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Annette

Maine, USA

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HELPFUL VOTES
  • 1 reviews
  • 4 ratings
  • 23 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2014
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  • Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Deborah Fallows
    • Narrated By Catherine Byers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (47)

    Deborah Fallows has spent a lot of her life learning languages and traveling around the world. But nothing prepared her for the surprises of learning Mandarin - China's most common language - or the intensity of living in Shanghai and Beijing. Over time, she realized that her struggles and triumphs in studying learning the language of her adopted home provided small clues to deciphering behavior and habits of its people, and its culture's conundrums.

    Catherine says: "Interesting examination of Chinese culture"
    "Okay story, terrible listen."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Dreaming in Chinese better?

    The narrative was mildly interesting, in the sense that some of the author's stories of living in China resonated with my own experiences, but given the title, I was expecting more in-depth language analysis, which it entirely lacks. Plus, there's a fair bit that the author doesn't go on to explain and I imagine would confuse me if I didn't already know more about it. For instance, when she is talking about word play, and the "grass mud horse" she notes that is is a homonym for something else, but doesn't say what. I'll give you that it's really hard to indicate what it's a homonym for in polite language, but she didn't even try.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The real thing that made this book unlistenable (I admit to giving up about an hour and a half in) is that the narrator is a great English reader but clearly doesn't speak a word of Chinese, and no one gave her even a ten minute summary in pinyin phonetics. If I had been smart enough to read the reviews beforehand, I would have seen that. If you have any level of Chinese understanding, you will probably find this audiobook frustrating and grating. Otherwise, either give it a miss or try the print edition.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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