Learn Chinese from Modern Writers: An Interactive Multimedia Language Program / Edition 1
Please read this article for more about comprehension-based learning and teaching. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to scaffold your learning and make the text easier. However, one very effective way of reducing the difficulty of a text in Chinese is to be already familiar with it before you start. The method described in this article works for all lengths of texts. You can read a short news article in English first and then read the same article in Chinese. Another place to check out is the Marco Polo Project, where enthusiasts translate articles from Chinese into various languages mostly English.
I had read a few books and wanted more, but rather than wait a year or so, I decided to read the series in English. To reduce the shock, I decided to read from the beginning, including the books I had already read in Swedish. This turned out to be a very good idea indeed. Why is it a good idea to read the Chinese translation of a book you have read and like in English? Thus, reading your first novel in Chinese turns from impossible to merely difficult. This is probably because the translator was paid too little and just rushed through, translating sentence by sentence, sometimes even word by word.
Therefore, when reading some translated novels, you can feel the English behind the sentences. Obviously, this is bad for us as readers, especially if we want to learn Chinese along the way. The best way of checking this as an intermediate learner is to simply ask a native speaker, preferably one who reads a lot, and see what they think. If you buy books online, there are usually previews available you can use for this. Also, note that reading your first novel in Chinese is about reading practise. This is not the time for memorising sentence patterns and detailed studying of syntax. Action, mystery, adventure and fantasy stories are all very good.
Great post! Graded readers enable learners to try to start reading for enjoyment way earlier than they would otherwise. Obviously, I favor Mandarin Companion. Hi John!
I would argue that any normal novel, translated or not, are many time harder than any graded reader, so the goal is a bit different. I will, however, write more about graded readers in future articles! Thanks so much for mentioning Mandarin Companion, John!
I also bought 3 of the Chinese Breeze titles and finished 2 of them — good, but a bit repetitive and not available as ebooks. The Mandarin Companion series is an excellent choice, and they are made to order for reading on an iPhone or iPad — the iOS has several free built-in foreign dictionaries, so I installed the Oxford Chinese-English dictionary, which enables double-clicking characters to bring up the definition.
How and Why to Learn Classical Chinese
Keep the titles coming! Olle, cool tips! Any thoughts on which languages translate better into Chinese? It depends on the quality of the translation, of course, but not only.
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My guess is that the skill of the translator and the time invested in the translation are much more important than source language. I had this experience with Animal Farm which was written in a very simple style in English, yet the Chinese translation became quite literary and full of fancy expressions and literary words no one would ever actually say in real life where something easier would have sufficed. I think this is part of a much more general trend. It seems that in Chinese, using complicated and literary language is associated with being a great author to a much larger extent than in English.
There are numerous great authors in English who are famous for writing simple and yet brilliant fiction. Thanks for the info… secretly sad because I actually thought Animal Farm would be a great book to read in Chinese…. That author in Chinese would be Gu Long … who incidently was inspired to write in a simpler style because of the influences of writers such as Hemingway, Jack London, etc he studied foreign literature in university.
Your article has come just at the right time for me. I never really set a goal of reading a novel in Vietnamese but flipping through one in the library last week I realised my level seems about right to try.
Best 30 Books to Understand Modern China (Recommended by What's on Weibo) | What's on Weibo
The only translated story I have access to is The Little Prince which may not be my first choice but at least I know the story which puts reading it in the realm of possibility, and hopefully a gateway to other things. Thanks for the nudge! This is a great idea! I began reading English language novels I enjoyed from high school when I began studying Spanish in college. Any tips on online projects or other resources for these types of materials? Living in Taiwan has its advantages. I dropped by a local bookstore for a look at Chinese novels to attempt to read.
I suspect that these might be best to avoid if at all possible — though I do have some Agatha Christie novels in both Chinese and English that I let my English students borrow. So I got to the bookstore, looked at the Chinese novels and slowly migrated into the elementry school section, where the texts have BPMF phonetics along side the characters. I guess I am just not ready to drop the training weeks.
Olle, these are great suggestions. Are such translated novels available as ebooks and if so, where can one find them online? Nonetheless, february will be a slow month for me at work, so I would like to use this time to get back into my reading. Can anyone recommend a good novel? I think that reading a normal novel with words will be next to impossible or take an incredibly long time, even if you do it digitally and with a pop-up dictionary.
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I would try out a few graded readers instead! Be creative. You can easily just take a picture of one page from each book and then ask someone online? Reading translated novels can be an option at first. Think of the poems of the Tang, remembering that the Tang was a golden age of poetry. Thousands of Tang poems have been passed down, and many, many more were neglected and disappeared. So these three hundred poems are the best of the best, the cream of the crop. Because of the nature of the Chinese language, and especially Classical, the writing has an unmatched economy, with no grammatical fillers to clutter up the lines.
Why listen to Bach rather than contemporary ear candy? If you understand that, you can understand why learning Classical is a good idea. Have fun, and enjoy! If anyone is contemplating learning Classical Chinese , I would recommend it. Classical Chinese is recommended for those who want to delve deep into Chinese culture….
Completely portable, easily downloadable, and lots of fun. My teacher asked me to introduce a traditional culture to foreigners and we should have some talk about it,SO,if you have interest in this topic,please,just comment below,you can ask questions or just express your opinion.