Using Chinese: A Guide to Contemporary Usage cover image

Using Chinese: A Guide to Contemporary Usage

By Yvonne Li Walls, Jan W. Walls
Cambridge University Press


There was a time not to long ago when learning Chinese was a special frustration, a private pleasure. The textbooks were those developed for army language students, the vocabulary of little use to the average student. Grammar was, at best, badly expressed. In this books the Walls take the essence of the language, its grammar and the construction of sentences based on it and make it almost simple. Grammar is never simple but it is almost always logical and the beauty of the book is it defines the structure within which students will learn in a way that makes it easy to learn. In the 1970s I studied with one of the coauthors, Yvonne Walls, when she taught at the University of British Columbia, in that teaching she honed a system of explaination that was designed to help the student across the second, third, and fourth years, one sufficiently clear that the memorized vocabulary could easily fit into the evolving knowledge we had of sentences, and ideas. Her coauthor and partner, Jan Walls, also taught in those years and was similarly acclaimed for the clarity of his teaching. Their experience as teachers, translators, and as Chinese speakers all comes together in this book. For those studying Chinese it will be an immense aide. For those interested in language and its structure it will be insightful. Highly recommended.

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