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國立臺灣師範大學

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

Arriving in Taiwan in September 2008, I first encountered Practical Audio-Visual Chinese at Chunghua University in Xinzhu. I had studied one year of Chinese and jumped straight into book three, which was quite a challenge at the time. Still, a semester later, we had finished book three, half of Taiwan Today and had also started on this book, being number four in a series of five books in total. Moving to Gaoxiong in the spring, I started with book five, which means that I had to study book four on my own, which I did quite a long time ago, even though this review is quite late.

There isn’t much new to say about the book as such, since it more or less follows the same pattern used in the first three books. It is by far the best series I’ve seen and book four gives no reason whatsoever to change that. I have only one complaint. I realise that vocabulary becomes more and more specific as the learner advances, but some vocabulary in this book is, frankly speaking, utterly ludicrous (like “nose cancer”, ever needed to use that?). This is quite a minor disadvantage though, so don’t let it stop you (the other series I’ve seen have been far worse in this regard, especially the Far Eastern Everyday Chinese).

As usual, I have also compiled word lists for ZDT for book four. This time I’ve been a lot more careful, entering vocabulary almost verbatim. There probably are some mistakes in there and by reporting them to me, you can help me helping other people to learn correct Chinese. The file can be imported to ZDT via the “Restore data” function (in other words, do not use “Import”). Since I’ve now skipped most of book five, striving even higher, it will probably be quite some time before I review that book and publish my word lists, but that day will come, too. In the meantime, have some fun with the vocabulary for book four!

Important: The lists for ZDT will still be here, but no longer updated. The vocabulary can and should be accessed from the Anki software, which is far superior to ZDT. If youh aven’t changed already, you should do so now.

Download ZDT word lists for Practical Audio-Visual Chinese 4

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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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