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Compare NPCR and BOYA (Books 1-3)


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We changed from NPCR to Boya, and I am really happy with it. Here are some comparisons.


Much better layout, chapter organisation, and clearly well edited (both Chinese and English)

Great 'spiral' language learning, you review and repeat words in future chapters, and it reinforces learning very effectively.

A lot of dialogues, and not as many paragraphs and articles for reading practice.

The CD is good, it includes all the relevant readings vocab and exercises.

It is clearly made for the overseas university market, very professional.

The readings are a continuous story with regular characters, so they do keep your interest although of course are dated and quite funny at times.


More reading, I feel that with Boya our reading has progressed faster. New beginner classes in our school that are starting with Boya right away absolutely progressed faster than we did with NPCR in terms of reading.

Not great layout or editing in the first two books, but the light blue one (as far as I am now) seems to be better. But there was clearly no English editing for the definitions.

The CD is not that great, only the vocab and main reading section.

The readings are not a continuous story like NPCR, it s a new topic, with new characters every lesson - this has benefited my reading skills as I can't rely on familiarity with the characters or topic to help me 'cheat'. Also, each chapter tends to have an additional reading in the back, on a completely new topic.

Because my class has two hours of Boya for reading and writing and two hours of another book for speaking and listening, I am really pleased with Boya as reading is my priority. But as an overall comprehensive course possibly NPCR is better.

Of course, no book is perfect, and a lot depends upon the teacher and your learning style. Both books have funny vocabulary words you think you will never use, yet both books also follow the HSK word list levels, so eventually you are pretty much getting the same words, just in a different style. Boya with a bad teacher might be awful (I don't know, just guessing??), while any teacher that can follow a book and say 'turn the page and do this exercise' could get you through NPCR.

I hope that might help someone in the future.

And if anyone knows a fabulous speaking/listening book (besides Spoken Chinese) please do share :)

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