Going from book one to book two

i’m almost at the end of the practical audio and visual chinese book 1. i have 5 more chapters to go.i don’t study at a mandarin language center, because i don’t have the time, so i study one on one with a chinese teacher twice a week for an hour and half each time. i’ve been going at it since last september.

i was at a friends house last night and was looking at her book 2 (shang4). it looks quite a bit more difficult than book one, with no english sentences or bo po mo fo, or pingyin. while i don’t have book one memorized inside and out, i feel i have a pretty decent grasp of most of the major grammar patterns and vocab. i want to know if the transition into book 2 is relatively painless (as painless as learning chinese can be)… is there a huge gap between the last chapter of book one and the first chapter of book 2? are there any specific chapters in book one i should know inside and out before moving on?

any hindsight is really appreciated :smiley:

The main thing is to get your hanzi up to scratch so that you can read the dialogues and exercises OK.


There is a book called “Shuo1 zhong1 guo2 hua4”. Some told me this book is between book 1 and book 2. There are still new stuff, but also some practice.
And Brian made the point, you have to memorize the “han4 Zi4”, that’s the most important thing for you to go Book 2. As you might noticed that, Book 2 is kinda focus on the tones.
Good luck with your study and get yourself some beer when you finish book1. Hooray~

hey old kid, thanks for the “hooray”.hanzi isn’t my problem. i find writing easier than remember the grammar. that’s what i worry about. should have it all down to a tea, or what? should i still expect myself to make mistakes?

“Should you expect yourself to make mistakes”??? Don’t you expect learners of English to make mistakes, even after many years?? Heck, I can hardly say my own phone number, and it doesn’t matter what language you want me to do it in. And you don’t even want to see my Chinese teacher roll her eyes helplessly at the sheer awfulness of what I’ve just said, and that’s after 20 years in the game.

I can’t believe the crap that Chinese teachers lay on their students sometimes…(I’m talking collectively, like in brain-washing!) about how they should know every single thing that has ever been mentioned even once in class, every character that has been seen once, etc. You need repetition to learn things. That’s the way it is. So, slowly, little by little, you will learn it. But don’t beat yourself up on the way.
Just remember that your goal (I presume) is to master the language, not to “pass the book” or “cover the book”. So please take what’s useful and throw out the dross on the way. And there is plenty of dross in the AV series to be thrown out, believe me.

I agree with ironlady, you should just “pass” the book, Some are eager to finish Book1, just so they can get into Book 2, so they are kinda rush when it goes to the last few lessons of Book 1. Personal think, learning a language (or anything) should make godo foundation. So I’d rather to go over the basic more, then get myself into another step…
By the way, ironlady, I don’t think you’ll have too much trouble on reading your phone number, as I remember, I met you once around Shi Da area, and your Chinese was just, great.

i know, but its so FRUSTRATING!!! i learn one grammar pattern, think i understand it, then i don’t even realize when my teacher is asking me a question that that’s the grammar pattern she expects me to answer with! specifically the “ba3” construction. and now i’m on the “zhe5” pattern. what am i not clueing in on? shouldn’t my ear be trained to recognize when i need to use these patterns in my response?

Needless to feel frustrating.
There are way more than one way to response a question. So, no matter how you answer the question, as long as it’s the right answer, then it’s good. If a teacher is expecting you to answer with some particular word, she/he should make the point, such like "Please say this with “Ba3"”, otherwise, there is no reason for you to feel bad about it.

Personally I never tried to learn grammar, and while I’m not claiming that it’s great, it’s the least of my worries. I think you learn most of your grammar through listening to people. It probably only matters if you plan on doing a lot of writing, and seeing as most people never do any, you can cross that bridge when you come to it. Anyway, that’s the best thing for grammar. Listen and listen and see what people say.


Yes, listening to others is very important for learning languages. But, somehow I found, listening without saying it doesn’t help alot. The better way is you listen to others,and try to use it just so it will become your knowledge, and the best way is someone there correcting you if you say that wrong. Well, best than best is you remember what others tell you, too. I’ve been studying english for more than 5 years, I got alot of friends they speak english, so I have alot of chance to practice my listening. I also have chance to use what I learned from them. But the thing is, rarely your friends will correct your grammar as long as they can understand. So my english grammar is still poor, and I’m going back to the very very beginning to start over my grammar. (It shows when you are trying to write something). So, if you only learn it for communicate with people, then it doesn’t really matter your grammar is good or bad. Unless you’re trying to write. Advice is, ask your chinese speaking friends to correct your grammar when they heard your wrong sentence ifyou really want to get your grammar right.

This isn’t really hindsight (I guess), but why not go buy book 2 shang and start working on it now. Flip through it, get confortable with it, read what you can, it can’t hurt.

Here’s my current situation. I’ve memorized all of the vocabulary and characters for Book 1, I can listen and understand the VCD’s up to lesson 17 and I’ve only done the work book through chapter five. Now I’m working through the work book, listening to the VCD’s and already started memorizing the characters from book 2shang.

I find that just knowing the vocabulary is helping my listening a lot more. I’m able to hear other people use the words, ask them about it and try it out myself. Also watching HBO or anything with subtitles (English or Chinese) let’s me see the “grammer” in use and I’m always making new relations from watching T.V. and stuff.

Just keep telling yourself that you’re not on a deadline (unless you are of course) and take your time. I hope all that rambling helps (some how).

On our friend “ba3”:

“ba3” just means “take that sucker and…” or, in the good ol’ hillbilly dialect of the US, “take and…”

So, you use it when you’re gonna wail on something (it’s usually a negative result, or at least neutral).

Take that sucker book and put it on the table = ba3 shu1 fang4zai4 zhuo1zi3 shang4.

It’s just that they make things so complicated. My students learn 'ba3" on the first day of class and they have no problem whatsoever with it. In fact, I never explain anything more than the above. :wink:

If I can massacre any other grammar points for you, please do let me know! :smiley:

I finished the AV series and I didn’t have any difficulties going from 1 to 2shang (well, I studied like a madman back then anyway).

Don’t get intimidated by the lack of English translations. As you will notice when you take a look at the first chapter, the dialogues are still very basic and you should do just fine with the book 1 vocab.

If you want to stick with the AV series, the step from 2xia to 3 is quite big and 3 is definitely the weakest volume of AV; still worth a try, if only for the vocab.

I can’t quite understand ironlady’s complaints about the AV series. Maybe she could elaborate on this a bit. I am sincerely interested.

Hoo boy…most people wouldn’t dare dangle something like that in front of me…

Why the AV Series is Weak:

  1. Lack of principled repetition. This is the big one. Vocabulary is presented (in too-large quantites at a time) and then dropped. Lessons present, for example, a chart listing dozens of resultative verbs, which are almost never seen again. Even within a lesson, a given term might appear only once or twice.

  2. Usage is very slanted toward the Mainland. Verbs like “zhao3zhao2” haven’t been heard on Taiwan for a dog’s age, and students become frustrated when they memorize this stuff and then get puzzled looks from locals. (This is a local complaint, but it does cause problems, and the usages are not marked as being primarily ML or primarily TW, something which would help students out.)

  3. Content is not fascinating for the most part. A few surprises here and there wouldn’t hurt.

  4. Exercises are almost completely of the no-context, single-sentence type. This essentially throws away a great chance to present more, longer and realistic texts to the student. Single-sentence questions are easier to write, but have little meaning, and many are fairly ridiculous, angling to obtain one answer from the vocabulary in the lesson in a fairly artificial way. (cf. the 2nd lesson resultative verbs). With a little more effort, exercise could be contextualized and made much more relevant.

  5. Varying the vocabulary more, rather than taking a strict thematic approach, would make it easier to learn. It’s easier to learn “winter” today, “spring” tomorrow, etc. than to learn a whole bunch of similar items at the same time. But I’m sure people will come out of the woodwork to disagree on that one.

  6. The content of the book is cartoonish to the point of amazement. I realize they don’t want to date the book, but could we assume that we are writing it basically for adult learners, and maybe put in a few more practical bits here and there?

  7. This isn’t the book, but the way it’s commonly taught: tingxie (dictation) tests do nothing for the student other than to test lots of things at the same time, so that we can’t tell what the student knows and whe he doesn’t know (i.e., we can’t tell why the error occurred, so it is of no help in adjusting the instruction, which should be the goal of testing). The only advantage is that they’re easy to correct and require no preparation on the teacher’s part. This in turn feeds the teacher culture of “oh, those students just don’t study enough” which then blinds them to any possibility of updating their instructional materials or methods.

  8. There is no extensive exposure to the vocabulary items in new and varied contexts outside of the “reading” or “dialogue” for the lesson. This might be interpreted as a supplemental reader (oh, the very idea! I’m sure this has never even occurred to anyone) but it’s important for students to have extensive, level-appropriate reading (no more than 10% unknowns) at their level in order to develop grammar and fluency.

If you taught German, French or Spanish in the West using this kind of textbook and these methods, you would be out of a job rapidly, as your school would be empty.

'Nuff said. Go ahead and disagree if you want but I stick firmly to the above. Thank God I’m only teaching migrant workers now, and I can use slightly more modern methods in so doing. :smiley:

Of course, if there was a book that satisfied all of Ironlady’s criteria, it would take most of the grinding memorization work out of learning Chinese. An utterly unthinkable goal for any local educators. :wink:

i really appreciate everyone’s feedback on my topic. i will certainly take everyone suggestions and try to incorporate them into my learning process. maybe i will pick up book 2 shang and give it a look through. i also wonder if i should put my life on hold, quit my job and sign up for Shida classes. maybe i need the foundation they offer. who knows. maybe that’s part of my problem, i just don’t have enough classroom time.
thank you ironlady for the ba3 explanation. i had the feeling it was meant for wailing… :slight_smile: