I’ve been using the Audio Visual Chinese series for most of my study needs. These texts are also referred to as the “Shi Da” texts. I am currently in book 2 down ( 下 ). I will start book three when I am done. I guess I am concerned that I will soon run out of books. I am wondering what people do after finishing this series. I like the way they’re laid out and I’m worried I won’t find anything similar once I’ve finished them. Anyone have any suggestions? Is there life after Audio Visual Chinese ?
as you know we’re just starting on this book series in our lessons out here. Man I hope by the time I get to the end of book 3 I’ll be done with needing books…
You should try the newspapers, short novels, etc. Once you get past a certain point, you need to stop using prepared lessons as a crutch. There are other more advanced text books, but nothing that great (and personally I don’t think the Shida books are that special either).
You are probably right. I’ll just have to see, when I get there, what exactly my needs and abilities are.
I think the Audio Visual Chinese are acceptable, from my perspective as a learner. Certainly they are the most popular here, being used by most Chinese programs aimed at foreign students. Without the aid of formal studies in the form of a degree program, I’d say they are the best one could hope for. I tried the Far East series, but didn’t like them. I guess I find AVC is more immersive, where Far East holds your hand a little more. Far from perfect, though; I agree.
I recently picked up a series called “Classical Chinese: A basic reader” Heard of it? I am trying to suppliment the text work with supplimentary materials and, as you say, trying to minimize my need for crutches.
Thank you very much for your input, BTW.
I’m in almost exactly the same boat you are. I’m about half way done with 2下 right now. I have bought book #3, and plan on finishing that as well. I took a look at the ShiDa curriculum webpage and saw some of the other materials they use. They also use some Business Conversations texts, but I’m not sure if I really need to learn some of those specialized vocabulary words or not. I went ahead and bought a book that is called something like Practical Newspaper Readings. Hopefully that’ll give me a good introduction to reading newspapers, and I’ll see where that takes me. You can find that book at the ShiDa bookstore on HePing E Rd.
Hope that helps a little. Post if you find anything else that is useful!
I’m only on Chapter five of the AVC series (assuming you mean Practical Audio Visual Chinese) and I’ve found it quite useful. I also bought the VCD’s that go with book one and they’ve helped me to improve my listening. I like the books because I study by myself, and they are rather user friendly I’ve found. As has been said above, I certainly hope there wont really be a need for more books after book three!! But I’m pretty well versed in the MPS system (as I taught myself that first and learnt it by rote), so I’ve also bought some basic children’s books which have characters and the MPS next to the character. This has improved my vocabulary I think.
Also, as I’ve said, I’m only on book one chapter five, but this has taken me around three months. The last two months I’ve just been practising writing and reading, along with the kiddies newspaper you can buy at any old 7-11. I’m really going about this the long way round, but I feel it is more beneficial to my vocabulary and also my speaking, reading and writing skills are coming along nicely. I also almost only speak Chinese to my Taiwanese friends (which is confusing half the time) but I feel this method works for me.
I reckon you should just supplement were you can and find a method that works for you. After all (I assume) you’re in no real rush are you? I’m just going at my pace and doing what works for me. Just find your “zone”.
And good luck.
P.S. Do kinda wish I was on book two already though . Will probably take me another year to finish book one.
I asked my husband. He’s been studying Chinese for more then 4 years. He suggested a book called
A New China: Intermediate Reader of Modern Chinese
by: Chih-p’ing Chou, Joanne Chiang and Jianna Eagar
This is one of the books he used for and independent study course in school. He said it should not be too difficult and will have enough explainations and notes to be helpful. The book is also full of a lot of reading especially in dialoge form.
I’m appreciating all the feedback. Amy, do you know where these books are available for sale? Would they also be at the Shi da bookstore, like the volumes scomargo recommended? I know I’m going to take a trip there soon.
Steve, I think I have that book sitting in my closet drawer. Is that Tseng & Tsui publishers A New Text for a Modern China? There’s a few others I have that may be interesting. But some of the material you’ll want to have a native to sit down with and help you figure out how to use. <edit: I just reread that post and noticed that it’s not the same book.>
I’d also suggest Reading Chinese Newspapers: Tactics and Skills. There’s a lot about reading newspapers that’s different. It’s not a great textbook but I don’t know of one better for that purpose.
And for Classical Chinese (at which I’m a beginner myself) I really like the textbook Language of the Dragon.
After that point you really should be ready to learn by self-study. But for a great transition Contemporary Chinese Fiction: Four Short Stories has a very nice list of vocabulary in the back to supplement the stories.
