Pimsleur Language Programs

Pimsleur Language Programs

Chinese (Mandarin I A) the Complete Course

Audiobook CD - 2000
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Publisher: Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Books [distributor], p2000
ISBN: 9780788797354
Branch Call Number: LANG CHINESE MANDARIN 2000
Characteristics: 9 sound discs : digital ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 supplemental reading booklet (39 p. ; 15 cm.)

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drinklemonade
Jan 31, 2016

Summary: good for no-brainer repetition while in the car for those who has been exposed to Mandarin before BUT poor in terms of consistency in tones for true beginner, heavily Northern-style dialect instead of standard Mandarin Chinese.

A bit about me: I learned Mandarin Chinese growing up from speaking with my family. Later on, I went through private lessons as a child/youth with emphasis on grammar and writing. I recently picked up Mandarin again as an adult and want a program that put me up-to-speed with conversation without emphasis on grammar. Pimsleur program is great for this purpose; with a few caveat. Mandarin Chinese is a very tonal language, as such those who are a true beginner (i.e. have never spoken or listened to the language before) would benefit from a little bit of explanation in terms of the 5 different tones (4 tones + 1 neutral tone). This tones are very important in the language and should be emphasized in beginners. In spoken language, especially by native speakers, often times the tones are a bit less exaggerated; nevertheless, the wrong tone will give the wrong meaning!! In this regard, Pimsleur program does a very poor job in extinguishing the four different tones. For example, the third tone (which is a low, bouncing tone) has been described differently at different times as "high-and-low" tone, or "low tone" without any semblance of consistency. The fourth tone has been described differently as either "high downward tone," or "high low tone." It is extremely confusing and not helpful.

In addition, the dialect style is heavily Northern and not standard Mandarin Chinese. While I think native speaker will still understand, I wish Pimsleur would adopt the standard Mandarin dialect (Beijing and/or Taiwan).

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