* Standard Chinese
|Reviews of Standard Chinese: A modular approach, by the Defense Language Learning
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Very complete program with nine modules with each module having between 9 to 22 cassettes, plus several optional modules on specific topic (like restaurant, marriage,...). Each module has a workbook and a student book. This method is pretty old (published between 1979 and 1983) : the presentation very austere (no pictures, stitched Xerox copies), and the recording of the tapes very poor. It is however very complete and you can really use it by yourself without the help of somebody else. Don’t forget that it was done to be used by US military personnel going to Taiwan, so it is done to be efficient. The other advantage that no other method has is that it goes very deep in the language. It doesn't stop at an intermediary level, letting you in the blue. Pimsleur is probably better for the beginners as Standard Chinese doesn't focus on small talk what can be frustrating. Standard Chinese can however, with its numerous drill tapes, let you master much more complex structures than Pimsleur and gives you grammatical explanation that are really helpful.
The situations proposed in this program are quite unusual. In one unit, for instance, you are an American military attaché at a cocktail at the American Embassy in Beijing. You are supposed to begin a conversation with a Chinese military officer. Much better than the typical Waiter, there is a fly in my soup type of phrase.
There is nothing about the Chinese characters. It is entirely focused on speaking.
You can find the first module on www.Amazon.com and the second and eight module on other websites. However the only way to buy the whole method is on the www.ntis.gov website. Inside the website, it is not easy to find. You have to go under Products > Products Type > Audiovisual and then search for Standard Chinese, and here it is. You have more than 150 tapes for the total that will cost more than USD 1700. Despite their cheap look, these tapes are worth every cent.
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