Simplified Chinese. English and Pinyin comments. 473 pages. Volume I and II are combined into one book. Published by BLCU (Beijing Language and Culture Univeristy) Press and Sinoligua. Used as one of BLCU's main textbooks.
Introduction: The course is intended for beginners learning Chinese as a foreign language. The compilers' aim has been to make the course practical, precise and interesting. As it is for beginners, the coursebook contains the material which is most necessary and which can be used immediately by the student in daily life. The language points are arranged so that easy ones come before difficult ones and simple forms come before complicated forms. Explanations present material in a way which meets the needs of students and is easy to learn. The textbook compilers should never attempt to present all material at once and that strict distinctions should be made between a language textbook and a grammar book. It is important to make textbooks interesting. In these respects it is attempted to compile a textbook which will encourage, not frustrate, students.
The following is a brief description of each section of the lessons in the first two volumes of the coursebook.
1. New Words: The whole book presents approximately 1,200 words, an average of 15 each lesson. A vocabulary index including all new words is attached to the end of Volume II as an appendix. All words are given in characters and phonetic transcriptions inthe pinyin system with their parts of speech and English equivalents provided. In order to provide students with a more exact understanding of the meanings and the usages of the words, some words are given with explanations rather than just English equivalents. Nevertheless, students should not expect to learn the meaning and usage of a word by depending only on the English translation which often holds true only for a particular context.
2. Texts: The texts cover a wide range of typical situations in students' social life and campus life. The language used in natural, standard and vivid. Special attention has been given to introducing aspects of Chinese culture, while maintaining a level suitable for beginners. In these ways, the basic material is covered thoroughly and , at the same time, students remain interested. Most of the texts are followed by notes which contain explanations of: 1)expressions and idioms related to Chinese culture; 2) difficult grammatical points which occur in the text by have not yet been covered and 3)colloquial expressions.
3. Phonetics: Students using this textbook will get thorough training in phonetics. We have introducted, explained, and emphasized points that are typical of Chinese phonetics and particularly difficult for beginners to grasp, in addition of using the Scheme for Romanization of Writing System of Chinese Language usually found in other Chinese text books. A. Initials and finals: The characteristics in producing Chinese compound finals are emphasized in this textbook. B. Tones: The four tones constitute a special obstacle for beginning students of Chinese. To overcome this obstacle, we have designed more exercises on tones. In practicing successive syllables, we have avoided the usual practice of giving only polysyllables by also including word groups, phrases, and even simple sentences. This aids students in learning the changes of the third tone, that is, of successive third tone and half -- third tone syllables. In addition, the figures used in this textbook are more illustative than the traditional ones. C. Stress and intonation: In learning Chinese phonetics, most students commit more errors of stress and intonation than of sounds and tones. Stress and intonation form the second main obstacle to progress in pronunciation after sounds and tones. This textbook gives considerable attention to the characteristics of Chinese stress and intonation and provides a number of relevent drills. Phonetics are an important element of language and should be practiced throughout the whole elementary learning stage. Tehrefore, in this textbook, there are pronunication drills in all the lessons, not just the first few.
4. Grammar: This textbook includes the basics of Chinese grammar. Simple and easy points are presented in the first few lessoins and complicated points in later lessons. The difficult points are introduced in the following manner: First, individual sentences including the grammar points are given so that students are exposed to it in contextl then when the point is explained, it is done gradually over two or more lessons. The grammatical points are explained explicitly and familiar formulas are used to emphasize their function in actual use.
5. Exercise: Exercises and drills on phonetics, grammar and sentence patterns are provided in this textbook. In the drills on phonetics we have laid emphasis first on the difficult sounds and tones and later on stress and intonation as geared to particular text; exercises on grammar and sentence patterns are designed to emphasize everyday usage.
The two volunes are put into a single book which covers a complete stage of instruction. Volume I contains 30 lessons. Volume II contains 25 lessons. It can be finished in about 110 instruction hours (not including reviews, tests and examinations).
A table of "Initial-final combinations in Standard Chinese Common Speech" is provided.