Modern Chinese

Book Review



Modern Chinese : A Basic Course


Faculty of Peking  University


Dover Publications Inc., Mineola, NY



Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

October, 2001


Modern Chinese : A Basic Course is a beginning level course  for learning Mandarin Chinese. The course consists of a 249 page listener manual  and 3 cassette tapes, and is packaged in a compact cardboard box.

Get more information about Modern Chinese at Amazon.comThe  program starts its focus with teaching the student the proper way to form the  various sounds that comprise the Chinese language. This not only includes explanations of the different tones, but there are also illustrations that demonstrate the  alignment of the jaw and tongue for each sound. Each sound is also read on the  audio portion of the program so that the listener can hear the proper pronunciation.

As the student progresses through the course, a little extra vocabulary is added in each chapter. Each new word is used in simple conversational  dialogs to assist mastery. Other portions of each chapter explain grammatical  concepts and teach the student the proper method to write Chinese characters. The audio material is extensive for a course in this price range, and the recording  quality is acceptable for cassette tape.

There are a few things one might not like about this course. Although the title is Modern Chinese, this program is already thirty years old.  Another difficulty is that the English equivalent pronunciations do not follow the pinyin system that is common with other courses and materials. The most attractive features of this course are its low price and the amount of material  it covers. This program is priced slightly higher than a simple phrasebook, yet includes over an hour of audio material and an abundance of written material  as well.

For anybody wishing to develop a basic familiarity with the Mandarin Chinese language, Modern Chinese is one low-priced vehicle  to accomplish the goal. The course covers a variety of vocabulary and grammatical concepts, and accomplishes its goal of teaching a beginning student at an affordable price.

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