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Mandarin Chinese Resources

  Tags: Resources | Mandarin
 Language Learning Forum : Language Programs, Books & Tapes Post Reply
21 messages over 3 pages: 1 2

Joined 6105 days ago

1598 posts - 2174 votes 
Speaks: English*, Italian
Studies: Mandarin, Malay
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 Message 17 of 21
29 December 2013 at 4:09pm | IP Logged 
lorinth wrote:
Recently I heard about the John DeFrancis Mandarin course and that sounded really
promising, especially since all of the audio is available online.

I happen to own a copy (given by someone who stopped studying Chinese) of the first two books of the
series. I haven't used them a lot yet because I've been focussing on simplified characters. However they are
very good books. You may like the series if you take relish in lots and lots of repetitive drills. You may think
that the books look outdated because the language seems (just my impression) slightly antiquated, plus the
physical layout is very bare: no fancy illustrations or photographs, no colours, just (beautifully written)
characters, characters and more characters. Though I'm aware that there is an audio version and that it's
available somewhere online, my impression is that the book is definitely character-centric, i.e. it is telling that
each lesson starts with a list of characters to learn (plus a few words using those characters), then there's a
dialogue using the new vocab, and then drills and more drills.

I don't think you are describing the DeFrancis course accurately. There are two series of books. One series is
all in pinyin with dialogs and drills with audio. The other series are readings using traditional characters with
accompagnying audio. Each series has 3 volumes, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. There are also
character versions of the pinyin course but these were designed for instructors. It looks like a terrific course.
Right now, it is sitting on my shelf waiting for me to get to it.

Edited by newyorkeric on 29 December 2013 at 4:12pm

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United States
Joined 4389 days ago

56 posts - 106 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Italian, French

 Message 18 of 21
29 December 2013 at 9:05pm | IP Logged 
Yes, that's right, Eric. I think the pinyin textbooks are less well know than the readers.

Laurent, I actually really do like textbooks that are not flashy, but like you say are simple, straightforward with
lots of drills.

I recently bought a copy of the pinyin beginner textbook because I thought it would be easier to have my own
copy than renting from the library. I also found cheap copies of the beginning readers and am waiting for those
to arrive in the mail. Haven't started the course yet, but I really like how comprehensive it seems. I like to have
one central course that I can rely on to take me all the way to B1/B2 and this seems to fit the bill, especially if it is
supplemented with native material and other resources.

Anyhow, I'll be starting a language log this January and hopefully it will be helpful for anyone who is thinking
about using the DeFrancis course in the future. I'll post the link here when I start it.

Edited by nj24 on 29 December 2013 at 10:07pm

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Senior Member
Joined 4000 days ago

443 posts - 581 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish, Latin
Studies: Mandarin, Finnish

 Message 19 of 21
30 December 2013 at 11:05am | IP Logged 
There are two series of books. One series is
all in pinyin with dialogs and drills with audio.

I stand corrected, thanks newyorkeric.
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Joined 4127 days ago

51 posts - 82 votes 
Speaks: Finnish*, English
Studies: Japanese, Italian

 Message 20 of 21
30 December 2013 at 12:16pm | IP Logged 
I'd also like to tackle Chinese after finishing my formal Japanese studies. However what I'm looking for is a resource for learning to speak Chinese properly. I feel that this is a part of the language that I will need assistance with, and that I can tackle grammar and vocab the way I have done it with Japanese, by not using any official courses or other expensive material to do so.

Does anyone know a learning resource that focuses on pronunciation and such aspects?
1 person has voted this message useful

United States
Joined 4337 days ago

7 posts - 7 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese

 Message 21 of 21
11 January 2014 at 7:02am | IP Logged 
What's the general consensus on LiveMocha for Mandarin? I always liked the peer review
system of it but I know there's been some issues with some things being incorrect back
when I used it for Swedish, mainly with vocabulary being wrong or really odd choices for
some words that were only correct in unique, rare circumstances.

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