Books For Learning Mandarin

How to Study
Good LL Teach
Strategies 1
Strategies 2
Some Good LL
Styles 1
Styles 2
Styles 3
Styles 4
Barriers 1
Barriers 2
Motivation 1
Motivation 2
Where to Aim
High Achievers


From elementary to advanced level, from life conversations to business negotiations, from cultural topics to current issues, from dictionaries to books about how to be an effective language learner, all we can suggest for you. 

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Elementary Level

Book 1 <<Conversational Chinese 301>>

By Kang Yuhua & Lai Siping

Published by Beijing Language & Cultural University

This book is among the best choice for intensive course books for foreigners who just started to learn Chinese. This book consists of 40 lessons and 8 reviews. The 40 lessons encompass nearly 30 communicative functions such as "Greetings" and "Making an Acquaintance", about 800 new words and the fundamentals of Chinese grammar. Each lesson is divided into 6 parts:

1.         Sentences

2.         Conversation

3.         Substitution & Extension

4.         New Words

5.         Grammar

6.         Exercise

This book lays emphasis on improving the ability of the learner to use Chinese for communication. It integrates the communicative function with the grammatical structure and presents the most essential and useful part of the language in the linguistic environments one is usually exposed to in daily life. The design of the book enable the learner to master the 301 basic conversational sentences fairly quickly, and on that basis, through substitution and extension practice, to acquire the ability to carry on simple conversations with Chinese. The exercises are varied and plentiful. The reviews give due attention to improving the conversational and narrative skills of the learner, as well as systematically summarizing the grammar points covered. In this way, the book will also help lay a solid foundation for further study.

 Book 2 <<Intensive Spoken Chinese>>

By Chang Peng Peng

Published by Sinolingua

This book has 6 unique features:

1.         There are chosen 40 topics, covering virtually almost all aspects of daily communication, together with more than 1000 commonly used words, and 80 essential aspects of Chinese grammar. All the texts are recorded into CD or cassettes.

2.         Each text centers on a topic useful for daily communication. The functional approach is reinforced with carefully tailored grammatical explanations, which processed systematically from the simple to the more difficult and complex language points.

3.         The texts, sentences patterns and vocabulary are all given in Pinyin spelling. This will make it easier for students to learn spoken Chinese using a remained spelling which is easy to master. Although the corresponding Chinese characters are also provided under the pinyin version of the words, the students is not required to master them at this stage.

4.         Incorporated in the exercises are time-honored oral training methods: sentence pattern and substitution drills. The patterns are laid out in a format, which makes them clear and easy to remember.

5.         A large amount of vocabulary items is provided side by side with words in the substation drills to meet the communication needs of different situations. These training materials can also serve as a small handy dictionary in which subject categorize words.

6.         There are illustrations in each lesson closely related to the topics under discussion to facilitate both teaching and learning.

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Intermediate Level

Chinese Made Easier 1 - 4

By Martin Symonds and Tian Hao-hao

Published by Shaanxi Normal University Press

This set of books has 4 unique features:

1.         The content of each lesson is intensely practical. The authors have assumed that the student is living in China and wants to communicate on everyday topics as quickly as possible. So only useful vocabulary, immediately relevant to the student's everyday needs, is included.

2.         The authors have worked hard at trying to make the grammar explanations as simple and clear as possible, avoiding complicated linguistic terminology.

3.         Each lesson contains an activity related to the topic, in order to get the student using the content as quickly as possible.

4.         The reading & writing of Chinese characters is introduced at a manageable pace so the student shouldn't feel too overwhelmed. In order to reduce dependence on the pinyin, starting from lesson 6 and going right through the whole series, the student is introduced to 8 Chinese characters per lesson. Students are free to choose whether or not they wish to learn how to write the characters. However, they must learn how to recognize them because the pinyin for those 8 characters will disappear from that lesson onwards. In this way, students will learn to read (and possibly write) 520 Chinese characters by the time they have completed Book 5.

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Advanced Level

<<Chinese Made Easier 5>>

By Martin Symonds and Tian Hao-hao

published by Shaanxi Normal University Press

Book 5 uses a different study approach from Books 1-4. For each lesson, there is a story on an everyday practical topic together with pictures illustrating the story. The pictures provide a stimulus for interacting with the teacher using the new vocabulary learned in the lesson.

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Chinese Culture

Book 1 <<Chinese Traditions & Festivals>>

Published by Shaanxi Normal University Press

An easy Chinese reader covering Chinese Festivals. This book will help the student in the transition from pinyin to Chinese characters.

Book 2 <<Spotlight on China>>

Published by Beijing Language & Cultural University

Covers modern social problems in China and it is very well written.

Book 3 <<Speaking Chinese About China>>

Published by Sinolingua, Beijing

An excellent introduction to Chinese culture although a few lessons are now a little outdated. Volume I deals with Chinese geography, history, and politics. Volume II deals with Chinese economy, society, education and philosophy.

Boo 4 <<Talking of Chinese Culture>>

Published by Beijing Language & Cultural University

A well-written book covering aspects of Chinese culture, but a little advanced.

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Book 1 <<A Practical Chinese Grammar>>

Edited by Hung-Nin Samuel Cheung

Published by the Chinese University Press.

The book is a comprehensive grammar book for teachers and students of the Chinese language. In 50 lessons, it examines both structural patterns and morphological features characteristics of Mandarin Chinese. It describes cultural idiosyncrasies in language as as well as discourse strategies for forming sustained conversations. The scope and depth of the investigation make this Chinese grammar one of the most thorough pedagogical manuals written in English.

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Book 1 <<Concise English-Chinese Chinese-English Dictionary>>

By Cowie & Evison et al

Published by the Commercial Press & Oxford University Press.

A pocket dictionary, with the Chinese-English entries listed in pinyin alphabetical order.

Book 2 <<Longman's English-Chinese Photo Dictionary>>

By Rosenthal & Freeman

Published by Longman

This book is very helpful for both reviewing as well as learning new vocabulary for intermediate level students. It is topic orientated, each topic having a series of colored pictures to go with the vocabulary lists. However, it is best to go through it with your Chinese teacher or your Chinese friend as some of the words may not be commonly used in China in everyday speech.

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Language Learning

Book 1 <<How to be a More Successful Language Learner>>

By Joan Rubin & Irene Thompson,

Published by Heinle & Heinle.

This excellent book, written especially to meet the needs of ordinary language learners like you, is crammed full of good ideas about how to learn a language while living in the country where it is spoken. It is completely free of technical linguistic jargon, which therefore makes for easy reading. The book is divided into three parts: Part One covers the language learner's personality and goals as well as looking at how one uses language to communicate. Part Two gives hundreds of helpful suggestions on how to approach the task of acquiring a foreign language -- and all of the ideas are intensely practical. Part Three looks at the use to which textbooks, reference grammars, tapes, etc. can be put in the language learning process.

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