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Practical Audio-Visual Chinese volume 1, 2 and 3

Title: 實用視聽華語
Publisher:
國立臺灣師範大學
Year: 2008

Practical Audio-Visual Chinese is the second series of Chinese text books I encounter, the first being the one I studied in Sweden, namely Short-Term Spoken Chinese (see reviews of Threshold and Elementary volumes). When I first came to Taiwan, our class started from book three, but I covered the previous two volumes on my own to make sure I didn’t miss anything important. On the whole, I think these first three books are outstandingly good, especially when compared to my previous text books. Of course, they are far from perfect, but they have no obvious and major flaws.

Each chapter is structured around a text (fairly normal, focused on dialogue), and then the vocabulary is presented, each of the more complicated or non-obvious words having one or more sentences to clarify usage and meaning. Although the English is sometimes a bit odd, the overall impression is very good. These examples contain almost no characters the student doesn’t know from earlier chapters (which was a serious problem with Short-Term Spoken Chinese). For a complete list of the vocabulary used in the first three volumes of Practical Audio-Visual Chinese, please refer to this post.

After the vocabulary comes a comprehensive and intelligible explanation of relevant grammar, nothing fancy, but it works. Sometimes, the exercises deviate a lot from the explanations, leaving a solitary student clueless (having a teacher doesn’t always help either!). Also, a few more examples would have been useful, since it is difficult to know the right answer without a teacher. Still, they are worthwhile. At the end of each chapter there is a supplementary text, which we didn’t spend too much time on, but they are the whole quite interesting. Since the main texts always are dialogue, the extra texts (which are usually in some other format) are good to vary reading material a bit.

On the whole, I have nothing much to complain about, and that is very high praise when it comes to Chinese text books. The authors know what they’re doing and they have done good job. In addition to this, the layout is neat and pleasant to the eye. I can recommend this series to anyone who is interested in learning Chinese (using traditional characters, of course), or who want a supplement to another series (a very good idea, in my opinion). The books are a bit expensive compared to others, but they are also thicker, containing a total of roughly 1100 pages. I’m currently studying book five in class and book four on my own and even though the vocabulary gets rather non-practical after a while, Practical Audio-Visual Chinese is a good series throughout!

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  1. Dickson Camilo’s avatar

    These books are great, but I have not been able to get them in the U.S. Please let me know how I can get them.

    Reply

  2. Olle Linge’s avatar

    Well, I live in Taiwan, so naturally I bought them here. It shouldn’t be impossible to find a company that ships overseas? I mean, shipping is almost free from Taiwan anyway…

    Reply

  3. leo smith’s avatar

    I’m surprised that you didn’t mention what I consider the best thing about these books – the VCDs. Combining the text with the VCDs reinforces things really well. imo. It’s rare to find a text with half as much of an audio, much less video, component.

    Reply

    1. Olle Linge’s avatar

      Good point! We used the video for the third book, but for the others, I’ve just used the audio. If I’m not mistaken, there is no video in the new edition (I could be wrong). About the audio, the reading of the text is fairly obvious and commonplace, but I greatly appreciate that they read the vocabulary and the example sentences. I like listening to things so transferring the audio files to my phone, I can review chapters while walking, sitting on the MRT or whatever. This is good, but it’s not significantly better than any other text book series I’ve tried and won’t raise the grade.

      Reply

      1. India’s avatar

        I’m using the new edition of book 2 and there’s no video. That’s probably a good thing, really.

        Reply

        1. Olle Linge’s avatar

          I think I have to agree. The video clips were horribly updated and didn’t add very much. The idea of using video is sound, but the clips are from the 80s, it makes it hillarious rather than educating.

          Reply

        2. Alex’s avatar

          I’ve got book 3 from 1999. It has 20 lessons. It seems more difficult that the current book 3, because I just downloaded and opened your vocab flash cards from the “new” book 3 and its pretty easy. Any idea what happened between the old book 3 and the new. Seems like the new book three is the old book 1.

