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New Practical Chinese Reader - good books!


klortho
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For anyone who is thinking of buying these, I recommend them (the first two volumes, anyway). They are a major improvement over the old "Practical Chinese Reader".

One of the things I was excited to discover about these books is that they have a strong focus on teaching how to write characters. They include the names of a lot of character components, which I have not been able to find elsewhere.

Also, they move away from dependence on pinyin fairly quickly -- which is a good thing. The second volume doesn't use pinyin in any of the dialogs and texts, but still does include tone marks above each character.

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I think you talked about the following books:

New Practical Chinese Reader Textbook (1)

http://shop.aaawww.net/mod8/detail.php?gid=318134&userid=7912&catid=493986

New Practical Chinese Reader Textbook (2)

http://shop.aaawww.net/mod8/detail.php?gid=318177&userid=7912&catid=493986

New Practical Chinese Reader Textbook (3)

http://shop.aaawww.net/mod8/detail.php?gid=318189&userid=7912&catid=493986

New Practical Chinese Reader Textbook (4)

http://shop.aaawww.net/mod8/detail.php?gid=318196&userid=7912&catid=493986

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I have just bought them and you are right... they seem excellent... just started the first one and its straight into the characters and reading of them but still has the pinyin at this stage... I also like the way it explains every thing so clearly... they also use a more functional approach... so far thumbs up from me...

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  • 2 weeks later...

"I went through the "old" DeFrancis Practical Chinese Readers. It was over 20 years ago so I assume that they are the "old" ones..."

Never mind. Thanks for catching this.

The titles are so similar. Yes. The New Practical Chinese Readers May have nothing to do with DeFrancis' "Chinese Reader" series.

Is this it here, with prices on the order of US$15-$30 in the US?

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/se...804444-8513423

Venture160, are you referring to DeFrancis as not being too wonderful? I'm not sure. I thought they were quite good after getting through all five volumes (through the Advanced volume where it finally gets to both simplified and traditional forms--what a complication for learning a language!). DeFrancis makes for a great laborous start but of course, no matter what you do, you'll need to supplement texts with a lot of other exercises.

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I went through the "old" DeFrancis Practical Chinese Readers. It was over 20 years ago so I assume that they are the "old" ones.
I know the old Practical Chinese Readers Series (published by Commercial Press) but it has nothing to do with DeFrancis. Are they not different things altogether?
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hey, I too have used these new books at my school back in the states, while they are great for a first year student studying on his/her own, I would not reccomend them for serious study, the vocabulary is limited, and often times not too practical, I would look to Princetons, Cheng and Tsuis, or Integrated Chiense for second year learning.

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  • 1 month later...

I am on the volume 2 of the New Practical Chinese Reader. It's the best Chinese textbook I used. It has traditional characters as well, starting from vol. 2. Oops, I have to go, will edit or add my comments later.

--

I find the text very good, although a litlle bit slow-going. The audio is good - fast and slow, I wish they split the audio files lessons into dialogues. On the computer I can fast forward but not on my MP3 player.

The character part is pretty thorough.

--

I am planning to brave it and go through most of the texts - there are 6 volumes altogether.

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  • 1 year later...

I like them as well (especially if used on conjuction with a good grammar book) although I was pretty disappointed that book five is all Chinese.

I realize at some point one must switch to learning completely in Chinese but IMO since they are geared for English speakers many of the subtle nuances in translation are much more easily explained in English. In my opinion at the upper intermediate level it's simply more efficient and comprehensive to explain the more advanced sentence structures and idioms in the learner's native language.

Of course that's just from a self-learner's point of view.

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  • 5 months later...

I have completed volume 3 now. (It wasn't the only text I used, so it was a slow progress).

I haven't used the workbook, found it useless without a teacher's help and no answers provided.

Agree that the authors should explain a bit more subtleties of Chinese grammar and expressions are not always explained well. I'd say for about 10% or less I had to ask native speakers to explain, couldn't figure out on my own using the textbook itself or other grammar references. Translation into English of all dialogues/texts might be useful.

I am considering moving to volume 4 because I got used to the style and the pace but it's becoming similar to other advanced readers at this stage, more focused on self-learning. Each volume increases the difficulty, so I am yet to see if I am up fro the new challenge. I will only need the main textbook and the audio, no workbook.

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Do yourself a favor as you start on volume 4 and begin getting familiar with the grammatical terminology / index in the back of the book.

I just started volume 5 about 3 weeks ago and have been moving quite slowly. There are a TON of new vocabulary items and characters and with the exception of a one or two word definition in English, the rest of the book is in Chinese only.

