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Review of 'Beginner's Chinese'


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This is a review of the book Beginner’s Chinese by Yajun Zhang.  It was provided as part of a free giveaway from Sinolingua and coordinated with Chinese-forums.com.  Thanks to Chinese-forums.com and Sinolingua for making these fine publications available and offering them for review.


Beginner’s Chinese is a 8”x11” 172-page basic Chinese language course accompanied by a CD with mp3 recordings for each lesson. 


The course has 20 lessons and introduces 260 words and 80 grammatical structures.  Each lesson is about 8 pages long and includes a Vocabulary list, a conversation and various activities, such as dialogues, or fill-in-the-blanks; the activities varying as you progress through the later lessons.  There is also a “word bank”, a list of useful expressions. The exercises give the student a chance to practise the vocabulary and grammar.  Writing practise comes in the form of a stroke-by-stroke build of the vocabulary words.


My experience: I completed the first 3 lessons.  At first I was confused by what to do, but I when I listened to the recording I was able to navigate the various exercises with little difficulty.  After this the 2nd lesson and 3rd lessons went smoothly.  The activities were easy to complete.  I did some additional writing on my own to make sure I was writing the characters correctly.


Possible improvements.  A descriptive page describing how to proceed with each lesson would be helpful as the recording for each lesson does not proceed in sequential order.  This would eliminate any confusion that could arise.  Also, more exercises would be helpful to put into practise new concepts and to consolidate learning.


Conclusion:  Basic Chinese provides instruction for beginners with a comprehensive list of vocabulary. A bit brief though, it gives the student a rapid means of progressing through the course. So it would especially appeal to the beginning student who is on a deadline.

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