          Reply

          1. Olle Linge’s avatar

            There was a change 200? when they split up the books a bit. I’m pretty sure the current book one and two previously made up one single book (i.e. book one). I’m not sure about the current book three, four and five though. I very much doubt they were in one volume before, since it would have been horribly thick.

            So yes, the current book three is a lot easier than the old book three, but it’s not as easy as the former book one!

            Reply

          2. Alex’s avatar

            Thanks Olle. So I guess I’ll continue using my old fashioned paper flash card system, since I can’t find on-line any digital flash cards from PAV book 3. Sorry for the typos and errors in my previous message, was in a rush – haste makes waste. Best wishes on your Chinese studies and great blog you’ve got here.

            Reply

            1. Olle Linge’s avatar

              Have you checked the vocab for book four and five? It might be almost the same as your book three, although this is a wild guess. Book four can be found here (http://www.snigel.nu/?p=5676), but since I abandoned this series a while ago, I only have half of book five, available in Anki or on demand (just e-mail me).

              Reply

              1. little_mike’s avatar

                Hi Olle,

                Tomorrow we start a new quarter at Shida. I’m going to start the book 5 and I was wondering if you finally studied beyond the chapter 7 and if you have typed in Anki. If so, it would be so helpful.

                Thank you!

                All the best,

                little_mike

                Reply

                1. Olle Linge’s avatar

                  I have up to and including chapter 11. I haven’t been using this book officially since 2009, which means that most of the content isn’t suitable anymore (that’s why I haven’t gone through the rest of the book).

                  However, I do see a point in going through the book to pick up some extra grammar and perhaps an odd piece of vocabulary here and there. I’ll make an effort to enter the last nine chapters into Anki, but it might take a week or two.

                  In the meantime, I’ll upload a new version which includes chapter 11 and below, that should keep you occupied for a while at least. .)

                  ???????

                  Reply

                2. little_mike’s avatar

                  Excellent!

                  ????

                  Reply

                3. little_mike’s avatar

                  Hey Olle,

                  I have just downloaded the anki deck of the 5th book and it lacks the lesson 8,9,10. Would be possible to add them?

                  Thanks!

                  little_mike

                  Reply

                  1. Olle Linge’s avatar

                    Oh, how interesting. It turned out that I had been sloppy when applying tags to these chapters, meaning that they were skipped in the export. Since I had these chapters already, I just had to add the tags which took two minutes. I have now updated the deck so it should be correct.

                    I went through chapters 12-14 today and yesterday, so the deck should now contain everything up to chapter 14. If it doesn’t, let me know so I can fix it. I’ve got everything working here!

                    Reply

                    1. Olle Linge’s avatar

                      All chapters have been added and should work properly, please report any errors!

                      Reply

                    2. little_mike’s avatar

                      Excellent! In Spanish we say, “Eres una máquina!”, You are a machine!, (you work as fast and as good as a machine).

                      Everythink looks perfect now.

                      Thank you very much!

                      little_mike

                      Reply

                      1. Olle Linge’s avatar

                        Ha, interesting simile. I would say most people do these things better man machines, but I suppose that people in different countries might have different standards and/or faith in machinery. :D

                        Glad it helped!

                        Reply

                      2. Christina’s avatar

                        Hello! I just finished a summer session at NTNU MTC using this textbook series. I’ve returned home to the states and am hoping to keep up with what I’ve learned by self studying before school starts end of September. I’m currently on Book 3 and unlike the previous book, there are more exercises within the textbook. I was wondering if there was an answer key/book for Book 3. Please let me know! I tried asking my professor at MTC if he could correct my answers but unfortunately, he told me he’ll be too busy with classes at both MTC and NTU ):

                        Reply

                        1. Olle Linge’s avatar

                          Hi Christina! I’m sure there are workbooks for all the books in that series (I have most of them at home). How to order them or get hold of them I don’t really know. If your interested in reading more about learning Chinese, please head over to Hacking Chinese. I have moved all my stuff there and that’s where I spend most of my online writing energy. :)

                          Reply