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Vicki

Menands, NY, United States | Member Since 2009

5
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 1 reviews
  • 39 ratings
  • 339 titles in library
  • 25 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"
    "Fascinating book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would absolutely recommend the book to anyone who has any interest in China or the Chinese language. It is a deeply insightful book, examining a complex and easily misunderstood culture.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    It was extremely helpful to know that others have struggled as much as I have with Mandarin. And after reading so many China-bashing travelogues, it was lovely to read something from someone who seems to have a genuine affection for the people, the culture and the language. The chapter about the earthquake was genuinely moving, allowing Ms. Fallows' neighbors to emerge as truly, independently human.


    Any additional comments?

    I have only one real complaint. The narrator is perfectly competent -- the enunciates very clearly, and emotes very subtly, which works well for non-fiction. However, given the nature of the book, it is jarring that the narrator makes no effort to pronounce the Chinese phrases correctly. Or perhaps she has made a little effort,but doesn't recognize that even pronunciation in this language requires *great* effort. I'm not being nitpicky or snobbish -- it's not that her Chinese is heavily accented, but that it would be almost incomprehensible to a native speaker. I recognize that it would be difficult to find a reader who has studied any Mandarin. However, she reads the Chinese words as if they were English, which tends to nullify the point of getting this on audiobook rather than in print.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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