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Publisher's Summary

The Pimsleur® Method: the easiest, fastest way to learn a new language. Completely portable, easily downloadable, and lots of fun. You'll be speaking and understanding in no time flat!

Chinese (Mandarin) Level 1 includes 15 hours of spoken language practice and one hour of culture notes in thirty 30-minute lessons. In the first 10 lessons, you'll cover the basics: saying hello, asking for or giving information or preferences, scheduling a meal or a meeting, asking for or giving basic directions, and much more. You'll be able to handle minimum courtesy requirements, understand much of what you hear, and be understood at a beginning level but with near-native pronunciation skills.

In the next 10 lessons, you'll build on what you've learned. Expand your menu, increase your scheduling abilities from general to specific, start to deal with currency and exchanging money, refine your conversations, and add over a hundred new vocabulary items. You'll understand more of what you hear and be able to really participate with speech that is smoother and more confident.

In the final 10 lessons of level 1, you'll be speaking and understanding at an intermediate level. In this phase more and more directions are given in the target language, which moves your learning to a whole new plane. You can talk about your immediate family, go on a car trip, and ask for and understand directions. Lessons include shopping, visiting friends, going to a restaurant, plans for the evening, and traveling with children. You'll be able to speak comfortably about things that happened in the past and make plans for the future.

One hour of recorded cultural notes are included at the end of unit 30. These notes are designed to provide you with some insight into Chinese culture. A notes booklet is also included in PDF format.

©2000 Simon & Schuster (P)2010 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

"Pimsleur programs provide plenty of positive reinforcement that will keep learners on track, and we found that Pimsleur gave us more proficiency and confidence in speaking the new language than any of the other language programs we reviewed." (AudioFile magazine)

What members say

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Well thought out but beware of the shortcomings

What did you love best about Chinese (Man) Phase 1, Units 1-30?

There's a lot of repetition so words and expressions gradually stick to your head. No frills, just a very practical learning method. Unlike other language learning audiobooks, instructors don't keep rattling on in English more than three-quarters of the audio time. I also like the long enough pauses in this so that you actually get to say the words you are learning.

Any additional comments?

This learning method is a good one. The sentences and words used are well thought out. But a word of caution. This program provides you with basically no written text. Downloadable material does not contain any transcript for the main part of the material. And I think it is quite difficult to learn Chinese language solely phonetically. It will be so much easier with transcripts of the expressions that appear in the program. I study Spanish language as well using the Pymsleur method. It works better with Spanish which is a phonetically written language. When you hear a sentence in Spanish, you pretty much know how it's spelled. Chinese is not like that. Chinese is a language that relies on each character's meaning. Rather than learning sound for every expresson, learning Chinese characters can really expedite learning. When Chinese characters are combined in different ways, you can still guess the meaning if you know the meaning of those characters. You can't do this with the Pymsleur method unfortunately as it does not involve much Chinese character learning. I use other iPhone apps to supplement this side. That said, repetition in the Pymsleur program is very helpful. Things gradually sink in with massive repetition in this audiobook. Besides, it's really nice to be able to learn a langage while walking around town or in the park. I'm an avid walker.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

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Great method, works for me very well

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I find it perfect to ensure words and pronunciation retention. I like it, works for me. I used it in the car all the time. I wish they would have a printed manual as well. It would be ideal.<br/>It repeats the words you've learned previously, adding just the right amount of new words so you don't get frustrated, and then it mixes and matches old and new words to ensure retention. Clear pronunciation which helps me reproduce the sound and correct my intonation.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Chinese (Man) Phase 1, Units 1-30?

When I started knowing the answers to the questions and having the right intonation.

What about the narrator’s performance did you like?

Clear pronunciation

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Definitely not since you need some time to retain, I would replay the previous chapter or at times chapters.

Any additional comments?

I love the method just wish they had a manual with both standard and simplified characters. Would be the perfect companion.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Easy Peasy Chinesy!

