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'pyramid' learning grammar methodology


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has anyone seen any textbook or other material that uses a pyramid (or better a triangle) to help students build more and more complex sentences, and that can also be used as a reference.

better with an example:








etc.etc...(by the way...I am sure some of my sentences there are not correct, so don't use them as a real example)...it is exactly because I am not sure, that i think such a method would be useful.

Additionally, one or two sentences of grammar explanation per 'new line' would suffice.

what do you think? useful

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"我和那个你昨天看到的我的朋友在北京一起工作两年了。" can be changed to ”我和你昨天看到的我的那个朋友在北京一起工作两年了。"

"我和那个你昨天看到的穿红色衣服的朋友在北京一起工作了。” can be changed to “我和你昨天看到的那个穿红色衣服的朋友一起在北京工作。”

The rest of sentences is all right.Your method is very good ,thanks.

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The original edition of Routledge's Colloquial Chinese course (by T'ung & Pollard, not Kan Qian) has two such expansion drills in each lesson (certainly, its earlier lessons). It may not always be in print nowadays (there are occasional reprints), but a preview is available on Google Books:


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thanks for your reply..

yes, the Colloquial Chinese has something quite close, but I also saw the first four lessons.

I am thinking to actually working on this as a project, if there is nothing suitable in the market already.

The way I am thinking is that start from a full, long sentence from anywhere (news website, movie scripts, whatever) and work the way to shorter and shorter sentences and just write them in reverse order, from simpler to more complex. this way, I believe is easier than starting from 我喝茶 and try to come up with new words to add...also because adding complexity clash with the limits of our (my) knowledge. The whole thing will be double checked by a native Chinese friend, who can help write down one or two simple grammar points for each incremental line.

do you think this is some kind of project that can be done on a cooperative basis with many of the forum members..if each of us could contribute a few sentences, or only one, or whatever, I think we can build up an interesting database quickly.

Instead of trying to plan what grammar point or syntax each contribution should cover, I think I would just trust the random nature of having unrelated contribution coming from different people, reading different material, etc...probably a large universe could be covered.

I also think, it would be a great practise exercise for each of during this process.

what do you all think? any interest?

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Whilst it might be fun and enjoyable (i.e. intellectually stimulating) to start such a project, I'm not sure that it would really have an end, and one "danger" might be that it could turn into an improvisatory type of parlour game (with the goal of being wildly inventive and atypical rather than boringly uninventive, sensible and typical); then, surely one could get a good idea of "what to say" or "what people say" from the study of collocations. (I'm more familiar with collocations and general phraseology in English than Chinese per se, but a good place to start might be something like the bilingualized edition of the Oxford Collocations Dictionary (牛津英语搭配词典(英汉双解版)) - see Amazon.cn). Or one could just simply study exisiting courses like the aforementioned Colloquial Chinese to get an idea (and IMHO a reasonably good enough one) of how the general principles and bits and pieces of grammar (negation, modification etc) work in the language.

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