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Apparently learning Chinese Mandarin is Easy Peasy. Certainly, Easy Peasy Chinese is being incredibly optimistic about the process with its title. This colorful book seems like it is designed for children with the slightly infantile title and its bright red front cover adorned with pictures of fishes and traditional Chinese characters but actually it is not exclusively for young learners although it ought tosuit them quite well. Easy Peasy is tailored for those who have never learned Chinese Mandarin (or any language for that matter), and want to master the basics, but just how extensive your vocabulary and conversation will be is open to debate. The package includes a book with surprisingly simple and accurate explanations of the Chinese system of Mandarin and pinyin as well as covering more than ten sections on practical Mandarin conversations and vocabulary. This is also accompanied by an audio cd which parallels the content of the book and aims to help you with pronunciation and intonation. Overall, Easy Peasy is an exciting and engaging book for an absolute beginner, but is it perhaps too simplistic? Read on.
Easy Peasy is a colorful and engaging book. It starts off with the essential explanation of the Chinese writing system including the pinyin system and the traditional system of Chinese characters. The book is filled with large font images and words in both English, pinyin and traditional Chinese. It is accompanied by a CD which helps you to pronounce the words you are reading and learning accurately. The headings for each subject are suitably trendy and engaging - for example in transport we have 'Vroom' or in food 'Don't flip the fish!' or in Hobbies 'What's hot?' This keeps the book engaging and holds your attention. The book is not superficial either - it has an extensive phonetic alphabet with English words, pinyin phonetic translation and traditional Chinese character translations. The learner can continually cross reference this phonetic alphabet when learning new words just to make sure they are using the correct intonation. There is also an excellent explanation of the four tone Chinese system which explains all the accents and the differences of stress and intonation, all done with excellent pictures and images. At the end of each subject there are exercises dedicated to practical conversations, which consolidates all the learning within that section, bringing each section to a logical finish.
The trouble with Easy Peasy is that it is so easy. This is ideal for the absolute beginner who will not be disappointed by its fresh and engaging style. This will give a solid foundation to work from but it is perhaps too simplistic so once you have mastered the basics you will need to move on to new material. So, if you prefer to study alone, or want to consolidate your learning in the classroom with supplementary material, this book is a must for you.
Easy Peasy is suitable for young learners and adults alike. It is easy to use, explains the essentials in an accessible style and is never long winded or obscure. The audio cd which accompanies the book ensures that your understanding of Mandarin pronunciation is consolidated with real practice by copying the narrative speaker. Overall, Easy Peasy is an excellent resource for absolute beginners and novice language learners. It will equip you with the basics and, once you master them, you can move on into more in depth learning. If you already know some Mandarin, this book is not for you, however Easy Peasy really does make Mandarin Easy Peasy for absolute beginners!
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