books

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Chinese language learning materials


Books about the languages of China

The Chinese Language - Fact and Fantasy

The Chinese Language - Fact and Fantasy

by John DeFrancis

- a fascinating account of written and spoken Chinese which debunks many myths and misconceptions. Essential reading for anyone interested in the Chinese language.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Speaking of Chinese: A Cultural History of the Chinese Language

Speaking of Chinese: A Cultural History of the Chinese Language

by Raymond Chang & Margaret Scrogin Chang

- explains how the Chinese language is constructed and written, and its relationship to Chinese culture and history. Does not teach you how to speak or write Chinese.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

The Chinese Language: Its History and Current Usage

The Chinese Language: Its History and Current Usage

by Daniel Kane

- a brief introduction to the main characteristics of Chinese, written to be accessible to beginning students as well as anyone with a general interest in Chinese language and culture. Provides a demystifying overview of Chinese from a linguistic, historical and social perspective.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

The Languages of China

The Languages of China

by S. Robert Ramsey

- an interesting history of the Chinese people through the study of the languages spoken in China. In addition to languages, it also covers all aspects of life in China: politics, economics, poetry, history and so on.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk


Classical Chinese

A New Introduction to Classical Chinese

A New Introduction to Classical Chinese

by Raymond Dawson

- introduces Classical Chinese through the a series of texts accompanied by grammatical notes. The texts include selections from the writings of Mencius (Mengzi) and other writers of the 4th and 3rd century BC, together with texts by the Han Dynasty historian Ssu-ma Ch'ien.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Classical Chinese Reader

Classical Chinese Reader

by A.D. Syrokomla-Stefanowska

- an introduction to Classical Chinese suitable for beginners, though some knowledge of Modern Chinese will certainly help. Consists of a selection of texts in Classical Chinese by writers such as Mencius with plenty of footnotes. There are also appendices containing grammatical notes.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar

Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar

by Edwin G. Pulleyblank

- a comprehensive introduction to syntactical analysis of Classical Chinese, focusing on the language of the high classical period. After a brief historical overview, sections cover principles of word order and sentence structure, the main sentence types, and topics including subordina

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk


Mandarin Chinese (Pŭtōnghuà/Guānyŭ/Huáyŭ)

Colloquial Chinese

Colloquial Chinese - The Complete Course for Beginners

by Qian Kan

- a good introduction to Mandarin Chinese. Uses pinyin romanization and introduces about 600 basic Chinese characters. Includes a course book containing dialogues, grammatical notes, exercises and cultural information, together with two cassettes with recordings of some of the dialogues and exercises.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Breakthrough Mandarin Chinese

Breakthrough Mandarin Chinese

by Catherine Meek, Mao Yan, E. Henian, Brian Hill

- an introduction to everyday spoken Mandarin Chinese. Uses pinyin romanization throughout. Includes a course book and audio cassettes.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Instant Immersion Chinese Levels 1,2 & 3

Instant Immersion Chinese Levels 1,2 & 3

by TOPICS Entertainment

- Chinese Levels 1, 2 & 3 includes six language learning CD-ROMS and three bonus discs: an interactive DVD, audio for an iPod or MP3 player.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Chinese (Mandarin)

Chinese (Mandarin)

by Pimsleur Language Programs

- an all audio course consisting of a total of 90 half-hour lessons, 30 for each level, on CD or cassette. Effectively teaches you authentic pronunciation and intonation, gives you an understanding of the grammar and teaches you a manageable amount of vocabulary. If you complete all 90 lessons, you'll have rougly an intermediate level ability in spoken Mandarin.

Buy Level I from: Amazon.com
Buy Level II from: Amazon.com
Buy Level III from: Amazon.com

Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes

Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes

by Lydia Lin

- employs the power of music and songs in teaching Chinese to English-speaking people. It demonstrates the usage of Chinese expressions through 40 simple songs and rhymes as well as a number of conversations and stories. Most of the songs and rhymes are familiar Western and Chinese traditional songs, such as "O Susanna" and "Traveler on Camel's Back" (a Xinjiang folk song). The students will be reading or singing along with the supplemental audio files while following the text on the page. This book not only provides the English annotations and pinyin for the vocabulary, songs and sample sentences, but also points out the sentence structures and shows the students how to apply the language rules.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Mandarin Chinese - an introduction

Mandarin Chinese - an introduction

by Rhys Owen

- an introduction to Mandarin Chinese that includes guidance on pronunciation and the all-important tones. This guidance is reinforced by a series of basic phrases, which also introduce basic grammar. Chinese characters are introduced from the very beginning of the book. Further words and phrases are devoted to eating and drinking as this is considered to be the environment in which Westerners are most likely to make their first contact with Chinese culture. The book includes a list of common Chinese words laid out in a logical order that is considered to be easy to look up.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Intermediate Chinese

Intermediate Chinese

by Yong Ho

- a good intermediate-level Mandarin Chinese textbook. Each chapter consists of dialogues, reading passages, grammatical explanations and exercises.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

All Things Considered: Advanced Reader of Modern Chinese

All Things Considered: Advanced Reader of Modern Chinese

by Chih-p'ing Chou, Yan Xia and Meow Hui Goh (Editors)

