Alice's Reviews > Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, And Language

Dreaming in Chinese by Deborah Fallows
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's review
Sep 02, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, asia, first-reads-giveaways, travel
Read from September 14 to 17, 2010

I heard about this on an NPR interview the other day and immediately added it to my "to read" list. Now, I've won a copy through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

Before I review this book, I have to admit two things: 1. I've toyed with learning Chinese a few times in the past and 2. I've long nursed a theory that you can tell a lot about a culture and people by looking at the structure of their language. So, of course, this book was written just for me!!

The author agrees with my theory. This book is her examination of what the Chinese (Mandarin, to be precise) language reveals about the national character of the Chinese people. Her vignettes are amusing and enlightening, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But, it was rather short and didn't include many conclusions. It was more a series of observations. Maybe the author felt that she was a linguist, not an anthropologist, but I would have liked if she had dug a little deeper and really made more conclusions.

Highly recommended for anyone who is either interested in China or languages.

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