Mandarin Study Project: Day Ten

Mandarin Study Project: Day Ten

Character learning is going well. There isn’t really all that much to report on that front.
Teach Yourself Mandarin Chinese arrived today. I’m going to talk about an issue I have with the first few chapters of the book.

There are No Characters Until a Lot of the Way into the Book.

I’ve written about the Teach Yourself series before, and it’s propensity to skirt around the subject of a writing system. That applies to this course, which is irritating. I can see why the publisher/author would choose to do this, so as not to be intimidating, but it’s a bypass they shouldn’t make. Having Pin-yin and characters alongside each other seems to be (I’ve only skimmed ahead thus far) something that works later on in the book, so why not do it from the start? Put the ‘Introduction to Characters’ chapter after the introduction and Pin-Yin description, and then have it running side-by-side with the caveat that you don’t need to learn the writing system to speak the language. That would be much simpler.

However, that isn’t what the book does. Therefore, building sentences using actual characters is difficult if not impossible. I can already say, “Ni Hao.” The book gets me no closer to being able to write it. This makes it more difficult for any reader with pre-existing knowledge to fit it in. It also requires learning the same thing twice – that is, assuming that eventually the Pin-Yin learned at the beginning is re-learned in the later chapters in characters.

I’m going to spend the afternoon looking to see if there are any introductory books that do have the characters running alongside the simple sentences. Otherwise, I’m going to have to write in the characters myself.

Still, in terms of the whole Mandarin Study Project, I’m moving from pure vocabulary to sentences one way or another.

Of course, the above is not necessary if you are coming to the language as a beginner. However, this method is still a faster way to gain proficiency than the Teach Yourself Method ,  due to the simple yet expansive nature of it.

This concludes Day Ten of the Mandarin Study Project update. It’s a bit negative, which I apologise for. Hopefully I’ll find a work around to learning via Teach Yourself, or otherwise find something that’s better for our purposes.

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