- a textbook for intermediate to advanced-level students of Chinese. The text is divided into two parts: the first section consists of twelve dialogues while the second is a selection of recent newspaper articles about contemporary Chinese society.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Advanced Reader of Contemporary Chinese Short Stories: Reflections on Humanity

Advanced Reader of Contemporary Chinese Short Stories: Reflections on Humanity

by Ying Wang, Carrie E. Reed

- a collection of post-1990 short stories in a variety of styles. The text is in simplified characters and there are vocabulary lists and grammar notes.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Far East English-Chinese Dictionary

Far East English-Chinese Dictionary

by S. Liang

- an excellent Chinese-English dictionary in traditional characters with character readings in Bopomofo, Gwoyeu Romatzyh and Pinyin. The characters are arranged according to the classical Kangxi radical method and there are also Zhuyin, Gwoyeu Romatzyh and Pinyin indices. The 120,000 entries include examples of usage from many different sources, including Chinese classics, newspapers and colloquial language. Also includes cultural tidbits and information about famous people, events, geographical names, etc.

This dictionary is available in various editions. They differ in the number of entries, size and price. It's worth getting the largest one you can afford.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Pocket Oxford Chinese Dictionary

Pocket Oxford Chinese Dictionary

by Martin H. Manser, Zhu Yuan, Wang Liangbi and Ren Yongchang

- a good English-Chinese / Chinese-English dictionary. Chinese entries are in simplified characters and pinyin. Traditional characters are shown where they differ from the simplified ones. The Chinese-English part is ordered according to pinyin alphabetical order. There is also an index of radicals. This dictionary is also available on CD-ROM.

Buy from: Amazon.co.uk

Concise English - Chinese, Chinese - English Dictionary

Concise English - Chinese, Chinese - English Dictionary

by Oxford University Press

- an excellent pocket-sized bilingual dictionary with simplified and traditional characters and pinyin. The Chinese-English part is ordered according to pinyin alphabetical order. The only drawback with this dictionary is the size of the type - very small.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

ABC Chinese-English Dictionary

ABC Chinese-English Dictionary

by John DeFrancis

- contains 196,000 entries arranged according to Pinyin alphabetical order. Also includes a large print radical index. Both simplified and traditional characters are shown.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Basic Chinese: A Grammar and Workbook

Basic Chinese: A Grammar and Workbook

by Yip Po-Ching, Don Rimmington, Xiaoming Zhang and Rachel Henson

- an introduction to Chinese grammar designed for those with a basic knowledge of the language.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Intermediate Chinese: A Grammar and Workbook

Intermediate Chinese: A Grammar and Workbook

by Yip Po-Ching, Don Rimmington, Xiaoming Zhang and Rachel Henson

- a grammar reference for intermediate-level students.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

 

Chinese: A Comprehensive Grammar

Chinese: A Comprehensive Grammar

by Yip Po-Ching and Don Rimmington

- provides a thorough coverage of the grammar of Modern Chinese. Intended for students with at least an intermediate level knowledge of Chinese.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

The Rough Guide to Mandarin Chinese

The Rough Guide to Mandarin Chinese (a dictionary phrasebook)

by Lexus

- phrases are printed in Chinese characters and pinyin romanization throughout.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

China - current life and traditional culture

China - current life and traditional culture

by Orna Taub

- an ebook that reveals the main issues which occupy current Chinese society, as well as topics concerning traditional Chinese culture. Written in Chinese characters followed by pinyin and English.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Chinese easy stories, humor, culture, habits, writing letters

Chinese easy stories, humor, culture, habits, writing letters

by Orna Taub

- an ebook containing short stories in Chinese which cover such topics as humor, culture, habits and letter writing.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Chinese electronic dictionary

Chinese electronic translators, language teachers and dictionaries

Electronic dictionaries and translators: up to 1,000,000 words, full-text translation. Speech recognition, audio phrasebooks. Chinese translation software for Windows, Pocket PC, Palm, Mobile phones. Free trial download!

More information


Taiwanese (Tâi-oân-oe)

Spoken Taiwanese

by Nicholas C. Bodman

- an introduction to spoken Taiwanese consisting of a course book and 13 cassettes. This is one of the few Taiwanese courses in English: most are in Chinese. The cassettes are sold separately on Amazon.

Buy from: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or World Language


Amoy Hokkien (Chinese-Fukien)

Spoken Amoy Hokkien

by Nicholas C. Bodman

- a good introduction to the spoken Hokkien of Amoy (Xiamen) consisting of a course book and 16 cassettes. The cassettes are sold separately on Amazon.

Buy from: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or World Language


Shanghainese

Shanghai Dialect: An Introduction to Speaking the Contemporary Language

by Lance Eccles

- contains twenty-nine units, each of which contains two brief dialogues, vocabulary for the dialogues, and a supplementary word list. Because this book is intended chiefly for those who already have some knowledge of Putonghua (Mandarin), grammatical explanations are confined to occasional brief notes.

Available from: Dunwoody Press

Shanghai Common Expressions

by Wu Ying (Editor)

- a collection of 600 colloquial Shanghai sentences from a variety of social situations.

Available from: Dunwoody Press


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Fluenz - learn Mandarin Chinese with video lessons

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