Dunwoody Press’s Shanghai Dialect: An Introduction to Speaking the Contemporary Language

I bought Dunwoody Press’s Shanghai Dialect: An Introduction to Speaking the Contemporary Language ($59 + $12 audio) a while back and the casettes were dead, so they replaced them with CDs that are good condition. (NOTE: this post was originally posted in 2008 and it seems in the meantime that Dunwoody is gone)

I briefly looked through the book and it’s got 4 columns across two pages:

Authors transcription system – English – Shanghainese characters (Simplified) – IPA

The following page has a gloss for the meanings of words and few grammatical notes and supplementary vocabulary.

The units are made up of 2 dialogs and the topics of the units are listed below (with supplementary vocab topic in parenthesis):

Unit 01: Greetings (personal pronouns)
Unit 02: Asking someone's name (common surnames)
Unit 03: Talking about Language (countries and continents)
Unit 04: Talking about home (family)
Unit 05: Asking an address (in the house)
Unit 06: Asking about objects (weather)
Unit 07: Asking the date and the time (time)
Unit 08: Making a phone call (education)
Unit 09: In the shop 1 (fruits and vegetables)
Unit 10: In the shop 2 (clothes)
Unit 11: In the restaurant (eating)
Unit 12: Asking the way (the city)
Unit 13: On the bus (vehicles)
Unit 14: Having a haircut (shops)
Unit 15: Seeing a doctor (health)
Unit 16: At the laundry (colours)
Unit 17: At the foreign language bookshop (publishing)
Unit 18: In the post office (writing)
Unit 19: At the library (measure words)
Unit 20: At the photographer's (photography)
Unit 21: Touring (animals)
Unit 22: Watching television (Radio)
Unit 23: Seeing a Beijing Opera (sport)
Unit 24: Seeing a movie (Film)
Unit 25: Going away on a trip (more chinese provinces and cities)
Unit 26: Buying a train ticket (place words)
Unit 27: Talking about study (more adjectives)
Unit 28: Packing (society)
Unit 29: Seeing someone off at the airport (directional complements)
Word Index (in phonetic order 上海話 -> English

I will make more comments on the audio once I have a chance to listen to it.

Hippo Family Club’s “Hippo Goes Overseas”

I’ve been listening to Chinese and Japanese on and off just changing my environment. Made some progress on Mandarin while I was in Taiwan for a month in Dec/Jan.

I have a TW friend who speaks about six languages with a high degree of fluency. That’s German, French, Mandarin, Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean. He swears by the Hippo Family Club method which he picked up in Japan. I researched it a little online, but seems rather hype-ish. He lent me his English copy of their “Anyone Can Learn 7 Languages” and I read it, but it’s still been difficult for me to figure out how this acquisition things works.

Today he gave me a copy of the recordings (7 cds worth) because he was under the same impression as me when he first heard of it. I started listening to the CDs and I have to say I am actually impressed.

Let me give a break down of how it works.  Each CD is the same story (Approximately 50 min) presented 7 different ways.

The first way is this:

Track 1 - Korean 0:23
Track 2 - German 1:00
Track 3 - Japanese 1:58
Track 4 - Mandarin 1:43
Track 5 - Spanish 1:17
Track 6 - English 1:35
Track 7 - Korean 0:42
Track 8 - French 2:20
Track 9 - Spanish 2:48
Track 10 - Japanese 1:56
Track 11 - English 1:22
Track 12 - German 1:15
Track 13 - Mandarin 1:05
Track 14 - French 0:38
Track 15 - Korean 1:56
Track 16 - Japanese 1:31
Track 17 - German 1:21
Track 18 - French 0:42
Track 19 - Spanish 0:31
Track 20 - Korean 1:38
Track 21 - English 1:03
Track 22 - Mandarin 1:34
Track 23 - French 1:31
Track 24 - Japanese 2:53
Track 25 - German 1:09
Track 26 - Spanish 4:28
Track 27 - Mandarin 1:41
Track 28 - German 1:11
Track 29 - Korean 0:43
Track 30 - English 1:02
Track 31 - French 1:06
Track 32 - Japanese 2:12

So the other 6 CDs have an equivalent structure, so you get every part of the story in each lesson, but they are all mixed up. I like this. The intent is just to have this going as your environment and attempting to mimic it over time. I will try this for a month and see how it goes. Hopefully this will act as a resource for the near lack of information about Hippo as well. I am impressed after finally seeing their materials, but wasn’t until I actually heard the audio.   Full speed, native speakers, not foreign language material