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Dreaming in Chinese by Deborah Fallows
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Dreaming in Chinese (2011)

by Deborah Fallows

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3135535,548 (3.68)56
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Interesting book about the linquistics of Chinese, written by a woman who spent several years in China. She offers different chapters on different words, writing, context and meaning. She also discusses that "Chinese" is not one language, but several, with dialect nuances adding to the learning difficulty. ( )
  nancynova | Mar 22, 2014 |
I wish I could write a book like this, exploring the foreign cultures I have lived in through their languages, so I'm grateful that Deborah Fallows has written such a graceful, perceptive account of her explorations of the Chinese people and the Chinese language. This is a warm, elegant book. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
Fallows offers readers a glimpse of modern Chinese culture unclouded by preconceived notions, portraying the laobaixing, the ordinary Chinese, simply as they are.

Full review(and event coverage) on The Stanford Daily website.
  Aethyr | Apr 3, 2013 |
Fallows offers readers a glimpse of modern Chinese culture unclouded by preconceived notions, portraying the laobaixing, the ordinary Chinese, simply as they are.

Full review(and event coverage) on The Stanford Daily website.
  Aethyr | Apr 3, 2013 |
I can see how this would be exciting and interesting for a multiculturalist looking to get a quick picture of modern China and its language, but for someone who's lived in China, this book comes across as a fellow naif posing as an expert and presenting her thoughts and experiences as particularly illustrative. But maybe I'm just jealous that she's the one with the book contract. ( )
  Audacity88 | Feb 16, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
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Book description
Deborah Fallows has spent a lot of her life learning languages and traveling around the world. But nothing prepared her for the surprises of learning Mandarin, China's most common language, or the intensity of living in Shanghai and Beijing. Over time, she realized that her struggles and triumphs in studying learning the language of her adopted home provided small clues to deciphering behavior and habits of its people, and its culture’s conundrums. As her skill with Mandarin increased, bits of the language – a word, a phrase, an oddity of grammar – became windows into understanding romance, humor, protocol, relationships, and the overflowing humanity of modern China.
Fallows learned, for example, that the abrupt, blunt way of speaking which Chinese people sometimes use isn't rudeness, but is, in fact a way to acknowledge and honor the closeness between two friends. She learned that English speakers’ trouble with hearing or saying tones–the variations in inflection that can change a word's meaning–is matched by Chinese speakers’ inability not to hear tones, or to even take a guess at understanding what might have been meant when foreigners misuse them.

Dreaming in Chinese is the story of what Deborah Fallows discovered about the Chinese language, and how that helped her make sense of what had at first seemed like the chaos and contradiction of everyday life in China.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802779131, Hardcover)

Deborah Fallows has spent much of her life learning languages and traveling around the world. But nothing prepared her for the surprises of learning Mandarin, China's most common language, or the intensity of living in Shanghai and Beijing. Over time, she realized that her struggles and triumphs in studying the language of her adopted home provided small clues to deciphering the behavior and habits of its people,and its culture's conundrums. As her skill with Mandarin increased, bits of the language—a word, a phrase, an oddity of grammar—became windows into understanding romance, humor, protocol, relationships, and the overflowing humanity of modern China.

Fallows learned, for example, that the abrupt, blunt way of speaking that Chinese people sometimes use isn't rudeness, but is, in fact, a way to acknowledge and honor the closeness between two friends. She learned that English speakers' trouble with hearing or saying tones—the variations in inflection that can change a word's meaning—is matched by Chinese speakers' inability not to hear tones, or to even take a guess at understanding what might have been meant when foreigners misuse them.

In sharing what she discovered about Mandarin, and how those discoveries helped her understand a culture that had at first seemed impenetrable, Deborah Fallows's Dreaming in Chinese opens up China to Westerners more completely, perhaps, than it has ever been before.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:12 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Fallows unravels Chinese culture by explaining the intricacies and subtleties of Mandarin, devoting each chapter to a particular linguistic quirk.

» see all 2 descriptions

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