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Book review of "The Chinese Lexicon: a comprehensive survey" by YIP Po-Ching

Cambridge University Press
Publication Date
  • Department Of The Languages And Cultures Of China And Inner Asia


C:Documents and Settingshl24Local SettingsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5O6VDBP0QS0041977X02000071a[1].pdf 229��� ��� comprehensive working grammar of the language, and is aimed apparently at random somewhere between the teacher and the student in such a way that neither is likely to benefit greatly. For the teacher it is not comprehensive enough or analytical enough to provide in-depth material which would add much colour and weight to classroom presentation. For the student it is so perfunctory (perhaps ‘ungenerous’ might be a better word) in its treatment of many major grammar points that it is hard to see how the innocent mind could get to grips with much of it. As in the earlier book there is for the most part a curious assumption that the student already knows a wide vocabulary which can be understood when it appears in newly introduced grammatical contexts, while here and there, as if waking briefly from this unwarranted assumption, a word or term is suddenly explained (as with houchih ‘resemble’ on p. 85). As for the ‘workbook’ element, it consists of a few brief and repetitive exercises at the end of each unit. Little or no attempt seems to be have been made to make the exercises original or interesting or to depart from the stolid fare of ‘fill in the blanks’ and ‘using formula x, change y to z’. The teacher will not stimulate the student with this material, and because of the vocabulary problem the student will often not be able to understand it without a teacher. The book is more useful than Basic Cantonese if only because a learner who has progressed that much further has a better chance of relating to some at least of the material, but both are marred in principle by their failure to identify and target a specific readership. Cantonese: a comprehensive grammar by the same authors remains a towering achievement and neither of these ‘spin-o�s’ comes even close to matching it in usefulness. Having said which, they do contain some new material elegantly rendered int

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