Colloquial Chinese : The Complete Course for Beginners book cover
3rd Edition

Colloquial Chinese
The Complete Course for Beginners

ISBN 9781138388291
Published January 26, 2021 by Routledge
450 Pages 45 B/W Illustrations

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USD $52.95

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Book Description

Colloquial Chinese: The Complete Course for Beginners has been carefully developed by a leading academic in Chinese language teaching and course design.

Based on feedback from learners and teachers who used its previous version, this new edition has been updated to reflect the language and cultural changes in China, such as online shopping and WeChat payment, and to provide a more integrated and step-by-step approach to making the learning of modern Mandarin Chinese more effective and enjoyable.

Combining a clear, practical and accessible style with a methodical and thorough treatment of the language, it equips learners with the essential knowledge and skills needed to communicate confidently and effectively in Chinese in a broad range of situations. No prior knowledge of the language is required.

Colloquial Chinese is exceptional; each unit presents a wealth of grammatical points that are reinforced with a wide range of exercises for regular practice. A full answer key, a grammar summary, bilingual glossaries and English translations of dialogues can be found at the back, as well as transcripts of listening practice exercises.

Key features include:

  • A clear, user-friendly format designed to help learners progressively build up their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills
  • Jargon-free, succinct and clearly structured explanations of grammar
  • Step by step introduction of Chinese characters
  • An extensive range of focused and dynamic supportive exercises
  • A combination of listening, reading and speaking activities with the support of transcripts at the back of the book
  • Realistic and entertaining dialogues covering a broad variety of narrative situations
  • Helpful cultural points explaining the customs and features of life in China
  • An overview of the Chinese language: its sounds, structure and Chinese characters

Balanced, comprehensive and rewarding, Colloquial Chinese is an indispensable resource both for independent learners and students taking courses in Chinese as well as teachers of Chinese.

Audio material to accompany the course is available to download free in MP3 format from Recorded by native speakers, the audio material features the dialogues, new words and listening practice exercises from the book and will help develop your listening and speaking skills.

Table of Contents


Acknowledgements ix


1 Hěn gāoxìng jiàndào nǐ 很高兴见到你

Very pleased to meet you

2 Xìngmíng, guójí hé niánlíng 姓名、国籍和年龄

Name, nationality and age

3 Zài gōngsī de jùhuì shang Jiā hé péngyŏu家和朋友

Family and friends

4 Wèn shíjiān 问时间

Asking the time

5 Jiārén hé péngyou Zài pàiduì shàng 在派对上

Family and friends At a party

6 Rìqī hé tiānqì 日期和天气

The date and the weather

7 Wèn lù 问路

Asking for directions

8 Mǎi dōngxi 买东西


9 Wǎngshàng gòuwù网上购物

Shopping online

10 Diǎn cài 点菜

Order food 190

11 Dă dī hé mǎi huōchē piào 打的和买火车票

Taking the taxi and buying train tickets

12 Zài jiŭdiàn 在酒店

At the hotel

13 Dǎ diànhuà 打电话

Making telephone calls

14 Tànqīn hé lǚyóu 探亲和旅游

Vising family and travel

15 Míngxìnpiàn hé wēxìn 明信片和微信

Postcard and WeChat

Grammar summary

Answers to Exercises and Reading/listening practices

Transcripts in pinyin for Listening/reading practices

Chinese–English glossary

English–Chinese pinyin glossary

Appendix A: Dialogues in characters for Lessons 1 and 2

Appendix B: English translations of dialogues/texts from Lessons 3 to 15

Appendix C: Table of combinations of the initials and finals in Putonghua

Appendix D: Useful signs

Index to language and cultural notes

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Kan Qian is Senior Lecturer in Chinese at The Open University, Senior Fellow of the British Higher Education Academy, and Bye-Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge.