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Help me pick a good book or CD.


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Hi, I registered here a while ago, but never started studying Mandarin because I was finishing French. Now, I am ready to study Mandarin an hour a day.

I am looking for a good beginners program to buy. I want a CD where they say the word in English, then in Mandarin a couple times, then in a sentance.

I have learned French, so I have some experience in studying foriegn languages. I expect Mandarin will be much more difficult to learn. That is why I want to start with the basics and learn them well.

Can anyone recommend a good CD program? My local bookstore has a few different CD's such as "Learn In Your Car Chinese: Mandarin", "Teach Yourself Chinese Complete Course", and "Basic Mandarin Chinese".

What is a good book and CD to start with? My goal is to find a program that will teach me 200 words in a month, and that I will be able to speak the correct way. If I can learn, then I will be willing to buy a more advanced program like Pimsleur.

Thanks for any advice!

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I'd recommend going to http://en.chinabroadcast.cn/ce_chinese/ and go to the Learn Chinese Now section at the bottom. There are a couple of hundred really good beginner lessons you can download and burn to CD, and there are transcripts as well. This course probably beats the pants off of anything in your local bookstore. If you can get your hands on Pimsleur, its also a great starting point. If you use Pimsleur before you learn the Pinyin (writing) system, I think it can be a big advantage because hopefully you won't be trying to match what you hear to english words and english pronunciations. You can just focus on reproducing exactly what you hear, and you won't be thinking about how the word is spelled in Pinyin, which could have a negative affect on the accuracy of your pronunciation.

If you want a good beginner's book, I remember that Chinese the Easy Way by Williams and Wu was one of the best. There are a lot of beginner's books that are really only good for people who maybe just plan on taking a vacation in China and aren't serious about learning the language. The first beginner's Chinese book I bought didn't even have tone markings. The author started by saying that you don't need to use tones to be understood by most Chinese people. So, obviously stay away from this type of book if you want achieve any level of proficiency in the language.


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JohnD, it seems the audio files won't load. The session keeps timing out. Does anyone else have problems playing the audio? Do I need to update my windows media player to 10?

In my searches I found a very basic, very good introduction to a few basic words.


I wish I could find another website like the bbc, with more lessons. They are short, simple, and easy to remember.

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I had one more idea. Does anyone know a store that sells Chinese videos designed for children aged 6, 7 or 8? Since that is how Chinese kids learn words, maybe it is a good way for anyone to learn. It would be a form of immersion learning.

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Yeah the chinabroadcast site definitely has some problems connecting a lot of the time. Keep trying though. You should try chinesepod.com in the meantime.

I downloaded some videos for kids in that age range you mentioned but wanted to shoot myself after a few minutes because the voices in the videos were extremely annoying. But for beginners I would say that it was still much too difficult anyways. I still have never found any chinese tv show that is suitable for someone just starting the language. Even the entertaining children's cartoon 小新 is quite difficult for someone to understand in their first year or 2 of study. Immersion is a good idea, but not that practical with the videos available.


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I strongly recommend you - go to www.chinesepod.com. You should download mp3s and pdf's, use iPod, Walkman, or any mp3 player and LISTENING ALL THE TIME (I do that:)

But for serious and complementary learning I sugest you to buy 'A Key To Chinese Speech and Writing' by Joel Bellassen and Zhang Pengpeng. This book is the best course of chinese I ever met. For every sinogram there is a complementary description - the stroke order, a tradicional variant, a puzzle (radicals that are put togheter to make a new sinogram), and the best and unique thing - THE ORIGIN OF SINOGRAMS - I mean the old ageg view. It really help to understand the mystical of chinese writing.

I've got an mp3s from this book. If anyone want to download - please write :)

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