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CLS - Beginning Chinese (2 CD's)
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BEGINNING CHINESE provides language instruction for use inside and outside the classroom, either as a supplement, or as a self-instructional tool. The program includes 20 lessons and an additional introductory lesson on some key aspects of Mandarin Chinese and the Chinese writing system. Be sure to begin with the introductory lesson, since it will give you crucial background information for all your lessons. Each lesson consists of a dialogue (text, video, audio), hyperlinked grammatical and cultural notes, as well as several types of exercises. Also, at the end of each lesson are hyperlinks to supplemental lessons, cultural capsules, graphics, and reference material.
Within each lesson, you can work in several different modes. After getting as much as possible from the oral and visual sources, listen to the dialogue while following its written form. This mode allows you to listen to the whole text, as well as to sentences and words individually, if desired. At the word level you can follow links to grammatical and cultural footnotes, all explained in English. In addition, you can access an audio English translation of words and sentences at any time, although the written lesson texts are only available in Chinese characters and Romanization (Chinese written in the same letters that are used to write English).
When you are confident about your general comprehension of the lesson text, you can go through several exercises which offer immediate correction, and can be repeated as many times as desired:
Pronunciation allows learners to compare their own pronunciation to that of a Cantonese native speaker. This interactive multimedia language tool offers learners native pronunciation they can use at any time, and more efficiently than audio or video tape.
Finally, get acquainted with a couple of internet web sites that provide a wealth of information and Chinese-related links that provide opportunities for you to go beyond the information in the lessons and explore the language on your own:The University of Arizona Critical Languages Program
The Chinese Language Teachers Association
BEGINNING CHINESE is designed to be flexible and to be used in a variety of settings, so the sequence that is best for you depends on your learning goals. However, you might consider the following Suggested Activity List, adapting it to your own needs.
Get acquainted with the main dialogue by going through it in the different modes available (word, sentence, pronunciation and meaning, etc.). Start with the second lesson. Before you check the translation, try to get some general ideas by finding words/phrases you already know. Much of what we read or hear is understood by context rather than by word comprehension. Nobody learns everything there is to know in a language--even in English you probably hear words you are unfamiliar with and have to guess the meaning by context (for example, do you know what sonoluminescence means?). It is the same with Chinese.
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