At this point I'm basically learning how to read grammatical explanations of Chinese in Chinese. You'll definitely need a bit of outside help for some of this (or at least I have). I'd also invest in a good dictionary (I just recently bought the HSK 8000. Definitely a good investment).

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Thanks for the advice. I understand the grammar explained in Chinese only starts from volume 5? Yes, I am learning some terms, recently I started translating all Chinese texts appearing in the book, which is meant for teachers (not the preface).

I use ABC dictionary in Wenlin and other paper or electronic dictionaries, always on the lookout for more.

Did you enjoy volume 4, Kdavid?

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Volume 4 was great. Lots of very practical vocabulary and grammar patterns / structures.

The end of volume 4 also quotes that you know about 2400 words and over 1200 characters. Volume 4 doesn't have this type of summar at the end, however, I imagine after I finish volume 5 I should be around 3000 (at least) words and 1500+ characters.

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I'm currently, technically, using NPCR Book 2, but I find that the vocab doesn't match what I want to be using in the situations I'm currently in, so I've kinda stopped using it so much. As soon as I can get a new PDA, I'll be happy. But they don't sell any in 青岛 :(.

I also find that the grammer explanations aren't as good as perhaps they could be, and that I often need to look something up in another book, or ask my girlfriend. However, the way they explain writing the characters is wonderful, as is the fact that they provide the names of the parts. Providing basic characters which are then combined to make up more complex characters is also nice, as you can then try and associate the meanings of the individual characters with the meaning of the character as a whole.

But yeah. I could also really, really, really do with the audio. I'm not sure if it comes on CD or not, or if I could even get it in 青岛, so if someone has the audio as MP3 files and is willing to help me out, I'd like a PM... (or an edit of this post if I shouldn't be asking for this).

- ipsi

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Volume 4 was great. Lots of very practical vocabulary and grammar patterns / structures.

The end of volume 4 also quotes that you know about 2400 words and over 1200 characters. Volume 4 doesn't have this type of summar at the end, however, I imagine after I finish volume 5 I should be around 3000 (at least) words and 1500+ characters.

Great, after some revisions, I'll move to volume 4.

I think you meant Volume 5 doesn't have a summary?

I am changing my Chinese school and they will be using NPCR as their main text (end of volume 2). I don't mind some more thorough revisions, I want to become really fluent using this vocab.

-------

ipsi(), there are topics about PDA's, Pocket PC's, I posted there too - I found it useful in learning Chinese, I actually write more in Chinese now, since I use PenPower input.

Chinese characters won't be explained thoroughly starting from volume 3.

As for the vocabulary, I think NPCR's words are quite useful. Yes, you need the audio but since you live in China and have a Chinese girlfriend, it's not so critical.

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I think you meant Volume 5 doesn't have a summary?

Right, sorry.

Yes, you need the audio but since you live in China and have a Chinese girlfriend, it's not so critical.

I generally have my girlfriend or tutor read the text while I listen. I ask them to read at a normal (faster) pace.

I've never bought the CDs (which are purchased seperately), but would like to hear from anyone who has and their thoughts.

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The CD's are good and very worth buying, IMHO.

The first 2 volumes have 2 paces for each text - slow and natural. One downside - they put the whole lesson on one track, not so good (for some CD players) if you just want to listen a particular dialogue but there are of course workarounds. I wish the reading was a bit slower in volume 3 but it sounds very natural and clear.

You can tell the number of characters introduced by the list at the end of each volume. I use it a lot. There are links on this forums with audio and video from volume 1 to 3! Very good quality. Let me know if you can't find it.

Actually, here it is, enjoy :wink: :

http://unclp.org/oneword/xin1/1-1.htm

They are not the same actors as in the original CD's.

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in a way i do agree NPCR is a good book. but there is a lot need to be done to be perfect and to be more practical. i dont know you guys how to handle in book 1 lesson 7-14 almost 40 characters in each lessons. and how you guys are able to read the text without pinyin. though NPCR has a lot improve than the old one, the conversation in each lesson, in my point of view as a chinese, is not quite practical and very text-book.

th audio cd helps a lot. but dont know where i can download it.

except the characters make me feel too much pressure in teaching, i find this book fairly good.

if you have a good instructor who can help you develop more coversation topics based on the textbook, it will surely boost your speaking skills.

good luck.

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Xiovn, you need to learn how to cope with Chinese characters and how much you want to learn them (passively - recognition only; actively - being able to write from memory) but I disagree that characters in the text are not practical. :) The accompanying CD's are sold in the bookshops or in online stores.

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