You shouldn’t be needing textbooks after book three (of that hideous, though well-laden with sentence patterns, series). I would recommend the real version of Radio Plays from IUP. There seem to be two; you want the harder one with the sky blue cover. Loads of sentence patterns.
Shida, to my surprise has two decent books for newspaper reading, but then they’re not indispensible or anything. Of course, I am not familiar with any other books for newspaper reading, so I don’t know.
Mostly you’ll need some reading material and a native speaker with a clue to ask questions.
If you read Zhuyin Fuhao, I very highly recommend ‘kids’ books. In Taipei, the best places to find them are the Shilin Eslite, some large place all the way down the pres office end of Bookstore Street (the name of which escapes me), and the $69 Bookstore near Shida.
Where does one get this Radio Plays thing?
The bookstore next to Shida used to have the book. The police radio station still does radio plays–in the middle of the night. They’re a lot more current than any book you might buy in a bookstore, though they still seem a little out of date. Overall, they’re good for improving listening comprehension.
And the Police radio station is at what frequency? Oh, and what’s the name of the radio plays thing - just Radio Plays? This’s really got my interest, 'cause listening comprehension is most definitely my weakest point.
FM 106.5, I think. Usually between 3-5 A.M. They may do it in the daytime, but I don’t listen in the daytime. There’s no announcement before they do it–they just start it, normally at the top of the hour. The plays go on for fifteen minutes to an hour. They are basically propaganda-- encouragaing all people to do the right thing.
I disagree with this. The third book doesn’t even get a student up to a level where they are weaned off of explanations in English. The book is really only a reading book with some ok grammar and usage notes and a few exercises. It does not provide practice in all skill areas and its layout is not even very good for building better reading skills. It doesn’t include a wide range of genres in its reading texts. I don’t see how a student could efficiently handle much in the way of authentic materials after finishing this book.
The Shida book might get you up to about the level of someone who’s finished semester one of year two at a place like BLCU. By the end of year two of the degree program there, you would be pretty well finished with books that have any explanations in L1. Being ready for books with no L1 doesn’t mean that you’re ready for full-on ungraded, authentic language, nor does it mean you are ready to use school books for students whose L1 is Chinese. Such materials can and should be used as supplements to give students a taste of the real deal, but they should not form the core of the curriculum.
For someone who has finished the third Shida book, I would recommend getting some of the year two books from BLCU Press. The semester two books should be about right, and may still seem a bit easy. Spend a bit of time bumping through those. They’ll give you exposure to a wider range of genre than the Shida books and the methodology is generally superior. Once you feel confident with that stuff, then get into the year three books. They’ll have nothing but Chinese. It’s graded and edited Chinese, but if you’re not used to materials that only use the target language, then it may take some adjustment. In the year two books, you’ll have already gotten into a lot of authentic texts that have been cut and edited. The year three books are nothing but authentic Chinese from magazines, newspapers, anthologies and novels. The grading varies, but you will definitely need to have built up a strong tolerance for ambiguity and know what to ignore if you are going to handle them. Unless a student who’s finished the third book from Shida has had an extremely strong teacher who has brought in a lot of supplementary materials to build scanning and skimming skills, I can’t imagine such a student being ready for year three materials from BLCU, much less unedited authentic materials. If you try to go from the third Shida book to authentic materials, you will be jumping a very wide canyon. There is absolutely nothing wrong with continuing to use CFL textbooks after the third Shida book. Actually, you would be missing out on a lot of necessary, targeted language practice if you were to go straight into authentic stuff. For a student in Taiwan, the only problem is finding suitable materials. To be honest, though, if I could get my hands on some of the better materials from the mainland and find a teacher who would teach me with them, I would ditch the Shida materials as soon as possible. IMHO, they’re rubbish.
Just curious, do any of those BLCU books have traditional characters?
Unfortunately, they are all in simplified characters. It does take a little while to get used to reading simplified Chinese, but I think anybody who’s reached intermediate level (i.e., someone who’s finished the 3rd Shida book) could handle it without too much frustration. IMO, regardless of what system you start with, you should a least learn to read the other system at some point in your studies. For some of the BLCU books, the layout and methodology are so good that the hassle of switching over to simplified characters is well worth it.
