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Practical Audio Visual Chinese 3rd Edition?


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Those of you who've learned Chinese in Taiwan or in a school teaching with traditional characters certainly know PAVC, a well done materials (even if some sentences can be really far-fetched) edited by Taipei's 師大國語教學中心。

Few days ago I had the surprise to find a totally new version ("3rd" version is not mentioned on the covers) of the 1st and the 2nd book. I've quickly looked inside and found out that:

  • They follow the same pattern as the previous editions

  • All the texts, words, example has been changed

  • The overall difficulty seems to be increased, I've spotted a lesson dealing with "Visa" in the 1st book

  • The exercice book is MUCH (three folds at least) more thicker with therefore, a lot more exercice by lesson

  • The big change here is that they included a simplified chinese version of the main text (called "簡體文化")

There is still no mention of it on the official website but for those of you who are interested in, each books cost about +-800$tw (+-173cny).

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Seems not. Both books are used parallelly at Shida now. As I understand, this one is supposed to be more focused towards everyday vocabulary (PAVC is hardly "practical" in anything but the name, at least in the beginning), but it will not take you to the higher levels: according to the Shida class list, the second volume ends at level 4, and after that you still need to switch to PAVC book 4 or 5.

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  • 1 year later...

Actually, Practical Chinese Reading and Writing are the books used by 華僑 who may have a decent command of the spoken language but who need to bring their reading and writing skills up to speed. Same level of material, different target audience. PAVC (and in some cases Far East Everyday Chinese) are still the standard otherwise.

Speaking of Far East, I’m finding it a really good supplement for my PAVC classes at Shida. Similar level of material, but different vocab and some different grammar. Very useful, too. The first book apparently starts out with “多少錢?” rather than “你好,我叫…”, which is very useful for people who just want to be able to get around in daily life here in Taiwan. Also, Far East Book 3 is, as I understand it, usually taken before (or even in place of) PAVC Book 5. I’ve heard Book 5 sucks, and that most people don’t take it. Apparently some 用功 people don’t even take a Level 5 class because after Book 4 they‘re ready for Newspaper I.

Here's what I've been able to find out about the course progression at Shida. This is all just based on conversations I've had with my teacher and students who are either currently in higher-level classes (Level 6 and up), or who have taken classes at Shida to a high level before. But my understanding is that the standard progression is this:

Level 1: PAVC 1

Level 2: PAVC 2

Level 3: PAVC 3

Level 4: PAVC 4

Level 5(a): Far East 3 (usually, but some students can "test out")

Level 5(b): PAVC 5 (rarely done)

I believe Far East 3 has a strong focus on the differences between written and spoken Chinese. Far East 2 Part B already is a bit like this, even in the earlier chapters.

In Level 4, you can take "Taiwan Today" (which is supposed to be excellent) instead of PAVC Book 4, but I think most people stick with the standard PAVC track. At Level 5 some people take "Mini Radio Plays" or "Practical Business Conversation I" instead of Far East 3, usually people who want to focus on speaking and listening skills or business Chinese, respectively.

After this point, you have a bit more freedom, but of course it depends on what's being offered. If enough people (four I believe) request a class, it will be offered, but otherwise it won't be. I believe most people take "Learning Chinese with Newspaper I" for Level 6, though some take "Practical Business Conversation II" or "Listening Practice (Intermediate-Advanced). Level 7 is usually "Learning Chinese with Newspaper II", but many people take "Thought and Society" (would-be academics in the humanities), "News and Views" or "Selected Financial News".

Levels 8 and 9 are rarely taken; in fact this term there was no Level 9 course offered, and it doesn't look like there will be next term either. This term they offered "Selected Articles from Various Journals" for Level 8, and I believe the same course is offered next term. The only Level 9 course they ever offer for modern Chinese is Taiwan TV News Broadcast.

On the Classical Chinese side of things, good freaking luck. They list quite a few classes (all are Level 7-9 with the exception of a Level 5 course called "Junior High School Chinese Reader"), but it appears there isn't enough student interest for them to actually offer the courses regularly. Last term only Romance of the Three Kingdoms 三國演義, which is Level 8, was offered. Next term it's "Senior High School Chinese Reader", which is Level 7. Hopefully I can round up enough interested students by next year when I want to start 文言文 courses that they'll actually be able offer some. If I can find just 4 students who want to learn Classical, we can all request the same course so we'll be sure to get it. I have to say, I'd prefer 古代漢語 (which I believe uses 王力's book of the same name) or 四書讀本 over the school readers, but I'll take what I can get. Maybe I can swing some students my way :twisted: . Of course, I'd like to take 古文觀止 before I leave, but I may have to do that in private lessons.

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was wondering if you meant that 1) not enough students enroll for the advanced level classes at Shida (levels 7 - 9) or 2) not enough students at the advanced level are interested in chinese literature courses hence the limited course offerings

also, what's the general class size at the advanced levels? And how much practical chinese writing (essays, etc) is taught?

thanks for sharing about the courses and how they are conducted at Shida which is helpful.

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I'm not sure what you mean by Chinese literature. Are you talking about Classical or modern? You have a better chance of taking a modern literature course, I'd think, since there seem to be so few Classical courses offered each term. Either way, I just don't think many students stick around that long. Most people seem to be here either on a year abroad during a major in Chinese studies - in which case they start around Level 3 or 4 and finish around Level 6 or 7 - or they come in at a fairly low level and leave after they finish PAVC Book 4 or so. In fact, many of the people I've talked to have no idea that there's anything other than PAVC offered. They think that once you've finished the PAVC books, you're "fluent" (or maybe just "fluent enough"), and thus "finished". You only stick around if you have time left on your study abroad year or if you're a glutton for punishment like me :mrgreen: .

There is a writing course at Level 6, but I think that's it. The other advanced courses may include writing, but I don't know. I believe even ICLP only offers one writing course, though at either school I'm sure you could take private instruction and focus on writing that way.

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doesn't Shida use "Chinese A (advanced) Plus 1 & 2 " for students at the advanced level or are the textbooks out of print/discontinued?

thanks for the clarification about classical vs chinese literature...I'm more inclined to the chinese literature modern and old (novels or plays, not poetry) though reading at that level can be time consuming, and tons of new vocabulary if it's not a graded reader.

sounds like taking the advanced level classes may be a problem if not enough students enroll.

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It seems like there are always advanced classes offered, they're just pretty limited. I believe Newspaper 2, Thought and Society, and Selected Articles from Various Journals are the main courses for Modern Chinese at Level 7 and 8. But by that point you'd know everyone in your level since you would likely have been in class with them before, and so you could talk to people about all registering for the same class.

I'd imagine there are more advanced classes offered in the Spring term, since by that point most people at the school will have been there for a few terms already (so the people who came in at Level 5, 6, or 7 would now be at 7, 8, and 9). But I'm not sure. I'd also think there would be more advanced classes in the summer, when grad students come to polish their language skills. Many of them will be at ICLP, but the more frugal/less well-funded would be at MTC. :mrgreen:

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