Reading Chinese newspapers

cover of Newspaper Readings II

Recently in my Chinese classes I have been using Newspaper Readings I & II (新聞選讀) as a textbook. These books are published by the Mandarin Training Center at Shi-Da (NTNU; 國立台灣師範大學). 

I had previously been reading articles from the Guoyu Ribao (國語日報) which are mostly about education, so I have become very familiar with vocabulary specific to education. However, important vocabulary from other topic areas such as economics, science and the arts is less frequent. In contrast, articles in Newspaper Readings I & II cover a very wide range of topics. 

Another major difference between Newspaper Readings and the Guoyu Ribao is the lack of Zhuyin Fuhao (注音符號). I was a little worried at first that it would be difficult to make the transition to reading without the assistance of Zhuyin, but it didn't seem to pose any major difficulties. I still come across some characters I don't know how to pronounce though. The frequency of idioms (成語) in the Newspaper Readings is also a lot lower than in the Guoyu Ribao

sample text from Newspaper Readings IAfter each reading there is an extensive list of vocabulary. It includes the words in Chinese characters annotated with Zhuyin Fuhao, followed by Hanyu Pinyin and a definition in English (click on the thumbnail to see a larger picture). There is also an additional vocabulary section for proper names. I find this especially useful as most of these words can't be found in a dictionary and transliterations of foreign names into Chinese are often very difficult to decipher. 

Following each reading there are questions and exercises. Important grammar points are also pointed out. The articles in book II seem a little more difficult than those in book I.

All the articles come from Taiwan's major newspapers and were published in 1999 and 2000. It is kind of interesting to read articles from that time and see what has changed in Taiwan and what hasn't. Although it would be nice to have a new edition including some articles from the Apple Daily (蘋果日報).

I highly recommend these books as a reader for anybody that wants to begin reading authentic Chinese texts.

*I have also posted this article at Taiwanderful in the new Chinese language learning materials section.

6 thoughts on “Reading Chinese newspapers

  1. Hi , David
    能看得懂注音符號就很厲害囉。我發現之前在what’s up in taiwan podcast有聽過你的訪問:)

  2. 你喜歡看蘋果日報啊~哈哈..

    從gobal voice連過來的

  3. I’m kind of shocked that you can read 注音符號… @@” Most of my foreign friends didn’t learn it; they learned the pinyi or Wale-Giles instead. Wish you all the best with “reading authentic Chinese texts.” ^^

  4. Most foreigners I know that I have learnt Mandarin in Taiwan know 注音符號. I prefer to use pinyin, but I still think knowing 注音符號 is very useful.

  5. Pingback: David on Formosa » Starting classes at Shi-Da

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