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Review: Everyday Chinese


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This is a review of the book Everyday Chinese by Zhang Jie, Zhao Wentong, Zhang Pengpeng and Jiang Chunli.  It was provided as part of a free giveaway from Sinolingua and coordinated with Chinese-forums.com.  Thanks and 谢谢 to Chinese-forums.com and Sinolingua for providing is this fine publication.


Everyday Chinese is a boxed multimedia learning kit containing a textbook, a Chinese phonetics poster, a CD with mp3 recordings and a CDROM with a language program.   It is not a basic language course, but is a companion to a language course, providing supplementary learning activities.


The textbook is an 8”x10” 260-page glossy-finished book which presents 10 general topics and a total of 64 subtopics.  For example the topic “Leisure Activities” has 8 subtopics, such as “Sports and Exercises” and “Listening to the Beijing Opera”.   Each topic uses 2 means to teach: Text Learning and Substitution Drills


The Introduction presents the big picture in English and Chinese.  It describes the contents, telling us that it is designed for beginners to practise what they learn in their courses and suitable for self-study and classroom learning.  It also tells how to use the kit, describes the software learning elements, and points out there is no preset order to follow.


post-56514-0-56919300-1408849996_thumb.jpg A 137-word Syntax Index in Pinyin alphabetical order gives detailed information on individual word use, including a description of how to use the word and several examples.


A 1,200-word Vocabulary Index in Pinyin alphabetical order provides a brief summary of over, providing the part of speech, definition and Chinese character.


Each subtopic has 2 components:

·         The Dialog is written in Chinese and Pinyin with an English translation in a box to the side.


post-56514-0-55621900-1408850003_thumb.jpg·         The Substitution Drill consists of various phrases with key words identified.  A list of 4-6 substitute audio words is listed on the side of the page.   You can then repeat the phrase with the new word in place.  For example, with the phrase   ’ hǎo, the key word is ‘ni’ and you could substitute  ‘Zǎoshàng hǎo, ‘zhōngwŭ hǎo’ and ‘Wǎnshàng hǎo’.  As you progress through the book the phrases become longer.





The 24” x 34” glossy Poster displays a Phonetics matrix, with 21 initials and 37 finals.


mp3 CD – the audio recordings for the lessons are at normal speaking speed.  Having previously found learning programs that have speak more slowly for better comprehension, I found that I liked this normal speed approach, and by repeated the recordings, I was able to speed up my reading fairly rapidly.




post-56514-0-22556400-1408850013_thumb.pngThe CDROM contains a flash program that runs in a browser window and is an online version of the textbook contents and lets the users click their way through the textbook with audio.  It contains both the Dialogues and Substitution Drill texts. You can hear the audio for words as you click them and see animations showing the correct stroke order for characters.  No installation is required, I ran it directly from the CDROM and also was able to copy the cd to my hard drive and run it without the CD in the drive.







Conclusion - Everyday Chinese is comprehensive and provides depth to student’s existing language training.   It merits serious consideration by every beginning and intermediate student of the Chinese language.



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