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Integrated Chinese. Third Edition. Level 1, Part 1 and Part 2.

Yuehua Liu, Tao-chung

Yao, Nyan-Ping Bi, Liangyan Ge, and Yaohua Shi. Boston: Cheng and Tsui 2009.
1. Introduction
Integrated Chinese (hereafter IC) is one of the most popular textbooks in Chinese
language courses. The third edition has made several long-awaited and welcomed
changes. After using it at our university for one academic year, we feel that it is necessary
to compliment on its improvements and offer some suggestions as well.
This review is organized into the following sections. We will first introduce the
organization of the textbook and some of its new features in section 2. Following that, we
will offer several comments on the textbook in the order of vocabulary, phonetics
instruction, grammar instruction, and discourse/pragmatics instruction in section 3, 4, 5,
and 6. The final section shall conclude this review.
2. Structural Organization of the Textbooks
In this section, we address some new features of IC. The 3rd edition, compared to the 2nd
edition, made several changes and improvements. First, it reduces the number of lessons
from twenty-three chapters to twenty, which is more manageable for an academic years
curriculum. Some universities have difficulties covering all twenty-three lessons into a
one year course design, which might lead to dissatisfaction for some students. By using
the 3rd edition, we were able to adequately cover all twenty lessons within one academic
year, and the students also managed to follow the pace very well.
Table 1. Comparison of the 3rd and 2nd Edition
IC, 3rd Edition
1. Greetings
2. Family
3. Dates & Time
4. Hobbies
5. Visiting Friends
6. Making
7. Studying Chinese
8. School Life
9. Shopping
10. Transportation

11. Talking About the

12. Dining
13. Asking Directions
14. Birthday Party
15. Seeing a Doctor
16. Dating
17. Renting an
18. Sports
19. Travel
20. At the Airport

IC, 2nd Edition

1. Greetings
2. Family
3. Dates and Time
4. Hobbies
5. Visiting Friends
6. Making
7. Studying Chinese
8. School Life
9. Shopping
10. Talking About the
11. Transportation
12. Dining

13. At the Library

14. Asking
15. Birthday Party
16. Seeing a Doctor
17. Dating
18. Renting an
19. At the Post
20. Sports
21. Travel
22. Hometown
23. At the Airport

Table 1 compares the different chapters between the 3rd edition and the 2nd edition.
Lesson 13, 19, and 22, shown in bold face, were removed from the 2nd edition in the 3rd
edition. However, most of the grammar points in these three lessons are incorporated into
other lessons in the 3rd edition such that there is no compromise on content.
As its Chinese title suggests, the design of IC encompass all four language skills of
listening, speaking, reading and writing. Its English title also reveals another important
aspect of how IC is being structured, that of being integrated. By this, IC means to
adopt a pedagogy which aims to helps students understand how the Chinese language
works through demonstrations of how to use Chinese in real life. For example, in level 1
of the textbook, IC covers a wide-variety of essential topics such as greetings, dates and
time, making appointments, shopping, transportation, dining, asking directions, and
renting an apartment, mostly topics that orients towards student life. This pedagogy of
integrating language learning into authentic dialogues of everyday situations is followed
through in the 3rd edition, with further emphasis on the specification of discourse on
language learning. The overall structure of a lesson is shown in Table 2, with comparison
between the 3rd and 2nd editions.
Table 2. Structure of a Lesson in the 3rd and 2nd editions
IC, 3rd Edition
Learning Objectives
Relate and Get Ready
Dialogue 1
Language Practice
Dialogue 2
Language Practice
How About You?
Culture Highlights
English Texts
Progress Checklist

IC, 2nd Edition

Dialogue 1
Dialogue 2
Pattern Drills
English Texts

The 3rd edition has added several new features such as Learning Objectives, Relate
and Get Ready, Language Practice, How About You? and Progress Checklist. At
the beginning of each lesson, the learning objectives listed help students gain a clearer
understanding of their goals after learning the lesson, facilitating adequate preparations
for new tasks and help focus their studies. The following example is taken from Lesson 1.

In this lesson, you will learn to use Chinese to

Exchange basic greetings;

Request a persons last name and full name and provide your own;
Determine whether someone is a teacher or a student;
Ascertain someones nationality.

