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Can you help me choose a textbook for spoken Chinese?


fabiothebest

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I decided to do some online classes for improving my spoken Chinese and my teacher asked me to have a look at 3 textbooks to find the one that could be suitable for me.

The 3 textbooks are:

  • New Concept Chinese 3 by Beijing Language and Culture University Press
  • Developing Chinese 2nd edition Intermediate Speaking course (I) by Beijing Language and Culture University Press
  • New Target Chinese Spoken Language by Beijing Language and Culture University Press

 

Have you tried any of these and if so, do you have any to recommend and why?

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On 10/27/2022 at 10:28 AM, xuefang said:

Chinese names

新概念汉语 New Concept Chinese 3

发展汉语中级口语1 Developing Chinese Intermediate Speaking Course (I) Second edition

新目标汉语口语课本3 New Target Chinese Spoken Language

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Hmm my first impression is that 新目标汉语口语课本3 New Target Chinese Spoken Language is nice and it contains pinyin. The other 2 instead are written with Chinese characters only, so they could be harder to use for me, but they would force me to recognise Chinese characters. The organisation of the sections and length of lessons are slightly different. I think that for "spoken Chinese" pinyin can be rather useful. I also want to improve how to read, all books contain Chinese characters too anyway. Maybe Developing Chinese is the most famous textbook among these 3, I already heard about it on this forum and other websites, but maybe New Target Chinese Spoken Language could be better for me to start. I still take some time to decide. If you have any opinion let me know.

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新目标汉语口语课本3 New Target Chinese Spoken Language

  • This series I have as pdf books and have used these with some students
  • Great book for spoken Chinese lessons, also includes PPTs for teachers to use in class
  • Dialogues have characters and pinyin together, but PPT has a version only for characters
  • Characters in the book are young adults, so topics suitable especially for those, but most of them are general topics useful for everyone

新概念汉语 New Concept Chinese 3

  • I only have book 2, so can't judge if book 3 is different, but book 2 looks ok

发展汉语中级口语 Developing Chinese Intermediate Speaking Course

  • I only have books for 初级, most content character only, not as fun looking as the two others, more traditional textbook style

 

If you already have some foundation with Chinese characters, it would be ok to choose a book where dialogues etc are only in characters. If foundation isn't that strong, then you can choose the one with pinyin. In general I don't think you can go wrong with these, pick the one that you enjoy the most and like the topics. 

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My choice is New Concept Chinese. The reasoning goes like this. Any series that goes to six volumes will stop depending on pinyin at either volume 3 or 4, so you will have to go along with that no matter which one you choose.

 

But the reason that New Concept Chinese is head and shoulders above any other textbook in this class is that volumes 5 and 6 are based on a very well known TV program called something like "Dream of China". The books come with the rights to downloadable audio and video of about 20 of the programs.

 

Each lesson in volumes 5 and 6 highlights one program, and features that program with a text and audio providing the specialized vocabulary needed to understand the subject matter in that particular program. Then there's a manageable video segment from the actual program itself with subtitles for the faint of heart. This is one of the easiest and least painful introductions to watching and understanding real TV that I've ever seen. Volumes 3 and 4 should  almost painlessly bring you up to where you are able to make good use of volumes 5 and 6.

 

This is my particular favorite since I ran across it about a year ago. It really is a manageable introduction to what seems to on the "gotta do" list of nearly everyone on this forum.

 

Just my two lira, but...

 

TBZ

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Thanks everyone. All 3 books seem fine, "New Target Chinese Spoken Language" is the one that I was liking the most from what I saw, but I also like the layout of "New Concept Chinese", I didn't know that that one starts with pinyin in the first books. I just had a call with the teacher for assessing my level and he proposed me to start with book number 3  of whatever book I choose among these three, since I'm not a beginner. Now I'm curious to check the tv program "Dream of China", thanks for mentioning it. I already started watching tv programs, tv series and movies, I think they are useful together with books for reaching fluency. The fact that New Concept Chinese is based on a tv program that is available to watch could be a plus, I didn't know it.

