Fundamental Spoken Chinese introduces most of the basic grammatical patterns of modern spoken Mandarin in a carefully planned, graduated fashion. Every chapter follows the same organisational format and includes: key grammar points, new vocabulary items arranged by part of speech, sentence patterns, and four or five short dialogues illustrating contextual use of each new grammar pattern and vocabulary item. Non-technical explanations of grammar are written from the perspective of the English-speaking learner and are illustrated with multiple sentences in simple chart form. When appropriate, vocabulary and culture notes are provided, together with numerous drills, exercises, and in-class activities. Finally, English-Chinese translation exercises help determine how well students have mastered the chapter's grammar and vocabulary. The authors of Fundamental Spoken Chinese and its accompanying text, Fundamental Written Chinese, treat spoken and written language as two different but related systems that are most effectively learned by delinking the sequence in which the particulars of each system are taught. Such an approach insures that reading and writing skills are firmly grounded in the spoken vocabulary and grammar previously learned. Both volumes are designed to provide students with a systematic, knowledge-based approach to speaking, listening, reading, and writing Chinese.
Robert Sanders is senior lecturer in Chinese at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Nora Yao is senior tutor in the School of Asian Studies and director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.