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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bo Po Mo vs. Pinyin for Learning Chinese


Pinyin vs. Bo Po Mo - Which works best?

Pinyin is the romanization of Chinese, and is used in Practical Chinese and Chinese Made Easy. Champion Chinese uses a system for the phonics called Bo Po Mo, and is the traditional way of teaching Chinese. There are arguments on which one is better. Pinyin is more popular. The argument for Bo Po Mo is that you get the pronunciation correct, where Pinyin has different sounds for English letters, which makes it more confusing to learn the proper pronunciation. There are other romanization systems than Pinyin that in my opinion make more sense (wade giles for example), but Pinyin has been pushed by the Chinese government, and has become the most popular.

Popular Pinyin based Textbooks for Kids:

Practical Chinese
A very hands on, down to earth series that works. 10 Levels available in Traditional Chinese, and 6 in Simplified. Books are smaller. My opinion is if your teaching Traditional Chinese Characters, this is a great series to go with. The author is a Chinese Teacher born in Taiwan, who got frustrated teaching her kids Chinese in the US, the existing teaching material did not work with them, so she wrote her own.
A more polished Chinese Textbook, very popular, written by two Chinese Teachers, one of who worked in Canada. A headache with Chinese textbooks, is some of them are written for use by native language learners, where this is targeted at secondary language learners. For ages 5-11, grades K-8. It comes with a CD.

For older students, Chinese Made Easy is the next series, and has more of a focus on writing:

Bo Po Mo Based Textbook for Kids

 Chinese Champions
Teaches use the Bo Po Mo system, and unfortunately only 1 level is available at this time. Bo Po Mo is used mainly in Chinese weekend schools. The author lives in the US, and was frustrated with the Chinese materials available in the US.

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