。工作累了,就在房子前面空旷的草地上散散步。

刚开始的几个星期,一切都很好,安静的环境对作家的写作非常有帮助。但是有一天,草地上来了几个十多岁的男孩儿,在草地上踢足球,从下午一直踢到晚上。一连几天,孩子们天天都来踢球,吵得作家心情很不好,连一个字都写不出来。于是作家决定想办法让孩子们换个地方踢球。

一天,孩子们踢完球,作家对孩子们说:“你们踢得真好,我很喜欢看你们踢球。如果你们每天来这里踢球给我看,我每天给你们十块钱卖汽水儿喝。“孩子们很高兴, 第二天拼命地为作家表演他们的足球技术。

过了几天,作家对孩子们说:“真对不起,我的钱不多了,从明天起,我只能每天给你们五块钱了。“孩子们很不高兴,但还是答应了作家的这个条件。但他们踢球的时候已经不像以前那么拼命了。

又过了几天,作家对孩子们说:“真是不好意思,我的工作丢了,快没钱了。在我找到工作以前,我只能每天给你们一块钱了。”

“一块钱?”孩子们差点儿跳了起来,“我们才不会为了一块钱跟你浪费时间呢。你再也别想看到我们踢球了!“

孩子们生气地走了。从此,作家房前的草地上又恢复了往日的安静。

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wrbt

Deriving pleasure from reading requires it having content that entertains you, certainly no more a guarantee from these stories than from randomly plucking a book from the fiction section of the local library.

From the comments/info provided it certainly seems this series can help with reading and listening practice though, so I've ordered five of them.

Thanks again for kind counsel, I'll be sure to post my thoughts on them and I look forward to the 500 character series being released.

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JenniferW

I've just read my first one of these, ‘我一定要知道她‘. The story was unbelievably awful but I really enjoyed reading it for several reasons.

It was the right level for me. I think I only had to use a dictionary once or twice. The vocab footnotes covered any other gaps for me.

I had a great sense of satisfaction from reading something longer than the text in my course book.

But more than anything else I really enjoyed the experience of following a narrative in Chinese - simply having the experience of realising that that was what I was doing, and am now able to do. So, even though the story was worse than ridiculous (to a westerner), it worked, because it actually is a sustained narrative running over several chapters. You have to understand and remember and build up a sense of each character for it all to make sense - and the course book texts never demand that sort of thinking from you.

So, all in all it was an unexpectedly positive experience.

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elina

The first book of level 2 (500 Word Level) Our geese have gone has just come out, this time the CD is ordinary size of 12cm.

I have read all the 7 books in the series so far. As a native Chinese, regarding the story plot, personally I like the two books among the all:

Left and Right: more interesting than others in my opinion.

Can I dance with you: 悬念/suspense + 侦破/detection + love story = attractive

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wrbt

I'm about halfway thru Left & Right, and although it's definitely a lower level than I need it's actually a pretty interesting story. The audio at normal speed is very slow though, at first I thought I was listening to the slow speed. Hopefully that picks up a little in higher levels.

Looking forward to 500, 750, 1000 etc. word levels.

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flameproof
Deriving pleasure from reading requires it having content that entertains you, certainly no more a guarantee from these stories than from randomly plucking a book from the fiction section of the local library.

Question is: would you have bought the book if it were published in your native language?

For me the answer is: of course not, no way. But for now I can't read "Catch 22" or "Stories from the Brothel" in Chinese.

Looking forward to 500, 750, 1000 etc. word levels.

Have you had a look at "jiandandenanti"? It also comes with a CD and has a number of short stories. It has 880 different characters.

http://www.amazon.cn/mn/detailApp?qid=1233635678&ref=SR&sr=13-8&uid=168-5596553-8773014&prodid=zjbk071994

and #2: http://www.amazon.cn/dp/zjbk202443

There is also this one:

http://www.amazon.cn/detail/product.asp?prodid=bkbk727743

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wrbt

Thanks for the suggestion Flameproof.

Also - on the China Breeze I must have accidentally transferred the slow speed for Left Right, because I'm currently in the WrongWrongWrong and the recording is way faster, just right for audio practice. Apologies for dumbassedry on my part.

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querido

They were recorded at different speeds.

See the timings in post #17 of this thread.

The slowest slow is like molasses; the fastest fast is almost three times faster.

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wrbt

Yup I just finished the one where the guy gets accused of hacking the bank, and the audio is again slow beyond belief. What's the point of offering two speeds if the fast speed is far slower than anyone would ever talk?

