Chinese Breeze series: Wo keyi qing i tiao wu ma

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RobinSpencer's review of Chinese Bookshop - www.chinesebookshop.com

★★★★★

“Chinese Breeze series: Wo keyi qing i tiao wu ma”

Written on: 24/02/2012 by RobinSpencer (1 review written)

This is the second Chinese Breeze book I've read. I am a slow (may setady would be more appropriate) learner but love learning languages, especially through reading. Until I got the Chinese Breeze books, progress was very very slow, and I had to try and use hanzi and pinyin books. The trouble is you always end up reading the pinyin.

This series is brilliant, because it forces you to read the Chinese (hanzi) characters, but builds from a relatively small bsae (about 200-300 characters) and each book adds a few more (typically 60-80, although I find I already know about a third to half them).

The repetition of phrases is particularly useful. So you keep on seeing the same characters time and time again. However, they still manage to produce a fairly interesting storyline.

I personally, wrote out all the book in hanzi and underneath it wrote out all the pinyin. I'm now on my third (level 1)book, and I can comfortably read over 90% of it. More importantly, I am really enjoying reading it as well!

"Wo keyi qing ni tiaowu ma", is good because is has a credible story line, and uses a lot of phrases that I can see would be useful in an every day situation. My Mandarin teacher is already wondering where I am learning to read all these new characters and phrases. Well Chinese Breeze.

I also liked the way it suffixes about 75 'new words' in this book (and the other two books) with only minimal overlap. Furthermore, every time the 'new' character is written, it has a suffix, which initially helps you to look up the character each time it is repeated in the text, and finally you learn it and don't need to. I did find that actually writing out the book was not only enjoyable (perhaps I am a masochist, but I love writing hanzi script - very theraputic) but also rapidly got me to learn how to read as well as write each new character. Well when you've written 'Jing Cha' about 50 times, even that character is a piece of cake to write (without cheating!).

Finally, I did like the characters in the book. Only in a couple of places was the story was a bit 'shakey', but hell, using a very basic 300 characters, I really congratulate Chinese Breeze in creating a book that is readable, and gets one actually reading hanzi without relying totally on pinyin underneath. This book also forced me to use the Chinese - English dictionary, and therefore I had to learn to identify the key radicals, so I able to find about 95% of the words in the dictionary, only a small handful stumped me. I think that a book that removes the 'fear' some of my fellow Chinese student have of using the dictionary, is in itself a magnificent gift to Mandarin learners.

Which brings me to the CD - great. I only listened to it once I had read and translated the whole book. The two speed CD tapes are great. Listen to slow speed to recognise the characters as they are spoken, and then normal speed to get used to normal speech. The CD also meant I could hear any hanzi characters that I couldn't find in the dictionary and then look them up.

Dui bu qi, but there weren't any elements of the book (or the series) that I didn't like. Even the on line prices are very reasonable.

So you see, I am a fan of Chinese Breeze. On my third book (level 1 - Which one shall I choose) I am still writing out the text in hanzi, but only leaving spaces for characters I can't read (or remember) which only about 2-3% of the characters in the book. I think this in it self pays testament to the learning process that this book as provided.

I have dipped into a level 2 book (Our geese have gone). Its quite a step up, I guess about 30-40% of the words are new. However, this was the same when I started my first level 1 book. My first level 2 book will be slow, but I now know that having persevered with the first book at level 2, the Chinese Breeze series will build on that vocab, and I shall be able to relax more and enjoy (rather than 'persevere') with the other level 2 books I have purchase.

  • Chinese Breeze (The third Eye), Reading Chinese this way level 1, Capturing Chinese : short stories from Lu Xun's Nahan

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