The Relate and Get Ready section also helps facilitate contextual understanding. As we
all know, language and culture cannot be separated when studying a new language. This
part following Learning Objectives, as well as the Culture Highlights portion, helps
students compare their native language and culture with that of Chinese, highlighting
similarities or differences between them. The following is an example of Related and
Get Ready.


In your own culture/community

How do people greet each other when meeting for the first time?
Do people say their given name or family name first?
How do acquaintances or close friends address each other?

In general, thematic organization of essential dialogues in practical usages is well

developed, allowing students to connect language usage with certain discourse situations.
However, in consideration of more difficult structures or vocabulary, certain fundamental
expressions are delayed till late in the text, for example, /,
which is a regular formulaic expression during greeting sequences but not introduced in
Lesson 1. Nevertheless, we feel that such a balance could also be achieved if such
fundamental expressions were introduced earlier without too much explication on its
complex structures. Analogous expression in English could also be invoked as
comparison to prevent confusion.
Additionally, the Pattern Drills in the 2nd edition is replaced by Language Practice in
the 3rd edition. We think that the addition of Language Practice is one of the best
features in the 3rd edition. The students get the chance to produce utterance directly from
the concept or situation depicted by the colorful pictures or cartoons. At the same time,
we feel that Pattern Drills should be maintained as well, as they provide good repetitive
practices that sediments understanding of constructions. Another change in the structure
of a lesson is that the explications of grammar points are separated into two parts
matching the two dialogues within a lesson. That is, the grammar points pertaining to the
dialogue 1 and 2 follow dialogue 1 and 2 respectively. This is a welcomed change
because teachers and students do not have to go back and forth in the textbook as was

done in the previous editions. Also, this makes it easier to design a course plan.
3. Vocabulary
In this section, we review the vocabulary component of the textbook. Compared with the
2nd edition, in which there are too many new words per dialogue, the amount of new
words are reduced in the 3rd edition. Thus, students do not have to deal with too many
new words or characters per unit of learning. However, in some lessons, the distribution
of new vocabulary is disproportionally uneven. For example, there are 29 new words in
part 1 of lesson 6, but only 12 new words in part 2 of the same lesson. We understand
that evenly distributing the vocabulary in each dialogue is a difficult task; however, if this
change can be achieved in future editions, it will be easier for teachers to manage class
time, design their class accordingly, and also for students to learn vocabulary in a more
consistent manner and pace. We suggest that such amendments be extended to
grammatical points as well, which we will return when we discuss the grammar
Low-frequency characters are now indicated in the vocabulary list as grey-shaded
characters. We would like to posit a question on the necessity of this as a point of
discussion, of whether indication of low-frequency characters is really necessary. From a
teaching perspective, this gives uncommitted students an excuse to avoid practice
writing, or even attempting to learn the new characters. Furthermore, even though the
textbook has attempted to focus on high frequency words, the accuracy of this attempt
may be questionable. This frequency is based on the Hanyu Pinlu Dacidian
(). This is an interesting idea, however, this dictionary was published
almost 20 years ago. Indeed, sometimes the shaded gray characters are not really low
frequency in everyday talk. The characters, /, /, , , , and /,
are such examples. Based on Xiao et al. (2009), the lexicon / is ranked 635 and
/ is ranked 920 out of 5004 lexical items. Therefore, it is doubtful that the
character / is a low frequency character. Word frequencies asides, we may want to
consider if the discourse situations beginning learners frequently encounter calls for the
use of these characters. Students who travel to Chinese communities will get to have a lot
of chances to encounter the character of /, /, and as
they need to have coffee, ask for or look for telephone numbers, or even go to see a
doctor in case of a health emergency. These characters might also be the most frequent
words on the billboards in the streets. For example, Starbucks and local chain cafes are
everywhere in the city. In brief, while the indication of low-frequency characters is an
interesting idea, we are not sure whether (i) the choice is justified and (ii) if it is helpful
from the viewpoint of learning Chinese.