Irregardless I'm enjoying the series the content is a little silly but interesting enough to keep the eye/ear tuned.

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flameproof

I finished to type in "我一定找到她..."

Number of Characters: 8396

Unique Characters: 345

Will be interesting to see the "unique" number when putting 2, 3, or all 6 books together. I will update when it happens...

Edited by flameproof

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wrbt

Thanks flame.

I'd say of that first set the worst (storywise) was the "Who Do You Like More" one. I could barely force myself to finish it.

I'm looking forward to the higher level series, I saw there are 2 of the 500 level out when they get to three I'll probably order them.

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HedgePig

I've just finished "Secrets of a Computer Company" (电脑公司的秘密) which is the first one in the 500-word level series I've read (and the only available at the local bookshop.) It's very similar to the two 300-word level books that I've read ("Left and Right" and "Two Children Seeking Joy Bridge") and if you've enjoyed reading from the first series, you'll probably enjoy this one as well. I'm not too familiar with the HSK but I think this would be an easy read if knew most of HSK level 1 vocabulary.

Somewhat surprisingly, I found noticeably fewer unfamiliar characters in the "new vocabulary" list than I did with either of the two 300-word level books. Nevertheless, there were still quite a few words - i.e. while I knew the individual characters, the combination in which they were used and therefore the meaning was new to me. Less surprisingly, there were a few more assumed words in the text that I didn't know.

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flameproof

On we go...:

"我一定找到她..."

Number of Characters: 8396

Unique Characters: 345

"错,错,错!"

Number of Characters: 8698

Unique Characters: 368

Combined:

Number of Characters: 17094

Unique Characters: 419

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HedgePig

I've recently finished "Where Have our Geese Gone?" (500 word level)

I enjoyed this the most of the four that I've read so far - a charming little story.

In general, I've found these books to be fun. I get the satisfaction of being able to read something in Chinese without looking up every second character and I've certainly learned a few new words. The authors do a good job of introducing most of the new vocabulary fairly quickly and then using it frequently and they do this without it becoming boringly repetitious.

Now I just have to find a way to work in the phrase 哨雁 ("sentry goose") into my daily conversation.

HedgePig

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skillphiliac

@HedgePig: I Definitely agree. Not obnoxiously boring, although not extremely exciting either. Still, pretty good lecture for those who would not consider themselves intermediate students (myself included). Well, alright. The first level is rather easy. There was hardly a word I did not know, nor was there any grammatical finesse I haven't crossed swords with before. But still, I am getting the impression of getting acquainted with regular conversation/speech in Chinese, and quite fast to say the least. Neat stories, very decent questions on the text... it is both fun and entertaining. Certainly keeping an eye on the series and surely will have all of them standing in my shelf by the time all of them are finished. Doesn't matter whether - by the time I read the last of them - they pose an obstacle to me or not, I will enjoy them either way. :mrgreen:

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flameproof

...and the next book...

"我一定找到她..."

Number of Characters: 8396

Unique Characters: 345

"错,错,错!"

Number of Characters: 8699

Unique Characters: 363 (after correction)

我可以请你跳舞吗?

Number of Characters: 7602

Unique Characters: 365

Combined:

Number of Characters: 24697

Unique Characters: 459

With larger data it's getting more difficult to get accurate statistics. Both online tools I use vary in the outcome. I use:

http://goulnik.com/chinese/gb/

http://lingua.mtsu.edu/chinese-computing/vp/

Edited by flameproof

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HedgePig

flameproof - just curious. Are you typing in the stories or using some sort of character recognition software? If your are typing, them in do you find any benefit to doing this in terms of improving your Chinese?

Regards

HedgePig

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querido

I'll answer too if you don't mind.

I typed in "Left & Right".

Clearly, it was a lot of exercise at hearing the pinyin right in the audio, and must have helped cement something.

It was one pass of assisted-reading of the book: typing it into Wenlin, I understood everything.

I had intended to make whole-sentence audio flashcards of the book. But there is *so much* repetition, this might not be necessary- a tremendous step up for me if true. There is still value in having it typed: Wenlin can segment if for me, and learning it for the first time is easier.

Typing in one book per Breeze-level and reading the others straight seems reasonable.

Edited by querido
edited to correct a typo

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atitarev

I am using Graded Chinese Reader 1: Selected, Abridged Chinese Contemporary Short Stories+MP3 and Graded Chinese Reader 2: Selected, Abridged Chinese Contemporary Short Stories+MP3

Apart from MP3 (slow but natural), all the texts are also supplied with pinyin.

Are they similar to Chinese Breeze (汉语风) Graded Readers?

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