I purchased a Chinese-English visual dictionary when I was in Hong Kong earlier this year. What a wonderful book! This Chinese dictionary is beautifully designed with pictures and the corresponding simplified Chinese characters, pinyin, and of course English.
My Chinese friend said the book would be “great for kids”. But then she started browsing and discovered a few words even she didn’t know. The book contains over 6000 words and phrases.
I don’t use this Chinese-English dictionary as my primary source of translation (I use an iPhone app for that) but instead leave it on my coffee table and browse it from time to time.
If you are visually oriented like I am, I suggest you pick it up. I paid HK$144.40. The printed price is GBP8.99.
The book is published by Dorling Kindersley. You can buy it at Amazon and other online bookstores.
Although I’ve been devoting my Chinese studies over the past year to learning conversational Mandarin, I would also like to learn to read and write Chinese. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I find remembering Chinese characters challenging, to say the least. I thought I good book that uses memory cues to help me remember might be a good investment. That’s why I bought Learning Chinese Characters, published by Tuttle.
This book describes itself as “a revolutionary new way to learn and remember the 800 most basic Chinese characters.”
The trick is that Learning Chinese Characters uses pictures and stories to speed the learning process and make it easier and more enjoyable.
However, after working through the first four or five chapters, this book’s method was not working for me and I gave it up. Overall I found it a slow path to learning Chinese characters. And the pictures and stories only yielded partial success.
I’ve studied memory techniques before and I have used picture stories to remember things. But in the past I always created my own stories. Using the pre-made stories in the book didn’t register with me.
But I’m not saying that you won’t find this book helpful. In fact, I think it might work well for some people. And I learned a few things too. For example, I will never forgot the image of the person’s arms spread wide to symbolize “da” (big) or the octopus associated with “ba” (eight).
Maybe I’ll take another look at this book in future. For now, I’m back to focusing on conversation.
When I started studying Chinese more than a year ago my tutor suggested we use the “China Panorama” series of textbooks, even though I had already purchased Integrated Chinese. Now that I have finished book one and am 100 pages into book 2, I can say with full confidence that I really enjoy this textbook series and am glad I opted for it over Integrated Chinese.
I find it a great base for my studies. The pace is not too fast and too slow. It’s not too difficult and not too easy. And the topics/themes covered are reasonably practical. Overall I find it a friendly course. Better still, I’m making good progress with it — it’s the good results that really make me happy.
If you plan on using this book you will need a tutor or teacher to help you work through it, though. I don’t think you can just pick it up and learn much on your own.
There’s a lot more “meat” in book 2 than in book 1 so it’s going to take me a while to finish it. I hope to be done book 2 and on to book 3 by the end of this year.
China Panorama, Approaching Chinese 2 of consists of 10 lessons, which are divided into three parts. The first two parts introduce new language items and combine them with corresponding practice opportunities. The third part is composed of reviews and exercises from the chapter: new words, pattern drills, comprehensive exercises, and pronunciation drills. You can also learn about Chinese culture in the special section entitled “A Glimpse of Modern Chinese Culture.”
Once you have completed the three volume set of China Panaroma, you will have a command of approximately 1,000 basic words, 200 sentence patterns and 3,000 commonly used sentences. That’s my goal.
When I decided to study Chinese earlier this year, the first thing I did was look for a good textbook. My tutor suggested using China Panorama: Approaching Chinese and I’m glad she did.
China Panorama is a series of three Chinese textbooks prepared by a group of TCFL experts working for The Development Centre for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language under the Ministry of Education in China.
I’m almost finished the first book in the series and will be starting book 2 in a few weeks.
Book 1 is designed for complete beginners and moves at a comfortable, easy pace (but not too easy!).
After completing all 3 books in the series, the publishers say you will know about 1,000 words and 200 sentence patterns.
I study this book with the assistance of my tutor. However, audio and video companions are available for self-learners.
Originally I planned on using the popular Integrated Chinese textbook and workbook, which I purchased from Amazon. But I prefer China Panorama. To me, it seems friendlier. Plus I have found it to be effective. I’m sticking with it.