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Advice needed for Self Study Textbook - Guoyu


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Hello - this is my first post on this forum :)

I will be moving to Taiwan this fall and plan to start seriously self-studying mandarin next month. I would like some recommendations on textbooks I can use for self-study.

This textbook would be supplemental to a lot of different material but I do need some structure in my studies because I can tend to veer off too much into things that interest me while ignoring more practical basics. Additionally, I would like to follow a textbook to have some idea of what is expected for levels in whatever standards they use in case I want to attend a Taiwanese university Mandarin language program in the future.

I will be visiting both Taiwan and America in the next few months so I have lots of opportunities to review and buy materials, but just need the suggestions. It seems like Practical Audio-Visual Chinese (PAVC) and Far East Everyday Chinese are recommended on this forum, but any other ideas are welcome.

Thank you!

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There's lots of good stuff out there... so it would help if you were more specific about your needs, prefered methods, etc.

For myself, I started out with Julian Wheatley's pinyin textbook. It's easy to work through yet rich with cultural and colloquial content. You can get large sections of an older version for free on MITs OCW website, but I'd recommend the print version.

After that, I used Duanduan Li's Primer for Advanced Beginners (Columbia Uni Press). I'd recommend the traditional character version if you're heading to Taiwan. This primer was what got me over the beginner's hurdle of decoding and start actually reading.

good luck! 加油

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We also used Duanduan Li's Primer for Advanced Beginners (traditional characters version) in a class I took in the USA. Great book. Another one I highly recommend is Taiwan Today. It's written by Professor Shou-hsin Teng who previously served as the director of ICLP (then IUP). However, it's not a beginner book. We used it in our 2nd semester of 2nd year so it's right at the end of the intermediate level. I would say that the grammar points in that book covers the majority of what you need to know to articulate your thoughts in speech and writing.

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Thank you both for your help. I will look into these suggestions.

I am planning on using podcasts and already have a few tutors set up, and am considering a Skritter account. But I guess I would need a textbook to provide more structure, and to help with more grammar and reading comprehension and vocab ideas. Although I'm sure I'll learn vocab from the podcasts too.

Thanks again, especially if you have any more book suggestions :)

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PAVC and Far East are both good. Every program in Taiwan that I know of, including ICLP, uses one or the other, if not both. I would tend to recommend PAVC over Far East, but Far East is good in that it includes some info on written-style Chinese. That's nothing you can't get from other sources, of course, and in that respect I would say Taiwan Today is much better once you're ready for it (it's somewhere around the level of PAVC 3-4, and IMO is a great complement to those books).

I'd recommend going to the Lucky Bookstore on Heping East Road (大安區和平東路一段182-3號 is the address if you need it) near 師大. It's on the second floor, and they have a ton of textbooks and other stuff for learners. They have a bunch of other stuff too (it's the bookstore for the university) but the language material is placed very obviously so you'll have no problem finding it.

As far as levels at programs in Taiwan, I know that at MTC where I study, levels 1-4 correspond to PAVC Books 1-4. In the placement test you have a short conversation with a teacher, and then a computer-based test. The test, if I remember correctly, is reading comprehension only. It may have had listening comprehension, but I'm not sure.

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  • 1 month later...

@ Meng Lelan

I own PAVC level 1 + 2, but in my opinion the lesson topics are mostly around student life, which makes the material quite boring. In the other hand the presentation of grammar patterns is very good.

I like "Taiwan Today" very much. It covers a lot of interesting cultural aspects together with useful patterns.

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