There are also several character issues, especially with the traditional character version of
the textbook. Since students who choose to learn traditional characters have tight
relations to Taiwan and Hong Kong, the traditional characters should follow the
convention of these speech communities. Therefore, the font for ME in the Character
Workbook should be not . Specifically, the lower part is not . is also
wrongly printed in the traditional character version of the textbook on page 112 and page
153. We understand that this is probably just a font problem caused by the software used.
Nevertheless, it creates problems for students and should be amended.
One of the best new features in the 3rd edition of IC is that it is colorful. The textbook
can take more advantage of this feature by representing tones in different colors, which
will definitely aid the students mastery of tones. There is in fact published work using
this approach (Dummitt 2008). We suggest that the new edition make use of this practice
and print the characters with different tones in different colors. For example, in the
vocabulary section, characters carrying the first tone could be printed in red, and three
other tones with three different colors respectively. We believe this will be a great feature
that will make the next edition of Integrated Chinese standout among other textbooks.
4. Phonetics Instruction
It is useful for students to have both pinyin and characters in a pedagogy that emphasizes
all four language skills. Pinyin texts accompanying Chinese characters throughout, allow
students to focus on both speaking and pronunciation, and character recognition.
Although some students are likely to complain that the pinyin, character and English
versions of the dialogues not appearing together would result in a more challenging
recitation, but we advocate for this organization as it compel students to commit the
sounds of each character to memory. In order to improve the students literacy of
characters, the pinyin texts could even be moved back to be together with the English
translation of the dialogues.
A consonant chart is also a very useful tool for teaching pronunciation of Chinese
syllabus at the beginners level. It presents concrete idea and helps illustrates the manner
and place of articulation. We have two suggestions with regards to the use of the
consonant chart in the 3rd edition of IC. The consonant chart on page 5 can be more
helpful for both teachers and students if the following changes are made. First, it should
define terms such as labials, alveolars, stops, unaspirated, and so on. Without further
explanation of these terms, we doubt that this chart means anything to students. Of
course, teachers with phonetics background would have no problem explaining these
terms and applying them to teaching the sounds, but it is hard for students when they

review if the terms are not defined. Furthermore, the consonant chart on page 5 has
several mistakes that are probably a result of careless proofreading, as there is no such
problem in the previous editions. Table 1 is the consonant chart on page 5 of the
textbook. We have bracketed the sounds that are wrongly placed in the chart.
A Reference Chart for Initials
Dental sibilants










As we can see, the sound represented by the initials in the pinyin system such as s, sh, x,
h, l, r, and y are printed in the wrong places. For example, the sounds represented by
pinyin symbol s, sh, x, and h are not nasals; l, r and y are not fricatives; also, zh, ch, and q
are not stops. We believe that this wrongly printed phonetic chart would confuse Chinese
teachers who have no phonetics background and mislead students who have never taken a
linguistics course. It would be the best if a correct chart can be posted on the publishers
website, and corrections made in the next edition of IC.
The following consonant chart is modified from Lin (2007) for the purpose of
comparison. The original chart is represented in IPA symbols. We replace them with
pinyin for the convenience of our readers. This chart basically follows the International
Phonetic Alphabet convention in the sense that it lists the place of articulation in the top
row and the manner of articulation in the right-most column.












To compare with the consonant chart we quoted with the one in the textbook, one can
also observe that the phonetic chart in IC does not follow the convention used in IPA. We
hope that the consonant chart in the fourth edition can be corrected to follow the IPA
convention, so that it is easier for both teachers and students to read, especially those with
linguistics background.
We also believe that it is very useful for phonetic terms to be defined, and illustrations of
the vocal tract or articulator mechanisms provided. Based on our teaching experience,
students think that the illustrations of articulators are very helpful. The notion of place of
articulation and manner of articulation is in fact a very good tool for students to learn the
sound inventory of Chinese. It will give students a concrete picture on how to pronounce
certain sounds by putting their tongues in the correct positions in the vocal tract. We
suggest the textbook provide diagrams of articulation like the one in Figure 1, taken from
Lin 2007.
A diagram here.
5. Grammar Instructions
Many learners of Chinese as a foreign language do not begin with future academic goals
in mind, and will probably never become linguists of the language. Therefore, it makes
sense for IC not to be too laden with linguistic jargons lest it confuses the students and
impedes progress more than it facilitates learning. However, from our experience, it is
still critical for adult students learning a foreign language to receive some basic
instruction on certain grammatical notions, especially those that are alien to the learners
native language. In trying to come to terms with obscure linguistic practices, non-native
learners naturally return to their native language to look for analogous components as a
basis for understanding. When such an analogous component is available and accurately
corresponds to the Chinese equivalent, it often acts to promote easy understanding and
usage of the Chinese counterpart even without much instruction. However, when
equivalent practices are not available, and the grammatical instructions given are less
than adequate, we find that students struggle and end up recurrently frustrated by their
lack of understanding. IC has been highly successful in this balancing act between
providing adequate grammatical instructions while not burdening the students with
unnecessary linguistic nomenclature. The highlight of each pertinent grammatical usage
in red, with detailed explanations and examples provided at the end of a dialogue also
serves as an excellent resource. Nevertheless we find that the textbook has adopted an
egalitarian approach towards all types of grammatical components with no evident focus
on more difficult concepts. We submit for consideration a clearer division of focal versus