I never thought I would have a use for learning Chinese. I live in a smallish town in New Mexico. When I go for my walks in the morning I always run into a Chinese man and we could never communicate. I don't know how he lives here but he doesn't speak any English to speak of. So I decided it would be fun to learn Chinese and maybe get to a point where I could help him learn English. Wow!
I started the course, I was afraid that I might not get the intonation right. But after a few days, I said hi to him in Chinese and started speaking. Our first conversations were rather short and broken. And I still find myself at a loss for what to say. But he has no trouble understanding what I do say. And it has made my morning walks so much more fun.
I have moved on now to level II. I love Pimsleur.
You will have to go elsewhere to learn the writing process and how to read Chinese. I haven't even begun any of that. People say you can't learn a language just listening. They are wrong. You can. there are plenty of people who don't read and write. It may be easier to learn with reading and writing helps, but Chinese poses a special problem in that area as there is nothing phonetic about their writing process, though there is a new writing system that uses the western alphabet, a sort of pidgin. It isn't very helpful to go that route as far as I can tell. However, you can learn to speak without learning to write, and it is worth doing that. It takes a bit of work. I give the levels more than one listen through before moving to the next level, and usually, review the previous level after working through the next level once. Then while I'm listening to a lesson I try to think of things I would like to say or ask from my friend in the park. I love the conversational emphasis of Pimsleur in general. I love that you have a conversation with the program in order to learn. But it sure does make it more memorable when I use what I have learned with an actual person in a real conversation. If you don't have a Chinese guy in the park to talk to, you can probably find someone to talk to online.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Start here, go anywhere

I am now on Phase 3 of Mandarin Chinese, and I can't recommend it highly enough!

I live in southern China and this has helped me immensely in picking up some of the language. 30 minutes a day is SO worth it. That being said, I still like to get a cup of coffee and focus a bit. I can't really cook and do this at the same time. I am trying to maximize that 30 minutes...

Also, once you are through with this part, I might try to jump on something that will help you learn writing if you are interested in that. It is a little bit of a disappointment to myself that I didn't do that earlier. Still, for speaking and listening...you can't get a better 30 minutes in my opinion.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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SLOW DOWN!!!

The Chinese speakers speak SO FAST that I had to slow the narration down to 0.75 just to be able to sometimes follow their pronunciations. Especially the male Chinese speaker, who sounded like he had to be somewhere. I found it so frustrating because I was told it was a half an hour per day, but if I was going to get through a lesson, it would be closer to an hour. Honestly, I learned and retained more from the a podcast because they slowly pronounce words, told you their literal meaning so it's not just random sounds, and it didn't cost $120.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent learning tool

Effective learning on a daily basis, well paced and effective. if you are serious about learning Chinese give it a try.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great product for basics and audio repetition

Main Take-Away: I would absolutely recommend this as a great product to purchase for conversations. It does give you some tangible results, and I felt the lessons were ordered appropriately. Language learning to be conversational or fluent is a long-term objective, but I believe this gets you well on your way to that goal.

Full Review
I bought this product a few months ago with slight trepidation about the content quality and breadth of lessons. After going through the 30 lessons, I am pleasantly surprised by the coverage and level of basic familiarity I have with Chinese. Every language learning product has its advantages and disadvantages and I will try to explain my perspective.

ADVANTAGES: The lessons build on each other in arcs with their Pimsleur repetition method coming into play. The audio is by two different speakers (1Male,1Female) which I liked because you can hear the pronunciation in two voices helping to really grasp it. The pronunciation they teach is incredibly beneficial, and they state the tone of the word since you do need to stay mindful of them. Lastly, they include call-and-response conversations after the lesson that make you think on your feet a little bit from what you learned.

DISADVANTAGES: Everything is by audio and so it can be a little difficult to transition if you wanted to read a sentence that you just spoke aloud. I routinely would try and type out the pinyin and corresponding english word to catalogue the Chinese characters after the lesson. It's a bit more time-consuming, but I would say it was worth it for me.

My process was to listen to the lesson in the morning at 1, or even 0.75, speed to truly grasp each lesson and follow along completely. Then later that day, or the next day, I would play it at 1.25 speed, or faster, to test myself and hear the whole lesson again. I took the program a little slower than 1 each day partly from wanting to truly understand the lessons, and partly from my own laziness. The speed you want to go is up to you. It's also no good to simply have the audio playing if you aren't paying attention to it, because you will have to listen to the lesson all over again.

Like I mentioned, every language product has advantages and disadvantages. I used this product with conjunction with a few others that are more reading/writing focused, but don't give a good level of real-world audio and back-and-forth conversations.

If you're nervous to pay the full Level 1 package, then I would suggest the first 5 lessons to get a flavor of how it delivers content. You could also wait and use credits to purchase them instead, which works more in your favor.

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Great book but can not figure out how to download

I can't figure out how to download the PDF booklet that comes with my order. :-(

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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This is a good book. It's easy to follow

I feel this audiobook is very easy to follow. It provides practical skills to learn a new language.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful