Colloquial Chinese: The Complete Course for Beginners has been carefully developed by a leading academic in Chinese language teaching and course design.

Based on feedback from learners and teachers who used its previous version, this new edition has been updated to reflect the language and cultural changes in China, such as online shopping and WeChat payment, and to provide a more integrated and step-by-step approach to making the learning of modern Mandarin Chinese more effective and enjoyable.

Combining a clear, practical and accessible style with a methodical and thorough treatment of the language, it equips learners with the essential knowledge and skills needed to communicate confidently and effectively in Chinese in a broad range of situations. No prior knowledge of the language is required.

Colloquial Chinese is exceptional; each unit presents a wealth of grammatical points that are reinforced with a wide range of exercises for regular practice. A full answer key, a grammar summary, bilingual glossaries and English translations of dialogues can be found at the back, as well as transcripts of listening practice exercises.

Key features include:

  • A clear, user-friendly format designed to help learners progressively build up their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills
  • Jargon-free, succinct and clearly structured explanations of grammar
  • Step by step introduction of Chinese characters
  • An extensive range of focused and dynamic supportive exercises
  • A combination of listening, reading and speaking activities with the support of transcripts at the back of the book
  • Realistic and entertaining dialogues covering a broad variety of narrative situations
  • Helpful cultural points explaining the customs and features of life in China
  • An overview of the Chinese language: its sounds, structure and Chinese characters

Balanced, comprehensive and rewarding, Colloquial Chinese is an indispensable resource both for independent learners and students taking courses in Chinese as well as teachers of Chinese.

Audio material to accompany the course is available to download free in MP3 format from www.routledge.com/cw/colloquials. Recorded by native speakers, the audio material features the dialogues, new words and listening practice exercises from the book and will help develop your listening and speaking skills.

chapter |18 pages


Very pleased to meet you

chapter Unit 1|20 pages

Hěn gāoxìng jiàndào nǐ 很高兴见到你

Very pleased to meet you

chapter Unit 2|22 pages

Xìngmíng, guójí hé niánlíng 姓名、国籍和年龄

Name, nationality and age

chapter Unit 3|23 pages

Jiā hé péngyou 家和朋友

Family and friends

chapter Unit 4|23 pages

Wèn shíjiān 问时间

Asking the time

chapter Unit 5|18 pages

Zài pàiduì shang 在派对上

At a party

chapter Unit 6|21 pages

Rìqī hé tiānqì 日期和天气

The date and the weather

chapter Unit 7|23 pages

Wèn lù 问路

Asking for directions

chapter Unit 8|18 pages

Mǎi dōngxi 买东西


chapter Unit 9|22 pages

Wǎngshàng gòuwù 网上购物

Shopping online

chapter Unit 10|23 pages

Zài cān’guǎn 在餐馆

At a restaurant

chapter Unit 11|22 pages

Zuò chūzūchē hé mǎi huǒchē piào 坐出租车和买火车票

Taking a taxi and buying train tickets

chapter Unit 12|19 pages

Zài jiŭdiàn 在酒店

At a hotel

chapter Unit 13|21 pages

Dǎ diànhuà 打电话

Making telephone calls

chapter Unit 14|20 pages

Tàn qīn hé lǚyóu 探亲和旅游

Visiting families and travelling

chapter Unit 15|13 pages

Míngxìnpiàn hé wēixìn 明信片和微信

Postcard and WeChat

chapter |12 pages

Grammar summary

chapter |22 pages

Chinese�English glossary

chapter |9 pages

English–Chinese pinyin glossary