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Book Review: My Little Chinese Picture Dictionary

A comprehensive tool for taking your first steps into learning Chinese, made even better by a Talking Pen

07·02·2012

Book Review: My Little Chinese Picture Dictionary

A comprehensive tool for taking your first steps into learning Chinese, made even better by a Talking Pen

07·02·2012

One of the hardest parts of learning Chinese is wrapping your head around the pronunciation. For many would-be learners, the fact that a word’s meaning is formed not only by what they say, but also how they say it, can present a challenge. Pinyin has made the process of learning Chinese easier, but the fact remains that if you want to get your pronunciation just right, you need to hear the word said aloud––usually more than once.

The colorful and engaging “My Little Picture Dictionary” addresses this issue with its “Talking Pen.” Aimed primarily at users in elementary and junior high school, the pen allows readers to hear the pronunciation of 1,400 different words in 70 topics. It’s interface is simple: touch a Chinese word or illustration and the pen will “say” it. Once you think you’ve mastered the vocabulary in a section, you can use the pen to practice with grammar and speaking exercises and test yourself with a quiz.

Each page features one of the following:

Practice This Conversation: A short conversation related to the topic, intended to help the learner get used to the idea of applying their newly-learned words in a two-way exchange.

Ex:

昨天你和朋友做了什么?
Zuótiān nǐ hé péngyǒu zuò le shénme?
What did you do with your friend yesterday?

我们玩儿了捉迷藏。
Wǒmen wánr le zhuō mícáng.
We played hide and seek.

Grammar Point: Introduces basic grammatical structures, with two or three examples to show how these structures are applied in real life.

Ex:

都 (dōu, both/all)

这只狗的鼻子和耳朵都很大。
Zhè zhǐ gǒu de bízi hé ěrduo dōu hěn dà.
This dog’s nose and ears are both big.

Say in Chinese: Intended for topics such as numbers, time, the calendar and money, it helps the student apply their new vocab in the context of a phrase.

Ex:

早上六点
zǎoshang liù diǎn
6:00 am

A full list of all the dictionary’s words is included at the back of the book (all of which interact with the pen) alphabetized in English with their pinyin translations next to them, making for easy reference. The words are also numbered according to the topic page they appear on, so if the student has a particular area they need to practice, locating it within the dictionary is simple.

With its emphasis on individual words and simple phrases, the dictionary makes for a great first step into learning Chinese, but as the learner progresses, further resources that delve into more complex territory will definitely be required.

If “My Little Chinese Picture Dictionary” sounds like your kind of thing, you kind find it in our store until July 16, 2012 at a special 20% price reduction. As well as English, the dictionary is available in 48 other languages (you can contact us for info on the other language versions available).

For the next stage in learning Chinese, try this more advanced picture dictionary