“China Simplified” Launches The Fastest Guide to All Things Chinese

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China Simplified: Language Gymnastics is the first in a series of books from China Simplified. The books explore the language, history and more in quick–read, illustrated, engaging formats making the country and culture super–accessible for a busy world.

China Simplified is delighted to launch the first in a series of books exploring the language and culture of China. China Simplified: Language Gymnastics de-mystifies the Chinese Language, superstitions and culture for its readers. 

China is all over the headlines these days, yet to many its culture still remains intimidating, inaccessible and inscrutable. Moreover most books about China seem too weighty, too learned and take forever to finish - until now: twenty year China veteran and entrepreneur Stewart Lee Beck collaborated with accomplished Chinese teacher Katie Lu to create a new and exciting book – China Simplified: Language Gymnastics. The book unravels the mysteries and magic of the Chinese language along with its impact on both local and world culture. The book is personal, entertaining and immensely readable yet also an insightful and thought provoking. It springs to life with many intriguing stories and anecdotes. The authors refer to their mission as “untangling the noodles” for readers.

Why the focus on language? As the world’s pre-eminent spokesperson Nelson Mandela once said, “Talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. Talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”

An easy read, cover to cover in around three hours, it’s the ideal preparation for your next business meeting in China, when coming on holiday or for encounters with Chinese in every day life. Even diehard “Old China hands” will enjoy it.

A few examples to noodle on:

1. Chinese is too complex to learn?
This is a huge misconception. There are no singular and plural variations, masculine and feminine forms don’t exist, and the language shuns all complex verb conjugations. Many students use the phonetic spellings to get started.

2. The language is all about the tones
Misusing the four tones of Mandarin can make for some embarrassing errors. Here’s an easy mistakes:

What he meant:    Wǒmen yǐqián tóng chuāng.
            We used to be classmates.
What they heard:    Wǒmen yǐqián tóng chuáng.
            We used to sleep together.

3. When someone says “no problem” does it really mean no problem?
Reading into the many delicious ambiguities in Chinese is all part of the fun. The phrase yīng gāi méi wèn tí literally means “should be no problem” but it all depends on how they respond. Short, dismissive answers are better. If you hear a long drawn out “yīīīīīīnnnnnng gāāāāāāiiiiii méi wèntí” you could be in deep trouble.

5. Words provoke superstitions.
Fours (sì) are dangerous because they sound like the word (sǐ) “to die.” Such are the superstitions in China, hence this point is named #5 not #4. Why take chances? Eights (bā) are much better as they sound like (fā) “to make a fortune.”

This book is perfect for anyone with even a passing interest in China. By no means is it a dumbing down, rather it’s a delightful speeding up of a subject which everyone should know something about.

“Many of our Western friends are curious about China, yet somehow, that curiosity has not translated into a better understanding of this remarkable culture and its countless stories,” said author Stewart Lee Beck.

He continued, “That’s what got us started on this project, sharing some of the many fascinating stories behind the evolution of Chinese language as a window into the country and its people.”

China Simplified: Language Gymnastics is available now in eBook (Amazon, iBooks, Barnes& Noble, Smashwords, Scribd) and coming soon in audiobook. China Simplified is running a special “Play it Forward” promotion through the end of June offering a free audiobook to e-book readers and a friend of their choice. Visit http://www.chinasimplified.com/csl-uk for more details.

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