non-focal grammatical instructions based on student-centered needs. Some critical

grammatical concepts seem to have received less than adequate treatment in the textbook.
We shall provide two examples of this. That is, the grammar points of LE () and
resultative complement construction.
First, the usage of LE () has notoriously been an extremely challenging notion for
foreign students. In IC, LE is introduced in Chapter 5 as a dynamic particle with a
laundry list of descriptions of its core meaning as completion of an action or event, or
the emergence of a situation, and that it should not be taken as an equivalent to the past
tense (pp. 137). LE continues to be distributionally explicated in Chapter 8 and Chapter
11 as usually appearing at the end of a series (of verb phrases) (pp.208) and indicates
change of status or the realization of a new situation (pp.8) respectively. However, our
experience is that distributed examples without a single coherent module for such a
difficult grammatical notion often serves to confuse the learner more than to enlighten
Second, the unique resultative complement construction (/) in
Chinese is introduced in Chapter 12 simply by saying following a verb, an adjective or
another verb can be used to denote the result of the action (pp. 42). However, the
examples given are restricted to a few regular resultative complements such as ,
and . Then in Chapter 13, more lexicons used in the resultative complement
position are given, but without an initial clear explication that this is a highly productive
and recurring grammatical structure not found in English. Without such guidance,
learners are left with an impression that these are ad-hoc occurrences with limited
characters such as , and .
Also, the textbook introduces 25 instances of resultative VV compounds without
providing example sentences or contexts. It is hard for students to learn the sentence
patterns associated with these compounds without examples. We would suggest that at
least one sentence for each instance of the compounds be provided in the textbook. This
is important because the acquisition of the use of resultative compounds lays the
foundation for the learning of other constructions, such as the BA () construction.
A similar problem can also be found in the grammar point of using HAO +V and
NAN /+V as adverbials. On page 232, Part 2, it lists several examples of +V
and /+V such as , /, /, /, , /,
, /, , /, , /, , /, /,
/ . However, no examples of sentences were provided. It would be better if
these examples were also illustrated with sentences.

As mentioned before in the vocabulary section, we feel that most of these unintended
deficiencies could be resolved with the specially designed vocabulary drills found in the
2nd edition, but strangely dropped in the 3rd edition. The vocabulary drills not only
provides excellent speaking practice but also allows the students to understand the
flexible usages of a common particle or construction.
In addition to the problem of lack of sentence examples, we would also like to express
two other concerns about the grammar part of the textbook. The first is with explanations
and inaccurate sentence examples. The second concerns the naming of lexical categories.
We will discuss the textbooks explanation of GANG /, GANGCAI / and
BA ; as well as the naming of the syntactic categories of GANG /, GANGCAI
/, ZENME / and ZAI .
There are certain explanations of grammar points that we find inadequate. We will give a
few examples here. On page 41, the textbook states that / can be followed by an
expression that indicates the duration of time. And then it gives the two examples to
illustrate their explanation.
(1) /
This pair of sentences implies that / cannot be followed by durational phrases.
However this is misleading. For example, (3) is a grammatical sentence.
(3) /
The reason that (2) is ungrammatical is because the verb leave is an achievement
verb, and not because / cannot co-occur with a durational phrase. In contrast,
the verb in (3) is an activity verb. Therefore, we can express the idea that he ran for
two minutes within the period of time expressed by the adverb /. Also, there is
a constraints on the duration that / can co-occur with. It should be a very short
period of time so that there is no semantic conflict between the duration expression and
the meaning of /, which indicates a short interval of time just before the speech
Furthermore, there appears to be no merit in saying / is a noun (page 40).
Proclaiming that / is a noun and / is an adverb does not further students
understanding of the differences between their two adverbial usages. As a matter of fact,

