Ni Hao! Muddy Herts looks east….
My record with languages is ok – French A’ level (longer ago than I care to admit), a brief dalliance with Italian in university, but that’s about it. So the prospect of me learning Chinese seems, to be honest, a bit remote – even though Mr C heads off to China occasionally with work, and comes home just about able to say hello, thank you, and “can I have a beer, please.”
But I am loving the new book ‘Fun and Easy Chinese’ by Herts author Elinor Greenwood that is aimed at children – probably from 8 up to about 11 or 12. I’m learning all kinds of things, trying out my new phrases on my kids (cue eye-rolling from them both) and regaling Mr C with all sorts of Interesting Facts whether he wants to hear them or not.
Things that claim to be ‘fun and easy’ usually aren’t, right? But this really is. It’s clear, straightforward, informative – I’ve learned loads about the culture as well as the language – and the layout and graphics are properly appealing. There are even stickers at the back that you can use throughout the book, and lots of places to practise writing your Chinese characters.
There’s lots of help with pronunciation – which I’m quite certain I need – as well as a CD which gives you examples linked to almost every page and an app you can download to keep practising while you’re out and about. My family is so looking forward to that next long car journey….
That said, they’ve all been reading it. H, who’s 11, thinks it’s great and made something that he thought was quite difficult seem like something he could learn (hoorah!). L, who’s 4, likes the stickers and chances to colour in dragons (definitely her thing). And Mr C has been learning to count on his fingers, Beijing-style.
Author Elinor Greenwood followed up her degree in Modern Chinese by living and working in China, and now teaches Mandarin to primary schools. She’s also the author of ‘Easy Peasy Chinese,’ but this new book is the first in Noodle Publishing’s ‘Fun and Easy’ series – soon to be followed by Spanish and French (which I will definitely be getting for my kids as well).
If you’re near Hertford this weekend, Elinor Greenwood will be talking about the book at the Leaf Café on Saturday morning, and kids can get a Chinese name, learn to write some characters, make New Year cards and so on. Tickets are £2, which is a bargain, and you can then redeem them against the cost of the book if you decide to buy it – even better! Should be a fun morning.
Happy New Year! Or should I say, xinnián kuáilè! Impressive, eh?