© 1997 – 2006 Patrick Hassel Zein
This page was last updated 21.12.2006
Here are some suggestions of educational literature, dictionaries, computer programmes and books related to the Chinese language that all can be found in my bookshelf. All are published quite recently and should hopefully be possible to order at most larger and helpful bookstores. The list is sorted by language (represented by the flags, of course).
The Rosetta Stone Language Library, made by Fairfield Language Technologies. This CD-ROM is available in more than 20 languages. The system teaches languages in the natural way that children learn languages; by seeing images while hearing and/or reading words related to the images. A very simple concept, but very accurately constructed, fun to use and frightfully effective! It will cost you quite some bucks, but the investment will surely pay off! For more information: see among my Chinese links under the group "Tools"!
A Modern Book of a Thousand Characters, Zhang Pengpeng, Beida University press, ISBN 7-301-02892-X. This book describes 1234 of the most common Chinese characters in both simplified and complete forms, with pronunciations and examples. 50 short chapters are written around sentences and phrases including the characters presented. A nice and very educating book! (Price in 1998: 140 SEK, in China 25 RMB)
Best Chinese Idioms, ISBN 962-238-033-6. A beautiful book with more than 200 Chinese idioms in Chinese and English nicely illustrated. These stories all make you think for a while – usually with a smile on your lips.
Chinese – a Complete Course for Beginners, Elizabeth Scurfield, ISBN 0-340-51959-2. You can surely find a lot of English books to study Chinese, this is just one that I happened to find in Sweden and it is really quite all right.
Chinese-English Dictionary, Revised Edition, The English Institution Of Beijing's College For Foreign Languages, ISBN 7-5600-0739-2. This is a very complete and useful dictionary that recently has been revised and completed with even more entries. It also happens to be the most popular dictionary among students on higher levels at our University! In Sweden this book can be bought at Gleerups Bokhandel in Lund (price in 1997 around 460 SEK), but it's a lot cheaper in China (around 130 RMB).
Chinese-English Dictionary, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press, ISBN 7-313-01162-8/H.316. The more than 200.000 characters and phrases in this extra large and heavy dictionary have been divided into two books. This work will come in very handy when some characters or phrases simply are not to be found anywhere else! I have never seen these books being sold anywhere outside Chinese, but if you really need that complete dictionary, you can always try to order this one. Price: 248 RMB.
NITE software – CD-ROM games, computer programmes about etymology and more. All very interesting and pedagogic. This company unfortunately seems to have disappeared from the Internet...
The Origins of Chinese Characters, Wang Hongyuan, ISBN 7-80052-243-1or 0-8351-2616-1. This book is full of examples and illustrations explaining the development of at least 500 characters. Unfortunately the book is so overcrowded by examples that it looks a bit chaotic...
Outline Of Classical Chinese Grammar, Pulleyblank, Edwin G., UBC Press 1995, ISBN 0774805412. A true jewel for anyone that has reached a higher level in studies of the Chinese language! Possibly a bit expensive for those who don't live in the US, but well worth every penny, if you want to be able to read classical Chinese works.
Outrageous Chinese – A Guide to Chinese Street Language, James J. Wang, ISBN 0-8351-2532-7. Warning: This book contains words that may be considered vulgar or offensive in Chinese or English. Not too large, but a lot of fun and certainly a good help to avoid saying the wrong things by mistake...
Oxford Starter Chinese Dictionary, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-860258-8. This dictionary is specially made for beginner students of the Chinese language. You can search on Chinese characters, on pronunciation according to Mandarin or on English words. The book presentes around 1,800 Chinese characters, so it cannot be used when reading more advanced texts, but there is a number of useful overvies of measure words, useful everday expressions, countries and languages, games and sports, basic grammar, and so on. In the English-Chinese section, measure words are specified for all nouns. To me, this book is both pedagogical and entertaining, and I can really recommend it. Price in 2006 230 SEK, £9.99, $15.95.
Practical Chinese Grammar for Foreigners, Li Dejin & Cheng Meizhen, ISBN 7-80052-067-6 or 0-8351-1917-3. This is a very detailed and useful book for students at higher levels. It is not suitable for beginners, since none of the examples are translated and no pronunciation is explained. The layout may seem a bit boring and some people find the entire book confusing and hard to read. Personally I think it's an excellent book. Take a closer look and decide for yourself! (Price in 1997 around 220 SEK)
Twin Bridge – Digital dictionary, fonts and assorted Chinese tools. These are all very good tools that make your studies a lot easier. For more information: see among my Chinese links under the group "Tools"!
Wenlin – A lovely tool for leaning and training Chinese. The system doesn't require a Chinese system in the computer. You can use the tool to write your own texts in Chinese and to read Chinese text from disk, but not to surf the Internet. Load any text into Wenlin, and fly over characters and words to get them translated and pronounced. Smart and elegant. A selection of good texts for students on different levels are included in the installation of Wenlin. Older editions of the software can be downloaded for free from www.wenlin.com.
Entwicklung der Chinesischen Schrift am Beispiel von 500 Schriftzeichen, Li Leyi, ISBN 7-5619-0206-9. A rather small but clearly written and nicely illustrated book about Chinese etymology.
Cinese, Grammatica Essenziale, Yuan Huaqing, published by AVallardi, ISBN 88-11-94507-0. Basic grammar (up to one year of full-time studies) clearly explained. All examples with pronunciation and translations. The book also contains sections about dialectal variations, business communication, private letters and, this is a little personal favourite, onomatopoetical interjections! A very good book – if you understand Italian...
Cinese, Dizionario per Immagini, published by AVallardi, ISBN 88-8211-099-0. 5000 drawings showing 7000 words in a both neat and clear way. The words are sorted by areas, such as "at home", "camping", "vehicles" and so on. I suppose you could find this book useful even if you don't understand the Italian translations. The fact that the book is written in Italy has influenced the contents - for example you can find translations of the names of all types of pasta...
Kinesiska – Språket i Mittens Rike, Johan Björkstén, ISBN 91-574-2811-5. A complete and modern book for studying the Chinese language. Probably the best buy for Swedish readers. This is where I first started and it worked out just fine! Cassettes are available, but both book and cassettes may be considered rather expensive...
Svensk-Kinesisk Ordbok, Chen An'en, printed in Taiwan 1999, ISBN 91-630-7950-x. Hooray!!! At last we have a proper Swedish-Chinese dictionary – translating more than 70.000 words! I've checked up unusual, old, modern and mixed words to test the span of this book, and practically everything could be found. At last we can get accurate translations of specifically Swedish words. A pure delight for all true linguists!!! N.B.: the Chinese texts are written with traditional characters and pronunciations are not at all specified, so you need to have previous knowledge in Chinese. Further more, this is a rather expensive book...
Tecknens Rike, Cecilia Lindqvist, ISBN 91-34-50857-0.A large and beautifully illustrated book about Chinese etymology written for a broad audience – both students of Chinese and those that are generally interested in the Chinese culture. Most of my friends just *love* this book – and so do I. Translated to Chinese in 1998 (price around 40 RMB).