Practical Audio-Visual Chinese Vol. 1
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  • Practical Audio-Visual Chinese Vol. 1
  • National Taiwan Normal University
  • Published by: Zhen Zhong / Tsai Fong Books
  • Level: Beginner
  • First Published in: 2000

Practical Audio-Visual Chinese is a course book specially designed for absolute beginner students. The book comes with a variety of vocabulary exercises with plenty of examples, listening activities, and writing exercises in both traditional and Mandarin Chinese.

REVIEW BY Katie Collum Book EXPERT
Review posted: 07/11/2013
Have you used this book?

The process of teaching English really varies from country to country. One could possibly experience completely different problems teaching English in Latin America as opposed to Asia and a lot of this would have to do with the native language of your students.

This is something I quickly figured out while teaching English to Mandarin speakers; the differences in grammar structure, vocabulary, and writing system really mattered. I discovered that the best way to go about understanding some of the struggles my students might face would be to try learning Mandarin myself. Think of it as a reverse-psychology move for the ESL ninja master.

So I dove into Practical Audio-Visual Chinese Vol. 1 and began my journey into the fascinating and difficult language that is Mandarin. I found this textbook to be a great start for the entire series and a nice way for beginners in the language to be able to ease into the learning process. Vocabulary is important in this book but the less complex forms of grammar are also introduced along the way. Each chapter opens with a dialogue or sample sentences which can be useful in casual conversation. After this, the lesson generally progresses towards some sort of grammar study or review with varied exercises to go with it; you may be asked to fill in the blanks or match up the grammar structures – it varies from lesson to lesson – so you are constantly asked to put what you’ve just learned into practice! Most language students understand that repetition is key in the learning of any language and this book does a great job in allowing the vocabulary and simple grammar structures to recur again and again throughout the text without it becoming redundant.

Something else of interest in this particular series is that it provides both the Mandarin Phonetic symbols and the traditional Pinyin in order to help with pronunciation. I felt that this made the text seem a bit cluttered, but there are many people who actually prefer being able to choose between the two. This book also comes with a CD which is very useful, not only for developing an ear for the language, but likewise to assist the student should he/she not be able to decipher the pronunciation of a word using the Pinyin or Phonetic methods. The dialogues and sample sentences from the text are featured on the CD, but the manner of speaking is quite rapid which may cause initial frustration for some. I myself spent a lot of time going back to the beginning of the track because I simply lost my spot in the book. It can be intimidating, but in some ways it’s a pro: after all, no one ever spoke slowly to me in Mandarin when I was out in real-world situations, so perhaps the creators of this series were going for a more realistic approach.

"Something else of interest in this particular series is that it provides both the Mandarin Phonetic symbols and the traditional Pinyin in order to help with pronunciation."

Finally, if you are partial to learning how to write simplified Chinese characters, this is not the text book for you. The dialogues, vocab, and sentences all use the traditional manner of writing characters; which can be a plus because (as I’ve been told) it’s a bit easier to learn simplified if you learn traditional characters first. It all comes down to personal preference and where you think you’ll be putting your Chinese reading skills to test.

Overall, this book is a great tool to help you start learning basic Mandarin grammar structures and also excellent for picking up useful beginner vocabulary. It is a text meant for use in the classroom and at home; this book makes the daunting prospect of picking up a new language seem like a less intimidating and more approachable task. I would recommend this textbook to those wishing to learn Mandarin as a hobby, but also for ESL instructors who are working with Mandarin speaking students and hope to capture a glimpse of the language learning process from their perspective.



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