My Book

Are you headed to China for a short vacation, or for a longer period, and want to begin “getting your feet wet” in the Chinese language?

Are you new to China and looking for a way to get some of the basics down?

Whatever your purpose, this book is a great place to start your Chinese language learning journey.

It contains 15 short lessons designed to give you just enough to help you function in very basic situations, including:

    • Hi and Bye
    • Many Thanks
    • What’s in a Name?
    • Taxi! Taxi!

The lessons are brief, presenting only essential vocabulary and phrases, along with practice dialogues, learning tips, expansion activities, and easy-to-understand explanations. Also included are:

    • Pinyin Sound Chart
    • CD with the sound chart, vocabulary, and practice dialogues

It is available at Amazon. (Please click on the book image in the sidebar)

If you would like to purchase a large quantity of books for a group going to China, discounts are available from Book Villages. For more information, please contact Karen Pickering (karen.pickering (at)

In Beijing, the book can be purchased at The Bookworm.

A former student and blogger recently interviewed me about the book. The entire post can be found here, but following is the interview portion:

MandMx: How long have you lived in China?

Joann Pittman: That depends on how you count. I taught English in Zhengzhou, Henan from 1984 to 1986. Then, from 1990 to present, I have worked here most of the time, with a few periods of time out of the country for further education or due to family considerations. So from start to present, it’s 28 years!

MandMx: Where did you learn Chinese?

Joann Pittman: I studied Chinese full time for a year (90-91) at Northeast Normal University in Changchun, Jilin Province. After that I worked with a tutor ten hours per week for 4-5 years while directing a program for North Americans studying Chinese.

MandMx: Do you know Characters as well?

Joann Pittman: My character reading is OK, but unfortunately my character writing is very 差 (lacking).

MandMx: Why did you write your book? What were your goals?

Joann Pittman:I originally put the material together back in the 1990’s for a summer language program that I directed for English Language Institute/China (ELIC). It has since been used by their incoming teachers  each year. The response among those teachers has been very positive, so last fall I decided to publish the material. I know that survival-type Chinese language books are a dime-a-dozen, but my ‘beef’ with them is that they often try to teach too much at the ‘super-beginning’ level.  The result is that learners often get discouraged and give up. My goal with this book was to produce something that would keep learners going by teaching small, bite-sized chunks in each chapter, with very simple explanations. And because I believe that listening is the foundation to second lounge learning, the book includes an audio (mp3) CD that includes the Pinyin Sound Chart, and vocabulary and dialogs from each of the chapters.

MandMx: How has the response been to the book? What are people saying?

Joann Pittman: Better than I expected, to be honest.  It has sold really well among folks traveling to China as tourists and those going to China on sort-term volunteer projects. It’s also been well-received among newly arrived expats in China, who want something simple to help them get started.

MandMx: What do you think about more Westerners studying Chinese today?

Joann Pittman: The more the better. Given China’s emergence onto the world stage, I think it’s important that there be more westerners who are proficient in not only the Chinese language, but also Chinese culture.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 thoughts on “My Book

  1. Hi Joann, It’s been more than a few years since we met. Bonnie and I are still in China since arriving in 1999 in Beijing working for MTI with CK. We are now in Chengdu where we’ve been for the last six years.
    I’ve really enjoyed the the short video clips on Thanksgiving and Christmas I think you helped produce. As a result, our students have been blessed as we have shared those many times with different groups. Did you ever produce anything about Easter? If so please let us know as I’d like to obtain a copy.

    Thanks you for all you have done for the Chinese and foreigners alike.

    Much love,

    Allen and Bonnie Merrill

    • Hi Allen and Bonnie. I did not actually produce the videos that you mention; I was just the reader. Please contact me via email (from this site) and I can put you in touch with the person who produced them.