/ can occur in the same syntactic positions as other time expressions such as
, and . Specifically, it occurs before or after the (grammatical) subject,
denoting duration of time. In the textbook, words such as , and were all
assigned the category time word. Thus, if we intend to keep assignment of categories
consistent, / should also be viewed as a time word using the terminology in
this textbook.
There were also some minor errors with parts of speech throughout the textbook. For
example, on page 128, it states that is a preposition. While that is an unproblematic
statement, the first example given in the section had ZAI () being used as a verb.
(4) *()/*()?
It is clear that in (4) is a verb given that it is not an adjunct or optional element; and
that it can be negated, when compare to example (5). Example (6) provides the negated
example of (4).
(5) ()/()
(6) /
In addition, on page 191, the textbook states that / is an interrogative
pronoun. However, it is not an interrogative pronoun, but an interrogative adverb (e.g., Li
and Thompson 1981 and Tsai 1992). Interrogative pronouns in Chinese are the likes of
/, /, and /. A pronoun is a subtype of noun, and therefore can
occur in the syntactic positions that nouns occur. Contrastively, / cannot occur
in the syntactic position that nouns can occur. To say that / is an interrogative
pronoun might have no adversary effect on students who are unschooled in syntactic
structure, but it can be perplexing for teachers as well as students with linguistics
Going back to grammatical explanations, we find that terming as a dynamic particle
is not very suggestive. Of course, the acquisition of the use of has nothing to with how
it is termed. Nevertheless, we raise this question because the term dynamic is not
defined in the textbook. Why not just use the more accepted term of a perfective marker?
Several semantic analyses have established its status as a perfective marker, making it
more suggestive and mnemonic in nature.
Next, we come to the explanation of BA (). We understand that it is hard to teach and

learn the BA () construction, as it does not have an English equivalent, or an equivalent

in other languages as far as we can tell. However, we submit as suggestions two areas
where pedagogical instruction can be improved. The first concerns the template on page
142, Part 2; and the second is providing discourse-pragmatic function of the BA
construction. The following is the template cited from the textbook.
Subject + + Object + Verb + Other Element (Complement/, etc.).
It is unclear to us and students whether the constraint of other element refers to
syntactic or semantic features. If it is syntactic, then it over generates odd sentences,
especially when the other element is . Students would leave with the impression that as
long as they put at the end of the sentence, the BA sentence would become adequate,
leading to the following odd constructions:
If it is a semantic constraint, then it might be more helpful to explicitly spell it out. In
other words, which semantic classes of verbs can occur in this template and which
semantic classes of verb cannot occur in this template when does not serve as the
other element?
The second suggestion on the instruction of BA is that the textbook could provide when
or in what context native speakers utilize this construction but not other constructions,
such as the basic SVO word order sentences or the sentences with a topicalized object.
Specifically, when introducing the BA construction, the textbook merely provides a
sentence template without further explanation on the discourse-pragmatic functions of the
BA construction. Towards this end, the textbook can provide examples of the use of the
BA sentence in a series of sentences. In other words, we suggest that the textbook (i)
provides longer context to explicate the situated use of BA construction and (ii)
demonstrates its contrast from the canonical SVO word order. The discourse-pragmatic
function of BA sentences is one of the most frequently raised questions during class, and
we doubt that teachers without a background in discourse-pragmatic training can
adequately answer these questions without support from the textbook.
Finally, sometimes the textbook put sentence patterns with similar structures together,
which might hinder students understanding of a particular construction. For example, the
first grammar point in Lesson 12 put four patterns of // all

