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ChristopherB

Why don't more people use John DeFrancis' Chinese Reader series?

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Shelley

I am a firm believer in a character's etymology as one of the best ways for me to remember the character, that with lots and lots of writing. It is an important part of my learning method.

 

If you are interested, have a look at my blog about how I study and what I use. http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/blog/108-my-chinese-learning-blog/

 

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lips

I am a firm believer in a character's etymology as one of the best ways for me to remember the character, that with lots and lots of writing ...

 

... and reading.  Totally agree.  This is how natives learn.

 

BTW, many of the simplfied characters are just how they were written in xingshu 行書 or caoshu 草書, were commonly used in everyday writing, and as old as the official kaishu 楷書.  If you get to read handwritten Chinese, you'd encounter many of these even in Taiwan anf Hong Kong.

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character

Oh and I have Beginning Chinese Reader and would love to use it but its traditional and I feel its too early in my learning to confuse myself with both.

 

DeFrancis created a series of short graded readers in simplified to supplement the main readers (Graded Readers). They aren't as easy to get as the main books, but can be found online, in university libraries, etc.

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laowhiner

McKennon -- I am working through BCR at the moment as well (started December 30th, on Lesson 14 at the moment). I've posted a few basic grammar/translation questions about BCR lessons in this thread, which you may find useful: http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/50675-a-few-basic-questions-regarding-defrancis-beginning-chinese-reader-lessons-89/. 

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Parakeetcactus

Sorry for necroposting. I'm planning my learning journey and I've decided to go with DeFrancis for learning to read. What would be the best way to supplement the reading if I'd like to learn to speak as well? Getting a teacher, language exchange or something? While I love the approach and the philosophy of DeFrancis and this series, it feels like it'll be hard to combine in real life: seeing as reading and speaking is most often taught in parallel. Any ideas?

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889

I couldn't argue more strongly against that approach. Start with speaking and then work into reading.

 

A couple of reasons.

 

Learning to develop sentences in your mind is essential to learning the grammar and structure of Chinese. Reading alone is just too passive, at least initially before you've developed the ability to think in Chinese.

 

Start with reading and you'll lock yourself into bad pronunciations and cadences you'll never be able to.change.

 

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Shelley

While I agree with @889  that if you are only going to learn one thing at a time, speech and tones is a good way to start, I would argue that really you should learn it all together from the start, speaking, listening, writing and reading.

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Parakeetcactus
2 minutes ago, Shelley said:

While I agree with @889  that if you are only going to learn one thing at a time, speech and tones is a good way to start, I would argue that really you should learn it all together from the start, speaking, listening, writing and reading.

 

I'll definitely try to learn it in parallel, and I agree with you! Sorry if my post was a bit unclear.

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889

I didn't mean to suggest that reading should lag speaking to any appreciable degree.

 

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Flickserve
3 hours ago, Parakeetcactus said:

While I love the approach and the philosophy of DeFrancis and this series, it feels like it'll be hard to combine in real life: seeing as reading and speaking is most often taught in parallel. Any ideas?


Do proportionately spend more time developing listening and working on basic pronunciation. If you aren’t able to listen and discern sounds with some accuracy, speaking will be an uphill task - not because of grammar or vocabulary but because the listener will be making great efforts to make sense of the sounds.
 

Bear in mind, these books are there to give you the basic strong foundations to move on to higher level skills. 
 

Reading on its own has the danger of relating wrong sounds to characters. There must be millions of Chinese people who can read English but can’t pronounce it.

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