05 Feb 2004
by 李铭起 (BCLU Press, 1999-2000)
Review by: Roddy
There are nine books in the 汉语听力 course, three each at elementary, intermediate and advanced. I’ve used about five of them, from Elementary 3 onwards.\r\n\r\nI’ve always been really impressed by them because:
- They’re really well designed – difficult vocab is pre-taught, there’s a mix of longer and shorter listening pieces, questions are pitched very well and there’s a mix of multiple choice / true-false / fill-in-the-blanks and open-ended questions.
- The listening pieces are infinitely more interesting than some of the ‘Visiting the Factory’ and ‘China is the World’s Most Populous Country’ stuff you get sometimes. Flicking through the books I have handy you’ve got people complaining about pushing on a bus, jokes, daft stories like ‘My Husband’s Ugly as Sin but I Love Him Anyway’ and stuff. There’s a bit of the ‘34% of China’s 463,432 lakes…’ kind of things as well, but not too much.
- The pieces are very conversational, especially early on – stuff like 真没想到, 没劲 and so on.
Apart from the new vocabulary these books are entirely in characters – you’ll need a certain reading level just to follow the questions – and even the new vocab is given only in characters and pinyin, so you’ll be reaching for your dictionary a lot. There are tapescripts at the back of the books.
I don’t know how available they are abroad. If you type in 汉语听力 in the search box on the BCLU Press page linked above, you’ll find them though. I won’t give ISBN numbers here as there’d have to be nine of them (more with tapes) but you can get them from the BCLU page. Just make sure you’re looking at the right level / book.
Listening is probably one of the stronger aspects of my Chinese, and I think this course had a lot to do with it. I also recommended them to someone who studied Chinese at university for four years and she said they were the best books she’d ever used.
The books are very useful prep for the HSK exam – listening pieces and answers are very similar to what you’ll get in the listening exam (Elementary/Intermediate anyway).
Originally published on the Chinese Language and Culture Forums. Used with permission.