A. Subject++Measure Word+Object+/+/+Verb
B. Topic (+Subject) ++Measure Word+/+/+Verb
C. Subject +/+Object+/+/+Verb
D. The construction/+/+can also be used before an adjectives
There are two pedagogical reasons why these four patterns should not be group together
for instruction. First, without a English equivalent constructions to tag on to, students
would find it difficult to grasp its concept and master all four structures at once.
Secondly, template D differs from templates A, B, and C in a crucial way. That is, it does
not involve object-fronting like the other three templates. In addition, unlike the other
+Measure Word or / components in templates A, B, and C, YIDIANR
(/) in template D is not a quantifier. These structures are fundamentally
different functionally, though some would construe that their semantic meanings are
somewhat similar. It is probably better if template D can be moved to a different lesson.
As mentioned previously, we like the new feature Thats how Chinese says it, in which
functional expression are reviewed for every five chapters. We suggest that the textbook
could also add a grammar review segment or drills such that after a few lessons, the
students learning are structured to review critical grammar points.
6. Pragmatics and Discourse Instruction
Congruent with its stated pedagogic philosophy as a communication-oriented
language textbook, IC incorporated various excellent features that do advance a more
spoken discourse-based pedagogy. As mentioned, stating the Learning Objectives and
the contextual formulation in Relate and Get Ready provides good mental preparation
for the situated environment of the upcoming dialogue. Two other well-placed features
deserving special mention are the review of Functional Expression after every five
lessons, and the use of social-role portraits in lieu of names to represent speakers of
utterances in the dialogue. The review of functional expressions highlights useful
expressions that students can focus on and reproduce in everyday context. This increases
the opportunity for repetitive practice, as well as relates the use of Chinese to real-life
situations for novice learners. More importantly, it calls attention to the generic
interactive context where a frequent expression can be used to accomplish some sort of
normative action. For example, after chapters 11-15, the textbook highlights
/ as an appropriate response upon finding someone under unusual
circumstances or showing signs of concern, anxiety, or pain. Or the use of
when one suddenly realizes something important has been forgotten or something of

consequence has gone wrong.

The replacement of proper names with social-role portraits (such as waiter, sales
representatives, doctor etc.) assigned to utterances also grounds the written dialogues as
highly contextualized and representative of a particular kind of critical discourse. We feel
that this helps the student realize that certain fixed phrases are meant for certain registers.
However, perhaps due to the lack of research on Chinese discourse markers, there exist
striking inadequacies in the explanation of discourse marker usage. A single example will
suffice. The exclamatory particle AI () was introduced in Chapter 13 as an expression
of surprise or dissatisfaction (pp. 82). In the following chapter, was used again in
the context of a conversation involving new acquaintances at a birthday party (pp. 114115):

In this context, Wang Peng uses AI before complimenting Hai Luns child. It should be
abundantly clear even to a non-native speaker that in this context AI could not be used to
do surprise or dissatisfaction. In this context, EI (/) is the appropriate usage signaling
a change of topic from the prior line of talk (from discussion of Chinese proficiency to
the baby).
7. Conclusion
Overall, we like the improvements made to the 3rd edition of IC. Particularly, we
like the new layout and new structures for each lesson with its colorful and fun
illustrations that students appreciate. Separating grammar points into two parts right after
each dialogue is a plus, however more work may need to be done in terms of accuracy
and making the textbook pedagogically-friendly for students. We also suggest that a new
consonant chart be made in future editions. The fonts of traditional characters can also be
carefully proofread. Most importantly, the textbooks can still improve on some
explanations of grammar points, and more discourse function instruction should be

introduced. Having said that, our students and instructors appreciate the improvements on
the new edition, and agree that IC 3rd edition is still one of the best Chinese language
primer on the market. We eagerly anticipate the next edition.
Dummitt, Nathan. 2008. Chinese through Tone and Color. Hippocrene Books
Lin, Yen-Hwei. 2007. The Sound of Chinese. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Li, Charles and Sandra Thompson. 1981. Mandarin Chinese. Berkeley.
Xiao, Richard et al. 2009. A Frequency Dictionary of Mandarin Chinese: Core
Vocabulary for Learners. Routledge
Liancheng Chief
Ni Eng Lim
Wei Shen
University of California, Los Angeles