who are a large market for learning Chinese as a second language. Unlike Chinese students,
English speakers are used to a phonetic writing system. What they read is what they hear. When
they see a word they expect its letters to tell them how to pronounce the word and to recognize its
meaning. Thus English speakers initially find Chinese characters to be meaningless because they
cannot sound out Chinese characters. Instead, they have to find the pronunciations through pinyin
and then find the meanings. Therefore English speakers need extra time to learn to connect the
graphic shapes of Chinese characters with their pronunciation. To them, learning Chinese is like
learning two languages: one is for speaking and listening, and one is for reading and writing. This
book employs a variety of teaching methods to make learning Chinese easier for English speakers.
For example, the pinyin is printed directly under or beside each Chinese character instead of
separating the Chinese character text from the pinyin text. We believe that if English speakers make
the effort to connect Chinese characters with their sounds in the first year of study, they can more
rapidly learn to read Chinese characters with the help of pinyin. Other teaching-learning methods
used in this textbook are introduced in the following section.