I’m an absolute beginner. Where do I even begin to learn Chinese?
Characters, pinyin, pronunciation, numbers, phrases, or grammar?
Do I need a tutor? How do I know if my tutor is teaching me the right things? Aren’t the tones hard? How am I ever going to remember this?
Slow down! Self-study is possible. If you can top-up with a tutor for exam practice and get some recommendations for simple Chinese TV shows, then you’re well on your way to victory.
You need audio if you’re a beginner so you can practice and get your pronunciation right. These both have CD’s so you can listen to local Chinese people and copy their accents.
Start with these Chinese books geared toward beginners:
Get Talking Chinese
Pros: Pictures, phrases, grammar, vocabulary, characters, audio CD, and more. Everything inside this book is pure, pretty gold. They only teach you the useful day-to-day language you need to know in China. My new favorite!!
Cons: Does this eye-candy have any drawbacks? I can’t find any flaws. Every chapter is packed with useful information.
Bottom line: Let’s call this a phrase book plus. I haven’t felt as excited about a book since Integrated Chinese and you guys know that is my all time favorite book.
Easy Peasy Chinese
Pros: Simple everyday language for beginners. Perfect to slip in your bag and use when speaking with locals in the market, asking for directions or brushing up on your Chinese culture. The language is simple yet local, exactly what you’d expect when speaking in China.
Cons: The audio comes on a CD. Did we slip back into the 90’s when computers still had disk drives?
Bottom line: Fantastic words and phrases that you’ll actually use in everyday situations. Easy to digest chapters, bright colors, and audio, albeit it on a CD. Thumbs up from us!
Affiliate link disclaimer: If you purchase any of these books through the links found on this page a teeny bit of the cost helps me pay my bills and continue to provide you with valuable content. Hope that’s cool.
The Great Firewall of China
Want to use the VPN I use for a stable, quick connection in China? I depend on it to upload more than six videos a week and live-stream on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. And here’s my second choice for a VPN. Plus, when you download from either link, they share some of the cost with me, so I can keep creating the videos you love.