Mr. Turkey, my dear friend Jive, it has been some time since we have last met (at a certain other forum). Please do note that I underlined ‘needing’. I, for one, literally collect CFL materials even though I’ve been reading Chinese books for a couple of years now. My brain needs constant review and requires that even the most obvious things be worked from a variety of angles. I was just saying that one could do it. I did after Shida 2A,B and Taiwan Today. I know others who have done the same. Again, I still use CFL materials to review and learn new things or old things in new ways. But I was and remain impatient to start dinner. Now, please tell me more about these BCLU materials and a website where I can order them. Anything else you’d like to recommend? I am already familiar with New World Press’ stuff. I live in a city in China where the two largest bookstores have not one CFL book, so I’d like to know more, especially how to order it since the bookstores here won’t.
Tetsuo, while the book with tapes is useful for listening comprehension, the tapes cannot be purchased (as far as I know). But the book has a lot of sentence patterns that I have not seen in any other book – and you here them used. Also, much of the vocabulary is useful, if a bit too centered on funerals.
It is available from either Lucky Bookstore or the bookstore on the 6th floor of CCLC. The cover has the following
[a big circle with part in brackets below going around the circle in seal script]
[the below written in Chinese (I’m too lazy)]
International Chinese language Program
Nationall Taiwan University
[quote=“yonglan”] Now, please tell me more about these BCLU materials and a website where I can order them. Anything else you’d like to recommend? I am already familiar with New World Press’ stuff. I live in a city in China where the two largest bookstores have not one CFL book, so I’d like to know more, especially how to order it since the bookstores here won’t.
Hi Yonglan. You can browse all of BLCU Press’s books here.
I’ve been pretty happy with most of the books I’ve bought from the four year degree program series (对外汉语本科系列教材), but I’ve bought books from other BLCU series. Some of my favourites have been:
http://www.blcup.com.cn/list/bookdetail.asp?prodid=56-provides excellent reading practice. I found some of the year two materials a bit easy, but this one is really well structured and good practice for people who are already pretty advanced. The main point of the book is to build the learner’s scanning and skimming skills.
http://www.blcup.com.cn/list/bookdetail.asp?prodid=40-two books, really good listening/conversation practice. The recordings are fairly natural.
http://www.blcup.com.cn/list/bookdetail.asp?prodid=215-more good listening practice. The recording quality is not great but is alright, and the converstations are pretty natural. The staging is better than the book above. There are a few books in the series. Most of the content in the highest book is full-on authentic stuff from TV and radio shows; the stuff in the lower books can be pretty authentic feeling, too.
http://www.blcup.com.cn/list/bookdetail.asp?prodid=156 and http://www.blcup.com.cn/list/bookdetail.asp?prodid=54 are both year three books; they seem to serve as sort of “language arts” texts. They’re both published by BLCU, but the first one was written by folks at Nanjing Normal U. The second one is used at BLCU. I’ve used both and I greatly preferred the Nanjing Normal U one. It was much more user friendly. Both have their weaknesses, i.e. not providing enough examples for language points, relying to much on deductive rather than inductive approaches to grammar teaching, but I’ve found them pretty helpful for dealing with modern literature.
I’ve used a few other books, but these are the ones that I enjoyed the most. As you’ll notice from the links, you can order directly from the BLCU website. Unfortunately, you can’t use a credit card and it is a complete pain in the ass to order from outside the mainland. Fortunately, as you live on the mainland, you can utilize the pay through post system there to order. I would recommend getting into a bigger city to browse, though. Living in HK, I’ve always gotten my fix in Guangzhou, but I’m sure that Shanghai and Beijing will have infinitely larger selections. Having originally studied in Taiwan, I just wasn’t aware of what was available for CFL materials before I went to Guangzhou. If you were to ask my wife, she would tell you that I was a changed man after I found all these materials in Guangzhou. I had exhausted everything available in Taiwan and HK and felt like I was hitting a brick wall. It was really putting me in a pissy mood for over a year. When I saw the quantity and quality of materials on the shelves in Guangzhou, I was dumbstruck. I actually began to cry as if I were some poor bastard who had been wandering in the desert and then finally found water. I now go over to Guangzhou every six months or so to see what new stuff they have. I usually spend about RMB500 every time, which as you surely know, means a damn lot of books on the mainland. I hope you can find something you like.
I have a massive library of books which I invested in. I also have numerous audios to go with the readings. For books for which there is no audio, I got a Chinese actress to read it for me. And I have found some books which have a reading but it is slop, so I had my friend re-read the book. The materials I’m referring to include both educational materiials and Chinese translations of books you’ve probably read already in English. My set includes numerous childrens books and books to prepare for the HSK. I went to Beijing Books in Beijing one day and bought almost all the books appropriate to a native Chinese boy of 10-14 years old. Very few people get past Shida book 2 and less than .1% get to a professional competency.