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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Teaching English to a Chinese Speaker

    I have been paired with a native Chinese speaker as a "conversation partner," but it turns out that he doesn't speak much English at all, so I've been trying to help him learn English and I want to be as effective as possible. He is clearly a smart guy, and was fairly successful in China (from what I can gather) and is able to sort of puzzle out written English. He said that he had English classes 20+ years ago as a kid, but whatever he learned then is pretty rusty now. We are in a rural area, with very few non-native English speakers, let alone someone who speaks Chinese (other than his family, who don't speak English either).

    So I hope that someone can recommend some books for him. The internet is a great resource, but he doesn't seem comfortable with it. Also, I think he had what might be considered a "classical" education in China. Chinese poetry is something he seems to know a great deal about. Maybe that's just their educational system; I couldn't say. At any rate, my impression is that he needs the written word to help him to learn.

    The Oxford Picture Dictionary looks like a good way to quickly learn some words, but not so good for learning how to use them. So, what I'm looking for is a book that lays out the grammatical rules of English for a Chinese speaker in a concise way. Because I know zero Chinese and can't judge the book, I'm hoping someone here can help.

  2. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #2

    Re: Teaching English to a Chinese Speaker

    Writing can be used as a form of defence against speaking in some cases, so it might be pandering to his block when he needs luring out into the world of the spoken word.

  3. Newbie
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    #3

    Re: Teaching English to a Chinese Speaker

    Sure, it could be pandering, but I don't think so in this case.

    What I hope to find is something like a book I had on Spanish grammar years ago -- published by Barron's I think. It was maybe 150 pages long, and very concise. I could read a few pages and quickly understand how to properly use some new grammatical construct. It helped my Spanish improve quickly and dramatically while traveling.

  4. probus's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Teaching English to a Chinese Speaker

    I am neither a scholar nor an expert. I am just a guy who has succeeded in acquiring a couple of foreign languages, and has tried to teach English to non-native-speakers. But in my non-expert opinion, books are of no use to your Chinese student at this stage. He or she needs to get out and start hearing English, and most importantly learning its sound system.

  5. VIP Member
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    #5

    Re: Teaching English to a Chinese Speaker

    A friend who emigrated from California to Thailand and became one of the rare Westerners to master Thai strongly advocated for studying the language from books. He firmly believed it was impossible to learn it without doing so. Books should not be used to the exclusion of immersive exposure and practice, but a good one can help someone learn a language much faster.
    I am not a teacher.

  6. Key Member
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    #6

    Re: Teaching English to a Chinese Speaker

    You might try this book: Understanding English Grammar A course Book for Chinese Learners of English

    ​By Tony T.N. Hung

    ISBN-10: 962-209-726-X ISBN-13: 978-962-209-726-1

  7. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Teaching English to a Chinese Speaker

    One thing I found is that East Asians don't expect and therefore don't notice so much information in the final consonants of English words. Help him with that, and I expect you'll see a big improvement.

  8. Newbie
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    #8

    Re: Teaching English to a Chinese Speaker

    Thanks for these tips. Eventually, I discovered that the way to find a selection of the kind of book I'm looking for is to google ' "English grammar" Chinese ' Note the quotes within quotes. The point is that I want a book about "english grammar" which also involves Chinese. Otherwise you're swamped with books for English speakers to learn Chinese.

    its been a few weeks now, and his English is certainly improving. Confidence is a big part of it. And yes, consonants at the end of words are a big issue. In fact, any word with too many consonants, especially hard consonants, is a tongue twister for him -- like the word "consonant"

  9. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #9

    Re: Teaching English to a Chinese Speaker

    Here is SE Asia, final letters get dropped all the time.

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