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Chinese Textbook Review – Developing Chinese (发展汉语)

The Developing Chinese (2nd edition) has been published based on the well-designed structure of the 1st edition. This series of textbooks are learning tools strategically crafted for those who want to seriously learn and improve their knowledge and skills in the Chinese language.

For Whom:

This series of Chinese Language Learning Textbooks are intended for:

  • self-taught Chinese learners.
  • undergraduates who major in the Chinese language.
  • students enrolling in long-term programs both inside and outside China.

Design:

There are 28 volumes with a total of 34 books that are divided into elementary, intermediate and advanced levels. Each level has five different series which include: the comprehensive textbooks, the listening, the speaking, the reading, and the writing. These textbooks are systematical-designed and well-organized. The purpose of the design is to aid learner’s progress in his language skills, integrate Chinese capabilities as well as enhance their learning interest.

Among these, “the comprehensive textbooks” is the main learning resource material and the most widely used. Other series are taken as supporting materials that can help strengthen the specific areas of the Chinese Language Learning which the learners need to master. Thus, the following is mainly a review of the comprehensive series of books. 

Structure:

The elementary level is for the total beginners and elementary level learners.

The intermediate level contains a vocabulary of 2000 – 2500 words.

The advanced level contains a vocabulary of 3500 – 4000 words.

Comprehensive Series Suggested Numbers of classes * Class Hours
Elementary volume 1 30 * 9
Elementary volume 2 25 * 6
Intermediate volume 1 15 * 6
Intermediate volume 2 15 * 6
Advanced volume 1 15 * 6
Advanced volume 2 15 * 6

Achievements & Content:

The elementary level (2 volumes):

It aims to help learners to solve the most fundamental problems during their daily life and study. It’s about improving the comprehensive abilities such as listening and speaking skills.

There are a total of 30 lessons in volume 1. The topics are arranged from the introduction, basic social interactions, fundamental description of objects or issues and etc. A total beginner can even start with this volume because the whole pronunciation part is taught at the beginning of the lesson. The introduction has three parts which are the phonetic section, text section (text, vocabulary, grammar, exercises) and characters section.

 After learning all the phonetics, the last two remaining sections in each lesson will gradually remove pinyin from the texts in a reasonable pacing to ensure mastery.

There are 25 lessons in volume 2. The topics vary from daily activities such as travel experience to lifestyles. Each lesson contains commonly used grammar, word order, and sentence pattern. You can also learn some Chinese slang and culture. From this volume, all vocabulary, grammar, exercises, and cultural lessons are all based on the main article. Understanding each reading passage is the key to learn how this language works in daily life context. There are also several questions right next to each paragraph in order to inspire you to understand the content better. The exercise part is also very abundant including the grammar exercises and the general comprehensive exercises.

The intermediate level (2 volumes):

There are 15 lessons in each intermediate volume. There are diverse topics and genres mostly associated with modern society including Chinese celebrities’ stories, social problems, and some articles from magazines or books. All the topics are also very communicative and conversational since it also reflects the real life of Chinese people. It focuses on helping the learners train their expressions in paragraphs and the organization of simple texts. Learners can also know some basic knowledge about Chinese culture as well as developing cross-cultural consciousness. There is a language point summary after every five lessons. In each lesson, there are key grammar points or sentence patterns to learn. After the 2 volumes of books, you can reach the intermediate level.

The advanced level (2 volumes):

The advanced level volumes aim to help learners understand complicated language materials on various occasions. This encourages learners to exchange ideas with others on common topics and enable them to utilize general narrative, expository and argumentative expression. After learning with this series, learners can understand the major concepts and spirit of Chinese culture.

There are 15 lessons in each advanced volume. Language is used in more professional and higher contexts such as idioms and slangs. Learners will be able to understand and express appreciation more of the modern and traditional Chinese culture.      

The first part of the advanced level is quite different from the previous elementary and intermediate levels. The first part of the advanced level mainly focuses on learning characters and vocabulary words. The first volume uses the radicals and the formation of characters to help the learners review and get a more systematic understanding of the Chinese characters. The second volume focuses on the formation of words that help them sort out the words that may have already learned and to memorize new words.

Materials:

Each Volume includes an MP3 CD containing audio recordings to help you with vocabulary pronunciation, texts and listening practices.

Exercise

Each volume provides diverse types of exercises, questions, and multi-level exercises. All three levels have their own particular emphasis. For example, the elementary level focuses more on the pronunciation drills; the intermediate level focuses more on the grammar exercises; the advanced level particular emphasizing the systematic formation of words and comprehensive understanding of the article.

JING CAO

JING CAO

Jing Cao is the chief-editor and co-founder of DigMandarin. She has a master's degree in Chinese Linguistics and Language Aquisition and has taught thousands of students for the past years. She devotes herself to the education career of making Chinese learning easier throughout the world.

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