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On 10/27/2022 at 6:15 AM, TheBigZaboon said:

But the reason that New Concept Chinese is head and shoulders above any other textbook in this class is that volumes 5 and 6 are based on a very well known TV program called something like "Dream of China".

 

Is it this TV show? 中国梦想秀. Pretty sure I watched that sometimes when I lived on the Mainland. Seems like an excellent idea to base a textbook on a popular TV show, even though that one would not have been my first choice. Lots of tearful family reunions. Nonetheless, such a textbook focus should lead to inclusion of useful, "real-life" vocabulary. 

https://baike.baidu.com/item/中国梦想秀/8944302?fr=aladdin 

 

 

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@abcdefg Yes, that's the one... What impressed me was how simple the authors made access to the program for intermediate level learners. There are lots of Chinese textbooks based on TV programs, but this one is really well done. I'll try to write more when I have time, but maybe I might be accused of hijacking the thread from someone else.

 

TBZ

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Messed up, can't correct. Will try again later. Video is smallest of the lot, but still too big to attach. Videos probably average 3 to 6 minutes long. Will have to think of something else, like maybe attaching only the audio from the video, and letting you imagine the video and subtitles...

 

TBZ

Edited by TheBigZaboon
I'm not very smart...
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Another try...

 

I'm not going to go into elaborate explanations, I'll just try to post some page spreads and some audio instead.

 

Each chapter is 4 pages long, starting with a mini essay introducing the subject matter and vocabulary needed for understanding the video clip. Everything, including any example sentences, has audio. Each chapter has a nice little segment with the introductory phrase for each sentence in the little essay to encourage and aid in memorizing the essay. Every fourth chapter has another mini essay as a reading task, instead of a video. That means about 16 videos per volume, or about 32 for the set. Videos run, on an average, about four minutes. 

 

All in all, a nice, easy introduction to an average TV program, no different from those found anywhere else.

 

TBZ

 

 

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In the previous post, I uploaded the audio from the first video, even though I uploaded a different chapter for your perusal. Here, I'll try to upload a few audio files. File size determines what I can upload. The two files attached belong to chapter one. Previously I uploaded the audio from the video for chapter one. Here, I've uploaded the mini essay audio and an example sentence segment for the video in the previous post (i.e., chapter one).

 

TBZ

 

 

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TBZ -- You should put this material in a new thread. Years from now nobody will be able to find it under "Help me choose a textbook." One of the mods can help you do it if you message them. 

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On 10/27/2022 at 10:15 PM, TheBigZaboon said:

But the reason that New Concept Chinese is head and shoulders above any other textbook in this class is that volumes 5 and 6 are based on a very well known TV program called something like "Dream of China". The books come with the rights to downloadable audio and video of about 20 of the programs.

 

I think this has been mentioned in this forum before, but there is a (3?) book textbook series called "A multi-skil Chinese Course" 《汉语视听说教程》that is based on the popular 2000's family sitcom called《家有儿女》。Was a little too tough for me when I found it a while back, but now seems like a good time to revisit it

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@malazannI know the series you're talking about, and I agree, it can be tough going. However, it's self-contained, not the culmination of a set of texts.  But this series is designed to be the accumulation of a beginning, intermediate, and advanced course, with the final two volumes based on a far simpler TV show. It should be much more accessible to ordinary students who can get past the first four volumes.

 

TBZ

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Everybody will have an opinion on the level, and mine is based on my experience and history with trying to follow real native content.  I've got tons of stuff on my shelves with travel programs, specially made videos and narration aimed at language students, tightly formulated texts based on dramas or dating game-style programs, etc., ad nauseam. But this series is far and away the best progression from beginner to intermediate/advanced level in one integrated package that I've ever seen. Remember, there's six volumes in the set.

 

There's also a possibility that without the video, it may seem harder than it might seem with the video. In my opinion, the video actually makes it easier to follow, given the introductory essay and the subtitles available in the video, as there are on many Chinese programs. In any case, ya gotta start somewhere...

 

Just my opinion based on my experience... Others will certainly differ based on theirs...

 

TBZ

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